w/ Curls, Coils & Kinks
Are you trying to navigate through your natural hair journey but your mind is still stuck in relaxed hair mode? Is your natural hair not performing at its highest potential and you just can’t put your finger as to why? Don’t fret as a lot of the time it’s a simple solution to our concerns and issues that we highly overlook sometimes. I am always learning every day when it comes to my natural hair and some days I have come to the conclusion that I am making my hair issues way more complicated than they actually are. I will highlight a few questionable habits that many naturals make while holding onto a relaxed girls mindset that will ultimately stunt your natural hair journey! As always I am not a licensed hair professional and these are my thoughts based upon experiences that I have encountered while on my own natural hair journey.
I have to break it to you ladies – you are NOT relaxed anymore so with that comes many changes to your hair regimen and thoughts about your hair. When you return natural it’s a complete lifestyle change and you will have to mentally prepare yourself to let go of your old relaxed hair habits. Relaxed hair and natural hair are polar opposites. They look physically different, act completely different, need different things, and the list goes on and on. I will give you some food for thought and in doing so hope it elevates your natural hair game!
Change #1 – WATER
This was probably one of the biggest differences for me and my natural hair texture. When I was relaxed I would run to the car when it was raining as I ever so highly detested getting my relaxed hair wet – and for you relaxed ladies or those of you who were previously you know exactly why… hair style ruined! I was a frequent visitor of the hair salon when I was relaxed and I wasn’t about to let water ever ruin my fresh hair style as it had to last me a full week until my next visit. So water and relaxed hair do not mix except for on wash day. When I would accidentally get my relaxed hair wet it would dry out my hair so bad. Now that I am natural my hair can’t get enough water. I use my water based DIY hair refresher daily to not only help moisturize my hair but literally bring my hair back to life! When you are natural and your hair is needing to be revived or you want to reactivate the product in your hair spray some water. Water is so vital not only is it a first defense of moisture for our natural tresses but most natural hair products make sure water it is the top ingredient in their ingredients line up. Water is vital in a natural’s world and despised in a relaxed world. Naturals don’t be afraid of water anymore – embrace it!
Change #2 – HUMIDITY
This subject right here could have potentially taken over this blog post! We all know that humidity and relaxed hair are very much a CAIN and ABEL situation without a doubt. As I mentioned the relationship with water and relaxed hair being that humidity is full of water you can only guess why they don’t mix. I remember when I would get my hair done and walk outside and let the humidity hit my hair it was basically a wrap for my hair as it would start to poof and slowly lose it sleek appeal. Now that I am natural hallelujah… my hair thrives when it’s humid or when I am in humid situations. For example – when I was relaxed I would always shower with my shower cap to keep any moisture from hitting my straight locks but now that I am natural I never shower with a shower cap anymore as the humidity from my shower gives my hair life and my hair loves it. My body may still be irritated from the outdoors humidity (lol) but my natural hair is loving the moisture in the air and will help plump my curls up even more. No more running to the car since I am wearing my hair in its natural state as my hair loves it!
Change #3 – HANDS IN HAIR
My hands when I was relaxed were always in my hair and it didn’t disturb for me any styles or my sleek straight texture. I could pin up, braid down, slick back or just run my fingers through my hair with such ease that I really never thought twice about it as it became second nature for me. Ladies, now that I am natural complete opposite. I will touch my hair during my washing & styling phase but as soon as it my style is complete I will NOT pass GO! No hands in a naturals hair will take time as it is just an old habit that is very hard to break. Time along with dry natural tampered looking hair will help push you in the right direction. Every time you touch your natural curls, coils and kinks a little bit of moisture is loss leaving you with dry, parched curls NOT to mention frizz galore. This was so hard for me at first because as my TWA began to grow exposing my new curls I always wanted to touch and feel and live in my hair… but I quickly learned I am not relaxed anymore and can’t do that. Wash your hair, style your hair then leave it alone to do its own thing!
Change #4 – MOISTURE
I know I talk about moisture a lot but that’s due to the fact it’s just that important! I honestly can’t even tell you how often I moisturized when I was relaxed and I surely didn’t oil my scalp like ever so that should be a huge indicator that not only was moisture not high on my radar but wasn’t necessary either. The only moisture practices I would engage in was my weekly DC treatment. Relaxed hair just frankly doesn’t require as much moisture as natural hair does. Natural hair thrives and survives best when it’s properly moisturized. So many ways to moisturize natural hair: Deep Conditioners, Spray Water & drinking water, Conditioners, Leave In Conditioners, Daily Moisturizes, Butters, Creams, Moisturizing Stylers, Co-washes, Hot Oil Treatments, top off with a great sealing oil to hold in that moisture tight. I do believe you can over moisturize natural and relaxed hair although I think it’s a lot more common with relaxed hair as natural hair always needs moisture. I have heard naturals say I don’t need to moisturize that often in a bragging way but is that accurate or are you stuck in a relaxed mentality? I will leave it up to you on how often and how you moisturize just make sure as a naturalista you are moisturizing your hair as much as it requires!
Change # 5 – PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES
Last but certainly not least… I think it may be a HUGE understatement to say that natural hair vs. relaxed hair has slightly different characteristics. Plain and simple you just can’t treat relaxed hair and natural hair the same as they have totally different chemical designs. Relaxed hair is all about the sleek straight, long, lengthened flowing locks and natural hair is all about the various tight kinks/curls/coils, major shrinkage, playful and unique curls. I think many naturals during their first couple of months struggle with just the physical difference of natural hair. As you were once used to your flowing long straight locks hitting your shoulders now you are learning to rock your short tight curls, coils or kinks rubbing against your ears instead! I will admit it’s definitely quite an adjustment especially if majority of your life you are used to seeing yourself a certain way now you overall look has changed do to your hair. I am happy to report for most of us with time not only do we get used to the BIG change of returning natural but we feel it was one of the best decisions we have ever made!
FINAL THOUGHTS: I hope this article has helped maybe smooth the growing pains for you as you try to appreciate and learn your natural hair. I think when we align our expectations up with reality we will not get disappointed nearly as often. I am in no way bashing those who continue to relax their hair but offering a different perspective for my naturalistas as to help them successfully along their natural hair journey. Are you enjoying your natural hair journey? If so… what has been the biggest difference you have noticed with being natural vs. relaxed?
~This article was first published on blackhairinformation.com ~
Article was first published o
Weekly Power Thought – When you return natural it’s a complete lifestyle change and you will have to mentally prepare yourself to let go of your old relaxed hair habits and mindsets.
Today’s Natural Hair Lingo
CAN ⇒ Calling All Naturals
SM ⇒ Shea Moisture
TWA ⇒ Teeny Weeny Afro
Co-wash ⇒ Cleansing Conditioner
Returning natural ⇒ Process of returning back to your natural hair texture by either cutting off all your relaxed hair or growing out your relaxed hair and it cutting it at some point.
Relaxed hair ⇒ Textured hair that’s been chemically straightened
Weekly Natural Hair Care Savings