So you've decided to go natural? I am sure you have lots of questions now and more will arise as you take this hair journey. There are many blogs, YouTube videos, and websites devoted to answering these questions. However, not all of these answers are a 100 percent true for all naturals. Let me help you debunk some of the hard and fast "truths" I've uncovered along the way.
Myth #1: Only Natural Oils Should be UsedMy personal opinion is that natural oils are the best way to go. However, hair care products that contain mineral oil in them can still be used if you shampoo your hair and clarify your hair periodically. The same is true if you use products containing silicones or petroleum jelly. Mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and silicones are sealants just like many natural oils are. The only difference is that they are not easily removed from the hair.
So if you still like the way your mineral oil, petroleum, and silicone-containing hair products work, keep using them. Just be sure to shampoo your hair at least once a week to keep product buildup down. Clarify with an ACV rinse, clarifying shampoo, baking soda, or clarifying hair mask once or twice a month to remove buildup regular washings may miss.
Myth #2: Natural Hair is Very PorousThere are some naturalistas and websites that believe that all naturally kinky, afro hair is very porous. This is completely false. My hair has low porosity which means that it does not readily attract moisture but once moisture is in the hair shaft it does not release it very quickly either.
When hair is very porous it absorbs moisture quickly but also releases it quickly. Both levels of high porosity and low porosity hair are prone to dryness. Since most natural black hair is dry this might be how the misconception that all natural black hair is porous began.
Myth #3: Once a 4c Always a 4cEver since hair typing has come out, naturals have been trying to figure out what their type is. Knowing your hair type or rather curl configuration is important. Curl types serve as a guide to help you decide which products may be better for your hair and how to care for it.
However, as your hair grows gravity begins to stretch it. So while you had a TWA your hair may have been in tight 4c coils or 3c ringlets. Once your curls reach shoulder length those coils are not as tight and the ringlets are looser.
Length and gravity play huge roles in the shape of curls so the longer your hair is the looser your curl. Your now 4c could be a 4a or 3c a year from now after it has grown.
Myth #4: Natural Products Do Not Alter Curl ShapeThis is not true. As many chronic users of natural henna have noticed, their curl pattern has become looser. Our curl pattern is different when dry than it is while wet. This is because water breaks down the cystine or sulfur bond in hair which contributes to our curl shape. Once our hair dries naturally, the curl returns to its original shape. Therefore any natural product that helps retain that "wet look" is altering the curl pattern.
Myth #5: The Same Products Will Always Work for Your HairThis is something that was not even true for your hair when you used to relax it. Remember your ends are the oldest part of your hair and are what need the most care. The newer hair near the root is theoretically the strongest and healthiest.
When your hair is longer you might find that you need to use heavier products on your ends to help seal them. For the rest of your hair you may need less product or lighter weight products. When I kept my hair at half an inch I needed a little leave-in conditioner and extra virgin olive oil to keep my hair soft and tame between washings. Now that I've stopped cutting my hair I have to use products to protect my ends and seal them when I style.
These five natural hair care myths have confused me and many other naturals along the way. While the advice given by other naturals, including myself, is useful always pay attention to what your hair is trying to tell you. Your hair knows best and it will sound off if you use the wrong products or do not handle it the way it needs to be handled.
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I originally wrote for my beauty beat when I wrote for Yahoo via YCN. Now it has a new home on my blog I hope you enjoy it in its new home where it will remain as I own the rights to this content.