1. Not detangling
Never, not once did I properly detangle my hair, if at all. I would simply shampoo and condition my hair, throw some Motions foam wrap lotion and Paul Mitchell foaming pomade and keep it moving. I barely used a comb! Now, it was cute but that’s it. It was not healthy in the least bit. Surprisingly I didn’t lose a lot of hair; however, I was not retaining length either.
2. Sleeping without a satin cap/scarf
At night I would lay my head down straight gorilla style! The only time I slept with a satin cap/scarf was when I straightened my hair. WTW? I know…makes no sense, which leads me to the next mistake on my list…using excessive heat.
3. Using excessive heat
I was one of those naturals who flaunted her curls during the summer months and danced with the devil (flat iron) the other 9 months out of the year. I shampooed my hair once per week, grabbed the flat iron and smoothed it across my hair with no heat protectant, no nothing. Just 350-400 degrees of direct heat on my blonde tresses. Can you say dry and brittle?
4. Shampooing too frequently
When I wore my hair straight, I shampooed weekly, however when I wore it curly, I shampooed every single day. I eventually cut this down to every other day out of pure laziness but until then, I cleansed every single morning! That’s what natural hair meant to me – get up, shampoo, hit the door. This was the case no matter the length. I wore my hair extremely short and cropped and as it got longer, I used the same practice.
5. Not knowing product ingredients
I did not ever look at the ingredients on the bottle of the products I used. The farthest I ever went to research ingredients was to only use gel that did not contain alcohol. *blank stare* yep that’s it. Sulfates? Parabens? Huh? No clue what any of that was. You would think a licensed cosmetologist would know these things right? NOPE! Ingredients were not touched on at all during my 2 1/2 years in Cosmetology school.
6. Not adding or sealing moisture
Natural hair is by nature, dry, but I just assumed that’s the way it was supposed to be. I thought all brown people had dry hair and it would remain that way unless you added some time of oil to it. Not natural oils, but more precisely silicone laced serums, which leads me to my next mistake.
7. I thought having natural hair meant automatic growth.
I didn’t realize that the key to growth and retention was moisture. No moisture = dry hair = breakage = no retention. Simple right? Not to someone who has not researched and paid attention to their hair.
What’s that old saying? If I knew then what I know now….man, I hate that it took me so long to become aware of what was going on with my hair but I am so grateful to know it now. I don’t know everything, no one does, but I think I’m going in the right direction.
So, I'm just re-reading this article, and I just realized…wrap lotion on natural hair? Maybe I'm just slow but why? :/ LOL
Candace4Life: You can get the Pantene Pro-V Curls Conditioner from Amazon.com…a pack of six 12.6 oz bottles costs $20 after the $1 discount coupon!
MY PET PEEVE MISTAKE – GIRLS WHO BUY INTO THE CONCEPT THEY CAN UNDO DAMAGE so do bad things to their hair and think they can miraculously fix it.
Try it with an expensive silk blouse. Throw it in the wash with cheap detergent, then the dryer on hot. Take a hot iron to it to press out the wrinkles and see what it looks like. It will be destroyed and there's no way to undo it.
Same with our hair. If we take care of it like something we value, we don't end up with what's really beyond repair.
I detangle, moisturize/seal daily, sparingly use products that contain 'cones & sulfates, dc weekly and my ends are still dry and rough feeling. I cut off an inch or more but I'm still not satisfied. Thinking about going shorter & start over again. Suggestions?
In the ten months that I have been natural never did I detangle my hair and guess what, it did not grow. Boy, have I learned a lot!!
Thanks everyone for reading and commenting!I'm glad so many can relate.
Great post, especially since I did my BC today. I'm blogging my journey, check it out if you'd like(http://ivoryjay.blogspot.com/)hopefully I can avoid these mistakes,lol
I'm looking for this brand that's located on this link for the conditioner.
Thanks but the one I'm looking for is Pantene Pro-v Hydrating Conditioner and I don't think it's being carried anymore.
I made all of these mistakes during my natural hair journey. I've been completely natural for the past 4.5 years, but my hair isn't as long as I'd like to be. It's definitely because of the constant pressing last year (Pressed weekly for 4 or 5 months, with touch ups during the week), not sleeping with a satin scarf/bonnet, and using that terrible grease! I've stepped my game up and started using products much healthier for my hair and my body.
Great article. The mistake I continue to make is not detangling. Ill go months without doing so, and then, BAM! Semi-dread. You should see me in the shower making promises to the gods about how if they get me out of this detangle without needing to cut a chunk of my hair out, how I'll never do it again. This last go around, I learned my lesson. I've started to detangle at least every two weeks.
