The main struggles we see naturals experiencing with their hair all lead back to mindset. Mindset is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone. What we think about our hair and the voices that we allow to live in our heads impact us so much more than a product or styling technique. The good news is that you have the power to shift the narrative. You are allowed to have new experiences with your hair that will shape your relationship with it going forward.
Check out the top 6 reasons why naturals like yourself may be struggling with your natural hair:
#1. Curl Dysphoria
Dysphoria is defined as a profound state of unease or dissatisfaction.
We see it way too often. A client comes in thinking she’s doing something wrong in her styling routine because her results look nothing like her internet hair crush. Or the client that frustratedly shows us the picture of a loose spirally wig and expects us to be able to recreate the look on her beautiful springy, tight kinks.
Expectations of our hair are set up to fail from the get go. For product companies, the bigger and bouncier the curl in the marketing, the more $$$ that product is going to rake in. Unfortunately, looser curls are an aspirational look for the natural hair target market and as long as the market responds more favorably to those images with dollars and views, images of loose, silky curls will be exploited for profit. It’s a symptom of us not wanting what is actually growing out of our scalps.
#2. Product Junkyism
If you’ve been natural for longer than 2 hours, we’re sure your bathroom sink resembles the natural hair aisle at Target in a black neighborhood. A few products are there because your natural haired friend told you they were awesome, some are there because a celeb status YouTuber said it was her holy grail product, and some are there because you were standing on the aisle with your head spinning and grabbed the product with the prettiest packaging.
STOP! Curls don’t come in a bottle.
That curling custard is not going to give you curls when you have kinks. That thick shea butter shampoo will suck if you have thin, fine hair. That conditioner with the 100% natural juices and berries will not be your savior if you have color treated or heat styled hair. A product is only as good as the hair it’s being applied to. To be effective, a product must be formulated to address what your real natural hair concerns are.
#3. Buying the Entire Product Line Because You Think Need Every SKU
While we’re evaluating why we purchase the products we purchase, let us exclaim that it is completely unnecessary to purchase every single product in a particular line. Just because it is from your favorite brand, doesn’t mean that it is for your hair.
We know it is super-duper tempting to have our credit cards ready every time our favorite product company has a launch. Remember, stylists are the original product junkies. Before you make that purchase, peruse the ingredient lists of each product. Get a feel for the problem this new line is being debuted to solve. Evaluate if each product within the line can address a specific concern you have in the cleansing/conditioning/styling of your hair. Is each product something you lack in your arsenal?
Every product you use should have a reason to be in rotation.
#4. Shiny Penny Syndrome
“Why isn’t my hair shiny?” is one of the questions that gives us the most frustration. The idea that our hair must be shiny often comes from what we’re used to our hair looking like in its relaxed/ straightened days. Before we get into why your hair isn’t shiny let’s get rid of the relaxed hair mindset. Everything that pertains to having shiny hair is no more.
Shine is actually the reflection of light off of the surface of the hair. In a straightened or relaxed state, the smoothed hair acts like a mirror and is is able to reflect light. We likely enhanced that shine with numerous water repellant, silicone-based shine serums and sheen sprays that were activated by smoothing from high heat to increase the reflective factor of our hair.
Unlike straightened hair, the surface of curly + natural hair is full of twists, turns, and divots that absorb light into their depths. Even in smoother styles like twists and braids, light just doesn’t reflect as well. That lack of shine is not a good indicator that your hair is dry, dehydrated, or damaged. Dryness is a lack of water content in the hair and that cannot be determined by sight.
#5. “Hair Twin” Miscalculations
Visual appearances of tight curly + natural hair can be deceiving. Two naturalistas can have the same density, surface texture, and length but have different texture, porosity, climate and lifestyle. Although the hair may look the same, having different essential elements may require different product selections as well as different defining, drying, and fluffing techniques.
Most of us have lusted over our internet hair twin and been inspired to run to the Target aisle and grab every product she used on a style that resulted in an abysmal finish. Different essential elements are often why what worked on her ain’t working on you.
There are also influencers who we like to call “frustrated hairstylists” that just have natural talent at styling hair. They often have unicorn hair that styles easily and looks amazing no matter what product is used. They could use giraffe spit and get a dope result. This exact reason often contributes to why they have thousands or millions of followers.
Influencer life is often a part-time or full-time job creating carefully crafted and curated content. It’s mostly an illusion with a little bit of real life thrown in for authenticity. We love to see other black women killing the game on their own terms but there are a few things as a consumer we’d like for you to keep in mind.
Know that the video you watched wasn’t the first or even the third time they executed that style flawlessly. There was some practice, some fails, and some downright awful hair styles while getting far enough along on the learning curve to record themselves executing the look flawlessly.
#6. Transitioning for Fear of Short Hair
Transitioning to natural hair is hard and it is all in your mind. Let us repeat. IT IS ALL IN YOUR MIND.
Making the decision to grow out/cut out your relaxer or thermally reconditioned strands is only the beginning. The transition happens when you can look at the kinks + curls coming in and know intrinsically they are beautiful. It happens when you feel beautiful no matter how “defined” your curl pattern is that day. Transitioning means ignoring the voices that scream:
NAPPY HEAD, YOU NEED A PERM, GO COMB THOSE BEADY-BEAS, YOU GOT BAD HAIR, YOU AREN’T SKINNY/ LIGHT/TALL/ PRETTY/ CUTE ENOUGH TO WEAR YOUR HAIR LIKE THAT.
Transitioning to natural hair often means embracing bad hair days and unexpected big chops when transitioning just becomes too much. Give yourself tremendous grace as you travel the learning curve of moving from a novice to an expert in your tight curly + natural hair.
Some days you will look in the mirror and genuinely not like your hair because it won’t do the thing you want it to do. Seeing yourself during the transition or right after the big chop can be jarring because you are not used to seeing yourself in that manner. Going from relaxed to natural is a journey that permeates beyond the surface layer of your beauty. It will lay bare every flaw, insecurity, and hang up you’ve ever had about yourself.
But stick with it. You just might love the transformed person that emerges.
Ready to take the stupid out of natural hair and work to solve your natural hair challenges? Learn how with our free #30DayHairDetox Mini Guide. To receive your free copy, subscribe to our email list.