As a young girl, I noticed that black hair was different. My hair always seemed to remain shoulder-length.
Since short hair was limited; I developed a fascination for long hair.
Getting a hair weave seemed to be the only means to acquiring that long hair that flows.
Finally, I could have long hair like everyone else.
Weave was the next best thing to applying a relaxer. Getting my hair chemically relaxed and weaved up helped to build predictability within my hair routine. I developed a sense of confidence within the appearance of my hair.
Black Hair: Rough and Different:
When you are taught, by the world, that your hair is rough and different; you will believe it to be true, especially if there is nothing to counter such claims.
As black women, we are taught to never walk out of the house with our hair looking a mess. We must ensure that those kinks, curls, and naps are under control.
Naturally, I became concerned with styling my hair. Unfortunately, I was never taught how to style my hair for retaining growth. When I molded my hair, I placed a ridiculous amount of tension on my hair.
Bad habits such as, weaving it up, over-processing it straight and styling the life out of my hair became inherent traits that are still difficult to break even to this day.
Covering Black Hair:
It seems that as black women become distracted by covering our hair. We take the focus off of our natural hair by replacing it with weave and extentions.
Placing foreign objects into our tresses becomes addictive.
The QUICK FIX:
Why invest time and effort into learning to care for your real hair when you can get a quick weave or a fast relaxer to remedy the damaged, broken hair that persist?
This must be the nature of the term CREAM CRACK regarding black women constantly relaxing their natural hair. As long as there are relaxers and weaves, black women do not have to be concerned with the condition of his or her natural hair.
One can always cover what lies beneath the hair enhancements.
The weave extentions and chemical relaxers become more real to us, black women, than our own natural hair.
It is difficult to imagine the beauty within an object where there are no physical representations. In other words, it is difficult to see yourself with kinky, curly natural hair when there is no one to look up to for inspiration.
Very few people are capable of looking outside the box and doing something different. No one really wants to be the odd-ball.
Our hair remaining short is not only due to our grooming methods or lack thereof; It is largely due to our negative perception of our hair. It’s like we lose the battle before we even start.
Sometimes, I wonder why it took so long to seriously research black hair care.
Looking back, I was always concerned with caring for my hair. I moisturized it; I cleaned it; I conditioned it.
BUT I never protected it! This is the main reason our hair remains short.
We need to start treating our hair as fragile because it is.
If you do not understand the scientific structure of the hair strand; you will find yourself at a loss.
You will continuously be guessing about hair products and hairstyles.
Do not station yourself into COPYCAT mode, contantly looking to someone else to recover your hair problems.
The first step is learning the scientific structure of the hair strand; so, you can comprehend the root of the problems with your hair.
BUT Black Hair Breaks Easily:
It is convenient to say that our hair remains short because it tends to break easier than other hair types. It is better to understand that black hair remains short mainly because we are constantly breaking it down.
Yes! Our dryer hair type is structurally more prone to breakage. But that does not mean that we cannot reduce the amount of breakage and move beyond having shorter, shoulder-length hair.
The black women, I know, DO care about their hair. Not one of them fails to wash and moisturize their hair regularly.
However, many black women lack a system that they stick to.
Too many black women solely use oil-based hair products such as hair grease and natural oils, instead of water-based products which are more suitable for the hair.
Our hair is uniquely fragile, but it does not have to chronically break-off. Our poor maintenance habits largely contribute to our hair loss. We have to stop this cycle.
Constant Styling and Poor Grooming Habits:
I know my hair remained short because of excessive styling and the lack of a system that placed my hair within a protective state, such as protective styling.
How I broke my already dry Black Hair down:
- DAMAGED Hair: Most of my hairstyles involved pulling the hair in some way.
- UNPROTECTED Hair: I never wrapped my hair up at night.
- UNMOISTURIZED Hair: Hair grease, which only coats the hair strand, was the main ingredient within the hair product that I used-so my hair was not being moisturized correctly
- UNMOISTURIZED Hair: I rarely used water-based hair products because I feared frizziness. Without water hair will become dry. Dry hair breaks!
- DAMAGED Hair: I was flat-ironing my hair every day.
- DAMAGED Hair: I was blow-drying my hair every time I washed it.
- DAMAGED Hair: I relaxed all of my hair, not just the new growth, every two months.
I was breaking my hair down! I was unaware of the damage my behavior was causing.
The DREADFUL things I never knew:
- Relaxed hair NEVER revert back to curly
- Cutting the ends Never makes the hair grow
- The scalp Never needs oil
- The ENDS of the hair ALWAYs needs moisture
- Kinky- Afro-Textured hair is a fragile, dryer hair type
- Hair and scalp should be cleaned often
- My hair Can grow long
Why my hair WILL NOT stay short:
- I understand the science of hair
- I understand the affect my product choices will have on my hair
- I read ingredient lists not product labels
- I know how to effectively moisturize my hair
- I know how to properly clean my hair and scalp
- I am always protecting my hair so that it can be preserved longer
- I am patient
Chronic short hair is not normal.
We have to stop seeing this as normal. As long as we continue to have a negative perception about our hair, we cannot move beyond our current short-hair-state.
There are plenty of black women with natural black hair and relaxed black hair who have wonderful hair care systems in place. Their hair is growing and staying on their head.
However, far too often, I see and speak with women that are not only confused but discouraged about their hair growth.
When I placed braids within my hair; I was exhausted from trying to care for my natural (real) hair. Every hair-care-system I implemented to attain longer hair, failed.
I was tired of seeing my hair on the sink, curling irons, and within my hands.
It is a very frustrating to face the reality that your hair may be hopeless and beyond your control. My hair, and your hair, is never hopeless.
What is hopeless and useless is the backward tactics that we often accept as accurate without inspecting, testing, and correcting.
Instead of losing our hair; let’s start to lose distorted mentalities and ill grooming tactics that are destroying our hair; and ultimately our self-esteem.
Black hair can and does grow beyond shoulder-length.