At the beginning of my natural hair care journey, I was envisioning what my natural hair would look like once it began to grow out. I began thinking about all of the naturals I had seen with long, thick, and healthy hair. Not to mention, I was more than giddy about the boundless styling options that were available for the looks I wanted to achieve. However, I didn’t understand that having longer natural hair came with a whole new set of challenges. Below are the things I have discovered while having long natural hair:
1.) TANGLES ARE TERRIBLE. My tangles make Charlotte’s Web look simple. On top of that, I have been getting more single strand knots than ever! I can easily spend upwards of 2 hours detangling, if I am really trying to avoid breakage and be gentle. However, when it concerns tangles it is much wiser to prevent them from occurring. Protective styles, washing hair in sections, and co-washing are all effective methods for reducing the amount of tangles you get.
2.) YOU WILL GET MORE HAIR FALL. At some point in a natural women’s journey, her hair goes through less than stellar moments. This could be attributed to diet, improper haircare, illness, stress, or hormones. However, another plausible explanation is hair growth. The more my hair grows, the more strands I am seeing on wash day. Now don’t get me wrong, if you know your hair fall has to do with any of the controllable factors mentioned above then make the change. On the other hand, if it doesn’t then just chalk up your increased hair fall to having more strands.
3.) YOU WILL WANT SIMPLICITY. You will realize that having longer and denser hair means spending more time on it. This will compel you to cut coroners where you can, and to find simplicity among a mane of complexity. I have found that deep conditioning is great but so is co-washing. When you co-wash it serves as both a cleanser and conditioner so you kill two birds with one stone. I still love shampooing my scalp once a month but co-washing keeps my hair soft and pliable. The more pliable our hair is, the less we have to worry about breakage.
4.) YOU WILL CHOOSE EASY PROTECTIVE STYLES. Yes, I know I sound contradictory right about now. At the beginning of this article, I was talking about how having longer hair provides you with more styling options. On the other hand, it’s simply not practical for many naturals to sport an elaborate style daily. Instead, you will find that French braids, Chunky Twistouts, and Braid Out’s will be your ally. Give yourself grace and save the elaborate styles for special occasions.
5.) YOUR ROUTINE MAY CHANGE. You may find that the techniques and products that worked for your hair at the beginning of your journey are no longer as beneficial as they use to be. One of the newest practices I have incorporated into my routine is washing my hair in sections. In the past, I remember thinking that naturals who did that were doin the most! However, washing in sections helps prevent tangles and is a surprisingly good way to access the scalp.
Going natural is such an interesting and complex process. I call it a process because you are constantly evolving and changing. Just like with anything else in life, you have stages. The process of being natural is no different. Take things in stride and remember to grow, grow, and grow!