I think just about every natural haired woman has experienced some form of disappointment with their hair. Perhaps your hair just won’t cooperate that day, or maybe it’s in the awkward length stage and you’re frustrated.
However, not many women like to talk about being let down when they see their true natural hair texture for the first time. You have this picture perfect idea in your head of what your hair will look like once you cut off your relaxed strands, but your curls turn out to be nothing that you expected.
It would be a crime if I didn’t admit that I’ve been disappointed myself. My disappointment didn’t come immediately after my big chop. In fact, I was very pleased with my curly, short teeny weeny afro. It was easy, simple and you could finally see my face. My disappointment came when I decided to stop cutting my hair and let it grow out. The first year of growth was easy breezy.
My hair was still short enough for a wash and go, but long enough for cornrows and other styles. I was pleased with my growth, and I was looking forward to where my hair would take me.
After the first year, I started to get frustrated. I would wash and go, but my hair wasn’t cooperating like it did when it was an inch long. My curls didn’t pop as much, and I really noticed the thickness in my roots. My hair was also very dry, and I didn’t really notice how dry it was until I had a good amount of length.
My curl pattern seemed to have changed as well because now that my hair was longer, my curls were different. Needless to say, I wasn’t too pleased. I was expecting my hair to hang and lay a certain way once I achieved some length, but that wasn’t happening. My hair sort of stood up all over in these tiny cork screw curls that reminded me of the little springs that you find in ink pens. I was expecting loose curls that were much bigger and a lot more shiny, not tiny little ringlets.
After being annoyed with my natural hair, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I researched everything I could on curl definition, and how to achieve the perfect curl. I also purchased every product I could that could possibly create the curl I was desperately searching for.
Hiair WILL grow down and rest on your back if it grows longer–Type 4 hair is just as much subject to gravity as everyone else’s. It takes time and due to the genetic hair structure, it may stick OUT then grow down but that is okay too.
Many people even after years of being natural do not understand or know their hair type–many use the wrong products which prevent them from ever experiencing their true hair type or texture. If you use certain products, coils can elongate and lengthen or if you prefer they can get tighter. If you use certain techniques, hair will remain dull or kinked or have a lot of single strand knots.
What is important are:
1. Type of water you use to wash your hair in. Water like hair is made up of chemicals–your hair will REACT to the type of water you use because the type of water (chlorinated, hard, soft, acidic) will affect your hair structure and infrastructure. ( I have a long post about this on Kinkycurlycoilyme under the High Shrinkage Club)
2. Product types AND the order in which products are used–what is in a product MATTERS and what you pair that product with MATTERS as both can REACT on your Hair and Scalp.
Natural does not stop a product from being made up of Chemicals–EVERYTHING that exists from air to squash or coconut is made up of Chemicals and Chemicals react unless they are inert.
3.Manipulation–we all know about finger detangling and shingling and how to wash the hair in the shower–or do we? We often do too much with impatience and do not take the time to either know or understand the importance of LCO or LOCO or GHE or even how to wash or prepoo.
4. How we do what we do makes a difference in how our coils look. The more moisture the looser the coil. The more moisture RETENTION, the looser the coil.
Moisture saboteurs (things that can hurt your hair moisture quotient) are:
1. color–like being a blonde or red head or that deep purple–odds are the DAMAGE that is inevitable from permanently coloring darker hair to lighter shades will hinder moisture retention and hair health.
2. Using oils as moisturizers–some people SWEAR by shea butter. I love it to. In its place–which is NEVER right after washing on water only hair. Shea butter has molecules that block up the cracks in hair cuticle–it can hold water in (for a good minute) but it can stop additional moisture from getting in too) you want a product between shea butter or any heavy oil and the water on your hair–something that can continually leak out a bit of water to your strands
3. Using conditioners as moisturizers–many conditioners are NOT moisturizers– instead they soften hair and help to detangle and fill in shallow depressions or cracks in the hair cortex
4. overuse of protein or reconstructor treatments–these are temporary fixes that last a few weeks. If you do not have color in your hair–use less and use less often (about every 6 weeks) if you have color and therefore more damage use about every 2 to 4 weeks.
The thing about protein that is added to hair is that it is not the same as your natural protein–it does not breathe well–this means once applied it does temporarily repair holes or cracks in the hair shaft but it also BLOCKS moisture–this helps to hold moisture in the hair BUT also prevents moisturizers and water from getting back into the hair. Think of protein as plastic wrap for the hair–if you wrap too tight or too often or too much–no moisture can get in–if you are relaxed with low porosity hair–chances are high too much protein is being used as relaxed hair is damaged and is rarely low porosity naturally.
Low porosity hair cannot absorb moisture easily–it has to be opened up.
5. SHINE–shine is the result of light bouncing off CLOSED and INTACT and HEALTHY cuticles. I have taken many a dull head and over time we got that 4c or 4b hair to SHINE like crazy–we did not have to fake it with oil or silicone (which is what is used on relaxed hair to bring back a semblance of shine) we simply closed the cuticle, used a natural ceramide on the scalp and hair and ensured the hair was conditiioned before applying the ceramide–then we CLOSED the cuticle with ICE COLD WATER that had a bit of ACV in it for pH balance.
I am hearing a lot of women talk about an acceptance of their hair as is–but what they are accepting is NOT their natural hair in optimal condition. Instead they are accepting what their natural hair looks like or the results of their regimen which may not be optimal for their hair.
“Hiair WILL grow down and rest on your back if it grows longer–Type 4 hair is just as much subject to gravity as everyone else’s. It takes time and due to the genetic hair structure, it may stick OUT then grow down but that is okay too – See more at: https://blackhairinformation.com/general-articles/opinion/dealt-hair-texture-disappoinment/2/#sthash.3V8COLIF.dpuf”
Yes, took the words right out of my mouth. I agree that type 4 hair initially grows out the first few years depending on the rate of growth. In general when we hit year 4 5 and 6 assuming you haven’t cut your hair, it will start to grow down as QeenBee9 stated. When you focus on the health of your hair and let it do its thing without forcing your hair to be something its not, it will grow to tremendous lengths- down your back. The wonderful thing about type 4 hair in my opinion is not only do we eventually get the length with proper care, but we maintain the volume and fullness unlike type 1 or 2 maybe even 3 hair depending on an individual’s genetic density and strand thickness. I’m so glad to see this article because it was honest and alot of us can identify with this issue. I know I went through the same exact thing during my hair journey. Great article!
Marcia Johnson says
Really. Accept how God made you. I’m so tired of us not not being ABSOLUTE on our God given beauty…..WAKE UP!!
Marcia Johnson says
Ok…you got to my point….love the hair you are blessed with. Thank you!!
Ange De Notre Dame says
Had to laugh .., that was my exact experience but with the right natural products, protective styling and my satin bonnet at nights, I now enjoying my lovely curls