The natural hair movement swept into our country in the early 2000s in waves facilitated by the internet. This development is good, seeing as it is our identity, heritage and part of a healthier lifestyle choice. Now, more ladies are transitioning into their naturally kinky locks instead of opting for chemical relaxing.
Many naturalistas, however, are frustrated at the rate of their hair growth and are struggling with hair care. This has led to many succumbing to hair straighteners and the damning verdict: natural hair is too stressful.
But taking care of your natural hair is much easier than you think. For it to grow and flourish, you need to take a couple of things into account.
We’re new to something that should be instinctual to us. Majority of us grew up thinking that the kinky, tightly coiled “undergrowth” at the root of our relaxed hair was the enemy. Decades of following western beauty standards raised a generation of women who did not know the first thing to do with their own hair.
So when you decide to go back to your roots, don’t expect to get the hang of it in one day or a year. It will take months of learning to find the rhythm that works for you.
Genetics and hair type
Tear your eyes away from the flowing tresses and awe-inspiring afros of your Instagram hair crushes and give your own hair room to breathe. Every hair of head is different.
From years of observation and practice, natural hair types have been divided into four broad texture types: one, two, three and four. Most Africans fall between types three and four, which also have subtypes.
There are simple quizzes online to know your hair type’s unique needs. 4c hair, for example, is the kinkiest hair texture and thrives on lots of moisture and protein. It is also prone to extreme shrinkage, which makes it look much shorter than it really is when dry. People who have not embraced their 4c roots will keep fighting with their hair. Stop! Your hair is not hard and not growing, it just needs a tender hand.
Genetics also plays a role here, because hair grows at different rates based on your genetic code. Some women have fast growing hair, some don’t.
A girl on Instagram’s “three months growth” may look like yours at two years. You need to relax before you jump to buy yet another set of products that you don’t need.
Give your hair some time. Look away from the progress of others and, instead, celebrate the little milestones of your own success. Compared to theirs it may seem meagre, but, by itself, it is a huge accomplishment.
Love your hair
It is beautiful, glorious and versatile. It is worthy of the time and care you put into it every day. It will reward you with a bouncy afro that is yours alone and reflects your truest self as a beautiful black woman.