Excellent Points!! I've been natural for almost 3 years. The first year was good, but it took me another year to realize that for my hair – leaving conditioners in extra long doesn't work, strengtheners and hair lotions that contain certain proteins doesn't work, all braids are not good braids, and the stocking method for creating my puff was too tight, breaking my hair to the scalp
I've been natural for 11 years and was able to avoid many pitfalls early through intuition, I guess (I used to put a slip around my hair and rubberband the ends to make a bonnet big enough to house my WnG!! LOL!!). BUT … prior to going natural, I used "Pumpin' Curls" to get my relaxed hair to curl (mind you, I only relaxed twice a year). Can you say DRYING ALCOHOL?!?! LOL!!! Fortunately, I learned pretty early on to get those products that said "alcohol free," because my hair was a dry, crunchy mess! I also used to use Frizz Ease serum before applying the Pumpin' Curls … but, because I shampooed regularly, don't think I had a cone build up problem with that. By the time I picked up co-washing, I was no longer using the serum because my hair didn't need all that spray and scrunching to curl it, which would create frizz without the serum. So, I was able to unwittingly avoid a big no-no … using cones and only co-washing.
BTW, the pic is awesome!
Excellent article (and funny too)!! I was guilty of 1, 4, 5 and 6 but thank God for enlightenment. Add trying to get my hair to look like another natural – meanwhile she's a 3a and I'm a 4b – it's not gonna happen lol
@Candace4life – check Target for the Pantene curls conditioner. I just purchased a super-sized bottle on sale for just $4.19
My vice? Not keeping products that work in stock – I'm still guilty! There are natural products (honeyquat, blue malva, silk amino) my hair TRANSFORMS with that aren't at local markets. I constantly allow them to run out then reach for unused standbys I never got around to throwing out that turn my pillowy hair into pH-neutral blah or overly-alkaline straw.
I'm also inconsistent with routine and struggle against junkfood tendencies. How my nails, skin and hair have always treated me so well in spite of this is mystifying.
To sum it up…"No moisture = dry hair = breakage = no retention". Moisture is key for our kinkyness
If you find a good conditioner be sure to buy extra bottles of it because you never know if the product will be discontinued. I have a love for Pantene Hydrating Curls and I"ll be dayum if I now can't find any of it in the stores. Don't be obessed with curl definition and over board of product buying, because it won't help if you do or don't have it.
Obsessing over hair.
Looking for that "magical product" and therefor constantly buying products that will end up sitting in a closet.
Not eating properly or exercising. . . taking care of the WHOLE you, as much as you take care of your hair.
How would not detangling cause unhealthy hair? That makes no sense
I believe stretching (tugging, rough combing, too tight twists/bantu knots) in an attempt to "subdue" super coily hair can lead to the dreaded "mid-strand splits", aka "needle-eye splits".
Needle eye splits weaken the hair strand and cause breakage, which could leave a forked or ragged split end behind.
The ragged split end twists upon itself and makes a knot, or entraps another split end to make a raggedy knot. This I believe leads to the dreaded SSK, fairy or pixie knot.
Hey, I may be wrong, but I stopped the stretching/tugging and saw fewer mid-strand splits.
This list speaks to me way too loudly lol! I have been guilty of a few things listed, especially #3 that was definitely ME! Only this year have I focused on being a healthy hair natural and changing the way I handle my hair, and in this that short time have seen great improvement in retention. When you know better you do better 🙂
I made the HUGE mistake of ignoring the middle of my hair when I first BC'ed. I was used to the easy product distribution I had with my relaxed hair. I had this habit of slapping my leave in on my edges and then detangling. So, basically, my hair around the edges received most of the product. That resulted in severe breakage in the middle. I since have learned to take my time and work in sections, checking to make sure ALL of my hairs get love. My hair is thriving now.
@Anonymous 11:41, maybe you need to try more protective styles and less wash and goes. I've learned for my hair,what helps it grow is to not have it out too often, that puts too much stress on it. But that's just me personally. Good luck!
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I do not use heat on my hair. I moisturize daily, mostly doing co-wash and gos and sealing my hair with a little bit of oil Daily! I have a prob. retaining length still! (My hair is at my collar bone)
This article was great! I feel like this natural was telling my experience! And very humorously stated I might add! Girl your crazy! " At night I would lay my head down straight gorilla style" LMBO…
Very nice article! I would have to add, trying to make your hair do what it was not meant to do. As in coating it with gel just to get it to look like a 3b curl.