We’ve been warned of the dangers of bad ingredients in hair products. Since going natural most naturalistas like to avoid products packed with chemicals that dry the hair, and may eventually cause breakage. We scrutinize product labels to look for those offenders which are usually hidden among a long list. But what happens when typically good ingredients become detrimental to the health of your hair? How many of us even know to suspect these ingredients; when everyone is telling you they are great or even essential for your hair? As with everything, we all have our differences. No matter how wonderful a product is, it may simply not work for certain individuals. So what are these products or ingredients that may be doing more harm than good?
The thought of many women going through life never discovering their unique beauty is sad. More and more of us are discovering our natural hair, but this only re-emerged in recent years. There are women who have gone their whole lives, from early childhood using relaxers or covering their natural hair constantly with weaves or wigs. Many of the older women in my family have gone natural, not necessarily because they decided to embrace their natural hair but because they were forced to. However, they are happy they did and have vowed to never return to relaxers. As we age our hair naturally thins, in particular after menopause. Hence we see older women in the black community reliant on wigs due to thinning hair. The use of perms is likely to accelerate this process, especially if they are used for decades. Some women at this stage go natural to minimise the risk of baldness or a non-existent hairline.
Natural hair is so versatile, there are many new styles and techniques to try. The most popular styles of course are braid outs, twists outs, perm rod sets, flexi rods sets or bantu knot outs to name a few. However, when you try these styles for the first time, you may not know how to maintain them, especially when you go to bed. During the relaxed hair days most of us were used to wrapping our hair at night, but this will not work for curly or kinky natural hair. Here are some methods for maintaining your hair at night.
When I first went natural there was not as much information online as there is today. Now there are endless numbers of blogs and video tutorials to help you on your journey. There are also numerous products on the market to choose from. All you have to do is Google what you are looking for and you will find a wealth of information from various sources, on natural hair. As much as this is a blessing there is also a downside, information overload!
Two strand twists are a staple style in the natural hair community and can be suitable for different hair lengths. Here are the benefits I have found by regularly styling my hair in this way. Putting your hair in two strand twists does not have to result in you looking like Celie in the color purple, or looking like a school girl. They can be both glamorous as well as practical. Here are six benefits:
Porsha Williams is yet another celebrity to reveal what’s underneath their weave, on Instagram. The Dish Nation and Real Housewives star took a quick selfie with her natural hair, just before installing her trademark waist length weave, captioning it: “Natural for 2.5 sections”. Many commented rightly on how beautiful her hair was and even how healthy her edges looked. It does make me wonder why many celebrities continue to cover their natural tresses with weaves or wigs of a completely different hair texture. Perhaps their natural afro-textured hair isn’t considered glamorous enough for their world.
Since the Madam CJ Walker’s straightening tools were invented, working out has conflicted with hair styling and maintenance, for many in the black community. People would straighten their kinks and curls, but any slight moisture on the scalp would cause their precious straight hair to revert back. The time and pain experienced during this process, meant that reverting back so quickly was not an option. Parents would warn their little girls to look after their hair, to preserve the style for as long as possible. Even playing outside and running around could pose a threat to the hair. In an 1982 article by Ebony Magazine, reader Pam Proctor recounts the many missed opportunities to swim or participate in sports because her hair would ‘go back’. Then came the years of relaxers, which, are still going on til this day. Some subscribed to this notion of ‘sweating out the perm’. This may be why stereotypes have formed about black women in particular, not participating in swimming. Not wanting to get their hair or weave wet, has typically been a reason given for avoiding it. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but many of these stereotypes started because of hair.
It has been reported that Halle Berry has taken Gabriel Aubrey to court, claiming that he has straightened their daughter’s naturally curly hair. Halle is reported to be furious that Gabriel has straightened their six-year-old daughter’s hair and has appeared to have lightened it with highlights. She is convinced it’s because he does not want their daughter to appear African-American. Court papers also reveal allegations that Aubry made racial slurs towards Halle in the past.