Things I Learned While Rocking Relaxed Hair, Natural Hair, and No Hair At All

May 28, 2012  |  
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Singer Sheryl Crow once said that “A change would do you good,” and when it comes to hair, she was probably talking about me. I don’t really believe in rocking one style for too long because I’m one of those people who will get antsy really fast, see other people’s styles and think, “Now THAT would look great on me!” In the time that I’ve gone all chameleon with my hair, I’ve done many a thing that have caused me to lose some hair, as well as have it grow like weeds on an unkempt lawn. Thought I’d share a few of those hair lessons with you as you go on your own hair journeys.

Confidence Is Everything

Back when I went to the salon and allowed the beautician to put clippers to hair I had been trying to have grow long for years, when it was all over and I looked in the mirror, I didn’t like what I saw. You could see my scalp! And as a woman with a larger head, the results weren’t as fabulous immediately like I thought they would be. But one day I went to work and a co-worker told me the look fit me well, and after some thought, I agreed that it wasn’t so bad after all. Little did I know that being confident about the look would inspire other people. Customers used to walk in the store I worked at and tell me they loved my hair, and after a while I was walking past mirrors thinking, “Yeah, I love it too…”

A Little Color Goes a Long Way

Feeling like your hairstyle is a bit…flat? With every hairstyle I’ve ever had after high school, I’ve tried to add a fresh tint that helps it pop. When I was relaxed rocking layers, I was trying to be a red-head (and later, a Cherry Cola purple-head). When I cut my hair off and it started to grow back, I went with a copper brown color (but my mom liked to call me Carrot Top…). When I had a short Nia Long in The Best Man cut, I dyed it blue-black, and now that my hair is locking, I plan to throw some green in their soon…yeah, you heard right. Sometimes a little color or some fun accessories can help reignite the excitement you have about your hair when you’re going through times and stages that are making you less than thrilled.

Two-Strands are Tedious, But So Worth It

Anything that involves standing in the mirror, hands above your hair, tirelessly trying to twist, braid or bantu knot your natural hair isn’t a walk in the park. It can be pretty tiring on your neck and arms, but we all know that spending that 30 minutes to an hour tussling with your hair can make all the difference in what your afro looks like. It helps you get past the shrinkage issue, gives your hair some added volume and will probably bring along folks thirsty to touch it because of all that luscious-ness.

Not Every Curly Pudding or Snooty-Booty Product Works For Everyone

It’s funny because when you go natural, people are so into trading product recommendations and seeking out products based on what someone else’s hair looks like. But when you buy a product hoping to look like Titi and Miko from Miss Jessie’s, you might end up being disappointed when you buy a specific product and it doesn’t have the same effect on your strands. Everyone’s natural hair is different and so it’s best to share what kind of products people should be on the lookout for or avoid (i.e., products without ethanol and propanol alcohol in them) rather than telling someone to dole out $20+ on something that MIGHT give them a certain look (but will inevitably end up underneath their bathroom sink waaaaaay in the back).

You Can Over-Shampoo Your Hair

You should be washing your hair in the frequency that works best for YOU and your strands. While some people would tell you, “EW, you wash your hair every two weeks???” (or more if that’s what you do) you have to go with what keeps your hair looking lively and healthy. Too much washing with shampoo can actually make your hair dull and strip the moisture and oils you’ve got in your hair and on your scalp. Sulfate-free shampoos and co-washing can help if you are one who likes to wash daily, but it never hurts to let up a bit.

Rock Ponytails in Moderation

Back when I was rocking a relaxed hairstyle, I could get very lazy with it. When my wrap wasn’t acting right, I would reach for the Goody hair tie and ponytail it up on the regular. And while that’s a convenient thing to do, when you do it too often and wear the ponytail too tight, you could be breaking your hair off (trust me, I know). Same goes for rocking ponytails often when your hair is wet (trying to get that fake curly look, huh?). The looser the pony the better, and the less often you opt for the look, the better.

Whatever Style Your Hair Is, Give It a Break Sometime

After all the tugging and pulling, all the heat you put on it and more, no matter the season or style of hair, you need to do your hair a favor and give it a rest. That might mean throwing a wig on it, getting some braids, having a weave put in for a month or so, and just letting your hair grow at its own pace. When you’re not paying attention and letting your hair do its own thing, you’ll be pretty surprised by the amount of growth you’ll see when you take that protective style down. Hang time indeed.


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