The natural hair community has grown immensely in the past decade, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a slew of misinformation being spread around. Most women rely on their favorite natural hair “gurus” for advice on their newly discovered textures; while YouTube is a great reference for newbies, it is very easy to get overwhelmed with the world of sponsorships and clickbaiting.
To save you the grief, here is a list of only 5 things you really need to know about your natural hair in order for it to thrive:
1. Stay Away from YouTube
Bet you weren’t expecting that one, huh?
In all seriousness, refrain from binge watching the ladies with manes down to their ankles. The natural hair scene has changed significantly since the trend initially took off online. In the early days, women shared their genuine experiences–they weren’t thirsty for views, they wanted to help other black women discover the beauty of their tresses.
Nowadays, you see sponsored videos disguised as “updated wash day routines.”
A lot of content creators aren’t honest about what they use in their hair, and the videos you’re watching are biased, untruthful “reviews” of hair care lines that aren’t even catered to your hair type.
Obviously this doesn’t apply to every single content creator on the platform, but have enough discretion to understand that YouTube is a business first.
2. Hair Type Isn’t Everything
This is probably a controversial statement, and it shouldn’t be.
Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with knowing your hair type–it can help give you an idea of how certain hairstyles will look on you; however, hairtyping has turned into this ugly thing where women are feeling inferior and are incorporating faulty information into their hair regimine.
Just because your hair is 4C does not mean it’s prone to breakage.
Just because your hair is 3A does not mean it can do a wash-n-go.
Hair type does not determine the behavior of your hair; there are many different factors that plays into how your hair responds to certain products, how susceptible to breakage it is, etc.
3. Know Your Strand Thickness
This one is going to be more accurately determined through trial and error.
Does your hair tend to “snap” every time you touch it? You might have fine strands. Notice I said “strands” and not “hair.”
When people hear terms like “fine” and “thick” they’re actually referring to hair density, which is the general thickness of your hair. Understanding your strand thickness can help you better determine what products works for your hair versus hair type.
For example, if your strands are on the finer side, you may want to stick with spray leave ins and lighter oils so that your hair isn’t weighed down. On the other hand, if you have thicker strands, your hair may be more resilient than others and may benefit more from a penetrating oil like coconut or olive oil.
Knowing your hair strand thickness will also help you with styling– I find that with my fine strands and thick hair, my hair does better when it’s left alone in mini twists versus a twist out. If your strands are thicker, they may thrive on a combination of low manipulation and protective styles.
4. Know Your Hair Density
As mentioned before, you hair density is how many strands are actually on your head. Obviously you aren’t going to count each individual strand of hair on your head to determine this– I think it’s pretty self explanatory, if you break ponytails on a regular basis, you probably have super thick hair.
A lot of people assume that because they are natural, there hair is naturally thick, and that’t not necessarily the case. I do think natural hair is naturally dense, but everyone’s denseness varies.
I mentioned earlier that my hair is pretty dense, but I use lightweight products on my hair. I find that with my hair being thicker, it’s especially important that I’m evenly distributing product all over my head.
Also, if your hair is thick, sectioning is going to be your best friend. Every natural girl benefits from sectioning her hair, but it’s especially important for the thick haired ladies. If your hair is more so on the medium/fine side, you may be able to get away with a water mist and sealing with an oil.
5. You Don’t Need Wigs to Grow Your Hair
Yes, you read that right, and yes, wigs can indeed grow your hair.
I feel that black women have been so conditioned to think that we’re only presentable when we have eurocentric hairstyles on our head that we’re hiding behind the guise of it being “protective styles.”
If you’re more willing to invest money and time into wigs that don’t even look like your hair, that’s a problem.
Before anyone accuses me of being a hotepress, I do recognize that many black women have grown their hair to great lengths wearing wigs; however, we’re being dishonest with ourselves when we’re refusing to acknowledge the beauty of what’s underneath the wig.
I’m not against protective styles in the slightest–regardless of hair type, every natural benefits from leaving their hair alone.
“Protective style” does not mean Brazilian Wavy lace front, and not every black woman is into wigs. Black women already have a wide array of beautiful protective styles exclusive to us. If wig are your thing, that’s fine, but just know that you don’t have to mimic he instagram baddies to feel like a baddie.
What you do with your hair is your business. I’m not claiming to be a hair expert, nor am I telling you what to do with your hair– I’m just trying to give my audience some truths that I wish I’d heard when I first went natural.