After reading about people's hair journeys, witnessing friends and family struggle, and dissecting my own hair journey and issues, I've noticed that many of us make managing our hair harder than it has to be. I will be the first to admit that dealing with natural hair can be frustrating (me and shrinkage will forever be enemies!), but many of us have to realize that our hair expectations aren't realistic...at all. We tend to put the blame on our hair, rather than what the real issue is.The following are some of the top things that I've heard people complain about...with quick reminders:
"My hair is SO thick/I have too much hair. There is absolutely no way I can style it."
Yes, there is. Doing your hair in sections works wonders; you're able to focus on each section, so styling isn't overwhelming. Whenever I do twists, I usually do them in three sections. It's not hard at all and actually allows me to style my hair quicker. It might take some time, but it's definitely doable. If your hair is like mine and it shrinks up a lot, try banding. This has become one of my best friends for the past couple of months because stretched hair means less tangles and stress-free styling.
"It's SO hard to comb my hair! How can I deal with this mess when I can't even get a comb through it?"
I understand your struggle. I really do. However, you cannot treat 4a/b/c hair as if it is straight...or even 3c. People with much looser hair textures may get away with combing their hair effortlessly without a hint of moisturizer in it, but hello...those with much tighter coils cannot, so why even try and set yourself up for disaster? I can't tell you how many times I've seen people try to comb their dry natural hair and then complain about breakage or that it's too hard. Shrunken hair without moisture + a comb (that isn't wide-tooth) is a recipe for disaster. The only time I comb my hair is on wash days when I detangle with conditioner. The rest of the time, my hair is in twists, a puff, or some other simple style that doesn't require combing. If I tried to comb my hair everyday, I'd probably be frustrated, too. If you MUST comb your hair throughout the week, it would be wise to add some type of moisture to your hair first...even if it's just water, and comb from tip to root. A good moisturizer will make even the tightest coils easy to comb through. Sometimes I'm surprised at how easy it is to comb my hair with conditioner or moisturizer in it. Moisture is your friend! Use it...
Which brings me to my third point. Dryness is probably the number one problem that people have issues with, but there are ways to combat it (and it doesn't include continuing to use that jar of Blue Magic grease sitting on your dresser). Finding staple moisturizing products doesn't happen overnight. I know many of us don't have the time or money to aimlessly try products, but finding out what works for YOU (because not everything is meant to work for you) requires a little trial and error. There are also other factors such as hair porosity, nutritional deficiencies, ingredients, excessive shampooing/heat use, hard water, sun and wind exposure, etc that can play a role in your hair's ability to retain moisture. You might be thinking, "Well, how am I supposed to figure out the culprit of my dryness when you just listed so many possible sources." Three words: process of elimination, lol. It's easier than it sounds.
By no means am I trying to be a natural hair nazi or trivialize anyone's struggles. I understand that the kinkier your hair, the more difficult it can be to deal with and some "do what they're supposed to" and simply cannot deal with their natural hair. I live it, and I get it. But I also know that many are frustrated with issues that can be fixed with patience and thinking things through. So, yes, your hair is kinky. Yes, sometimes it sucks that you have a few more steps to do than other people, but no, you are not doomed for failure. :-)