These points are indeed debatable, defendable, objectionable, acceptable, they are indeed just points, but, are they. Maybe if we just dwell a little on any one of these points and perhaps reflect a little on our personal experiences and personal lives and see if at all any one of them can be called upon as ringing true? I am not my hair...I fully believe I am not my hair but in saying that my hair is an extension of me, needing me to sometimes direct it, to help it, to feed it, to teach it, to look after it. My hair needs me to embrace it.
Embracing our hair means to love our hair. It means to accept our hair willingly for the way it is and enthusiastically so as to care for it and be concerned about it.
Embracing our hair means wanting to know it with its unique and individual characteristics. Our hair is unique to each and every one of us. We may share a few characteristics or share the appearance of our hair but my hair is MY hair and your hair is YOUR hair. Wanting to know it means learning about it in the overall common characteristics type of way but also in the individual type of way. My hair may not like raw Shea Butter whilst your hair will love it. All natural curly hair needs and loves water but my hair may like alot of water every day whilst your hair likes a little less water and will hold the water much longer than mine. Embracing and learning and teaching our hair means exploring and trying out various techniques and methods and products.
Embracing our hair means giving it some undivided time and attention and if we still can't do this maybe paying someone who will, can also help (o:
If you have started your natural or healthy hair journey and no longer feel like you can go on. If like Portia, yes you Portia, you are thinking of grabbing some relaxer to place on your lovely kinky curls of more than 3 years old because its just easier to manage, you think, ...I implore you, please...I know some ladies who have gotten to that point only to regret every moment following their drastic decisions. I implore you all, wait, stop, take a step back, breathe, reassess and maybe the following will aid in reigniting your love for your hair, your love for you:
- Ignite some inspiration - go online or go through Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Googe Images, any of these various platforms and look at pics, techniques, product reviews of other naturalistahs or healthy hair enthusiasts.
- Look through Natural Hair Magazines, Articles and Blogs - try: http://www.naturamagazineusa.com/ for starters. Its a free online publication and will actually be going to print soon whilst still maintaining the online version.
- http://www.goodhairdiaries.com/- awesome local based blogger
http://www.frochic.co.za/ - another awesome local based blogger and salon owner. (we have quite a number of local based inspiring hair fundis - just search South Africa Hair Bloggers or something along those lines).
- If you are feeling defeated by or struggling with a particular aspect of your hair...do the research and ask the questions and implement the solution...google the issue or just ask any one of the bloggers (myself included) and we can find the answer or will more likely know where to obtain the answer or advise for you.
- Try a protective style - I like that there is the word PROTECTIVE before the word style..it means that even though you may be putting on a weave, you must ensure that it is being done without damage to your own hair and that you follow a good maintenance regimen for your hair whilst it is in the protective style...for example having braids done and not taking care of your scalp or not still washing your hair with a sulphate free (and paraben free) conditioner or shampoo will not do you any favours.
- Try a scarf/wrap- 15 Headscarf Styles to try or http://www.shopwraplife.com/ and have a look under their Wrap Videos etc. Believe me - once you tried it out once you may want to have one on for the rest of the week.
- Review your technique/regimen - you can maintain a wash and go for a few days provided you implement a few steps before going to bed, see the Maximum Hydration Method - our very own local based 'Hair Educator' as I call her might be a start https://www.facebook.com/MixtressInTheKitchen
- If at first you don't succeed try and try again - some people prefer the LOC method whilst others prefer the LCO (like me). Some people find mixing some oil in their conditioner sort of enhances the effect of the conditioner or helps their hair detangle. Some people must put their hair into twists before bed whilst others prefer the pineapple method (If I delve into these various methods here this post will turn into a book, if you can't find the information just ask and I will find it for you and other posts on these will follow). Try a new style - twist out etc
- Have a hair cut...try a new style. Have your fro shaped. NO MATTER WHAT YOUR HAIR LENGTH PLEASE REMEMBER TO HAVE YOUR HAIR TRIMMED - the cause of many hair issues is something as simple as not trimming, even trimming can help reduce hair knots and tangle as well as reduce hair breakage. If your current stylist insists on a style or technique you don't like, let your voice be heard, no is no and f they still persist or are not happy with what YOU the client want, break up with your hairdresser and try someone new (sorry beloved stylist but sometimes you just don't know about what we are asking of you)
- You can have straight hair without the relaxer - just ask for Thabo @ Candi& Co in Randburg, both normal blow out and Thermo Smooth Blow Out (see my post on my experience Here) or find a stylist you are comfortable with or a salon that offers natural hair straightening without damage to your curls. ORS will soon be launching (if not launched already) their Straightening and Strengthening Kit (I'm still looking into other peoples views of this product). The recently lunched Design Essentials also have a similar product to be offered via selected salons.
- If you just don't have the time for non of this, rethink how important your natural hair is to you and whether you really embraced it the first time round...maybe its time to fully embrace and to use protective styling as protective styling not a way to hide your own hair. Love your hair and it will love you back - Trust!. If you can, then please, go ahead and pay someone else to do your hair for you (I will be having twists done in a few weeks - just to give my hair a rest and also see how long the twists will last)
- Try a new product....today I got my hands on some TGIN (Thank God I'm Natural) and I can't wait to try the products. I also got some Design Essentials and Ruutos products...like I said, if at first you don't succeed try and try again. And no you don't have to spend an arm and a leg. Make some products at home or mix up what you have. If you are not happy with the results, move on, try something else..finding a good product together with a great regimen or application technique will equal Healthy growing Hair, you will not go wrong. (Just products alone does not guarantee anything, for example, scalp rubs and massages can do so much for increasing circulation and stimulating hair growth vs applying some oil and letting it sit there)
- This list is exhaustive and can include more but I will leave it at these for now.
- All of these tips will also apply when maybe you have relaxed your hair for however number of years and just need a change. Maybe you have hidden your tresses under that wig or that weave for however long and don't know where to start when it comes to your own hair. Maybe your hair is breaking and you are at your wits end and don't know what to do apart from going bald for a while. Maybe you have fought the good fight against cancer and now want to express your victory through the regrowth of your hair. Maybe you just want healthier hair and maybe you just want to be you....
Go on...try...and listen to your hair