Going natural is a learning experience and things can get emotional. Re-learning how to manage and style your hair after years of relaxing can be a challenge, and it can be made more difficult depending on your attitude. Here are 6 attitudes that will keep you frustrated at your hair.
Ah, impatience. We’ve all dealt with it, whether it’s waiting to grow out those last few inches, sitting through an hour long detangling session or trying to master the art of flat twisting. It can be easy to let impatience get the best of you but consider that you are in a process of re-learning your hair and it’s just going to take time. Anticipate that the first two years of journey might be bumpy and progress may sometimes seem slow. If you did a big chop, you won’t have back length hair right off the bat. If all you know how to do is flat iron, then natural hair styling and maintenance techniques will take time to learn. But don’t fear! Many veteran naturals have their routines down to a science, and spend less and less time on their hair as the years go by. There’s light at the end of the tunnel!
2. Compensating for your hair
Some women don’t like what they find on the other side of the big chop. They might have expected looser curls and ended up with a tight z pattern, or wanted hair that grows up and out, and ended up with soft hair that flops down. A kneejerk reaction can be to get a dye job, do a press and curl or put in a weave. Although none of these practices are bad in and of themselves they can do damage to your hair and sense of self when used as a perceived ‘compensation’. If you are feeling disappointed or unhappy with your natural hair try getting to the bottom of your dissatisfaction, and adjusting your outlook. And realize that changing your perception of what is beautiful will take some effort.
3. Stubborn Defensiveness
When you read natural hair articles or hear natural hair ‘gurus’ talking, it can be tempting to be defensive and discredit them. You might think; ‘What do they know?’ or ‘And who are they to tell me how to take care of my hair?’ While you certainly shouldn’t believe everything you read, it’s important to have some humility. If you’ve tried taking care of your hair, and it’s not where you want it to be, there’s nothing wrong with admitting you don’t have all the answers and trying new advice.
4. Competition & Jealousy
The web is a great resource for seeing the diversity of natural hair styles but at times it can be tempting to compare. Thoughts like, ‘She did the big chop around the same time as I did, how come her hair looks so much better?’ or ‘I tried that exact style and it looks great on her, but not on me’ can linger, but they’re just not helpful. Natural hair is not about comparison, it’s about your own personal journey. Take the information and inspiration you need from the web, and leave the rest.
It can be easy to let your cute new fro lull you into a false sense of security, leading you to believe that it doesn’t need anything to stay cute. Well, it does. While natural hair maintenance doesn’t have to take a ton of time it does require consistency. For most naturals, moisturizing every day is a must, detangling regularly (and with patience!) is a must, caring for your ends is a must. If you get lazy with essential hair practices, expect to see the quality of your hair decline.
6. Extreme Do-It-Yourself
Natural hair culture is very do-it-yourself. I’d venture to guess that there are more naturals who do their own hair than go to the salon. But, if you don’t have the styling skills, there’s no shame in finding a trusted natural hair stylist (or even just a friend or family member who’s good at doing hair) to help you out. Don’t feel like a failure or somehow ‘inauthentic’ if you need help. Not everyone can whip out an intricate flat twist updo with some grease and a rattail comb!
Ladies, have you struggled with any of these attitudes? What are some other mentalities that can hold you back?