Reflections of a Natural...*Warning-can be blunt at times*

TheNaturalFairyTheNaturalFairy Registered Users Posts: 11
[FONT=&quot]Good afternoon Ladies :wave:

Have you ever been approached by a natural or future newbie and had them just look in absolute awe over your hair? They just can't believe your hair could look so good (to them) while their hair is not what they want. Your grass is greener than the Amazon forest, while they see their hair as the Sahara. These conversations are so tragic because I try and try to convey that my hair is not what it seems, first off, and it took me years to figure out what my hair wanted to keep it from looking crazy, but it never seems to stick once they go into an endless gaze into my scalp. So, I'm writing this to hopefully get through to someone since there are alot of newbies looking for guidance here. This is what I have learned about being a natural, and why I am still a natural today.

Background: First perm at 4 (never seen my natural hair, but my mom took very good care of my straight hair). All of the women in my family are permed up and continue to be. I'm the first to go natural. I decided to do it my senior year of college (12/2008, and BC'd soon as I graduated (ain't nobody got time for transitioning, I wanted my new hair now). I haven't applied any heat or chemicals in my hair since I cut it.
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1)[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Any and all hair typing systems confused me, and didn't help me at all with what I needed to buy.

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[FONT=&quot]*Like many newbies I went to the natural forums and articles to determine what I needed to buy for my new hair. For someone who never worked with their natural hair pattern for almost 20 years, it would make sense to classify it first then everything would flow, right? Wrong. I side eye the heck out of hair typing systems now because they tend to go by your looks rather than your hair. The sad part is that they don't even realize they are doing it. I was deemed a 4B off top when I was a TWA, but my instincts were saying it fit more along 4A. I would go back and forth trying to figure out if I should buy products for 4A or 4B. Something else that bothered me at the time was the descriptions surrounding these "types." My hair would be classified as “coily,” but I have never heard anyone refer to my hair as coily. White and black women both say, “Oh my God, does your hair really curl like that? They are like little spiral curls all over your head.” Now, how is my hair curly according to strangers in everyday life but not curly according to these hair typing systems? It became too much and the products recommended weren’t working for me, so I disregarded all systems.
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[FONT=&quot]2) [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Common ingredients that worked in other naturals’ hair didn’t always work for me. [/FONT]
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*My hair disdains Shea butter. She really does. It takes a bunch of other ingredients to disguise the Shea in order for my hair to like it. If she even gets a hint that there is Shea in there, she frizzes out in anger and disgust. That knocked out 70% of type 4 hair care products. It took me about 2 years to figure that out because there tends to be at least 6 other things in products, and it was hard to pinpoint which ingredient my hair was revolting against. Surprisingly, she also adores protein. She clings to it like the last crack rock in a crack binge. If I don’t deep condition with a protein conditioner every week, my curls start to look less and less like curls and more like a cat fur ball. This is not the results I should be getting with my so called hair type. Why does she act completely against expectations? Well, she just can. You do not want to go to war with your hair, because you will lose. Trust me. Whatever your hair wants, get it.

[/FONT] [FONT=&quot]3) If my air dried hair looked similar to what it looked like wet after I put in a product, then my hair liked it.[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot] *With so many products in the market and my not knowing what to look for, it was hard to pinpoint when my hair did like something. It took some time for me to realize that if my hair came out looking completely opposite of what it looked like soaking wet, I was doing something wrong (considering I wasn’t trying to style it). It sounds simple, but if you don’t know what ingredients your hair likes, it can be a long drawn out nightmare. Once I started isolating ingredients and product consistency, my hair started looking more like it did fresh out of the shower. With this new knowledge, I would hear about a new product, look at the ingredients and be like, nope, it’s got glycerin in it. I won’t be wasting my money on this. [/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot]4) My hair is only a part of me, not the sole piece.[/FONT]
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[FONT=&quot] * I still got job offers, men of all shapes and sizes still ask for my number, and I still have loved ones. I remember being warned by my mother, hair dresser and friends about being natural. While there are people who think it is going to be an apocalypse, I assure you, it isn’t. As time went on, people just accepted (and eventually loved) my natural hair for what it is. There will be annoyances you have to deal with on occasion (like someone at my old job swearing up and down I had a texturizer), but the world still turns. People readily ask all kinds of questions like I’m the first to do it (and you will get that too). I feel the worry in their faces as they wonder if they should move forward with this decision. Out of everything I try to emphasize, there is one thing that I want them to understand. This is definitely a vast change (and not just hair unfortunately) because you are going against literally centuries of rationale in the community. However, your hair is only one puzzle piece. Once you get over that speed bump, the process of becoming and staying a natural will be smooth and sweet like brown sugah.
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[FONT=&quot]So what about you guys? What kind of introspection did you gain upon becoming natural? Newbies and vets welcome. :)[/FONT]
Slowly stirred and mixed to perfection:wav:

My hair hates Shea butter, Oils on their own and loves Protein. Do you know what your hair loves and hates? - Unveiling 6/15 8-)

Comments

  • CurlyShorty3405CurlyShorty3405 Registered Users Posts: 196
    I don't have type 4 curls, I have 2B/2C curls. But I just have to say that I agree with you about what might work for others, isn't going to work for me. An example would be co-washing, gels, mousse and curl creams. Co-washing just leaves my thick hair a greasy mess. Gels, mousse and curl creams also leave my hair greasy, which is ironic because my hair can take a lot of product. I also learned that my hair loves protein, even if it's just a simple mayo hair mask. Another thing that I learned is that when my ends act like they are tying together, I know that it's time to trim my ends. Because of the texture and length of my hair it's a little below armpit length, I need to have the ends of the length trimmed more often. Something else, I'm never going back to having my hair all one length again, my hair is a lot less frizzy with long layers, it's a lot easier to manage and take care of.

    I love what you said about trying to go to war with your hair and losing. It is 100% true, I've gone to war with my hair and lost, probably a million times. Having my cousin be my hair stylist helps a lot too, she gives me a lot of advice about what my hair needs.

    I once thought about perming my hair, but my cousin and the other stylists at the salon advised me against it. My hair used to be really frizzy and unmanageable, so instead of perming it, my cousin suggested chemically straightening it. Chemically straightening it, with a sulfur based straightener which required no heat at all to set the product, changed the texture of my hair, made it less frizzy and a lot easy to manage. I haven't done this in 6-7 years. But I did learn that with the right products and a lot of patience that it has become a lot easier to care for and manage my hair.
    2B-2C Density-Medium/High Width-medium Length-Medium

    LoPoo: Onesta Hydrating Shampoo
    CoWash: LP Curl Conditioning Wash
    ROs: Onesta Hydrating Conditioner, LP Curl Detangling Rinse
    Weekly DC: LP Restore Mask Treatment
    Leave in: LP Restore Targeted Repair Cream
    Stylers: (in application order): LP Prime Style Extender Cream, LI, LP Curl Defining Style Cream, LP No Frizz Weightless Styling Spray, LP PHD Night Cap
    Sealer: Body Shop Olive Oil/Body Shop Argan Oil/Josie Maran Argan Oil
  • lolo918lolo918 Registered Users Posts: 729 Curl Neophyte
    I love your post- and feel like it is almost exactly my story. My biggest lesson was stepping away from what was "normal, or expected" like you. I can't use a lot of oils or butters, especially on wet hair. I can basically copy and paste your whole story on that, lols. I didn't start thinking about my "properties" as affecting haircare more than my curl type until I came to curltalk. Now I have a better idea of whether a product will work simply by reading the ingredients. So that's another thing that saddens me some too- having this knowledge now then seeing people I know who say they don't care about whats in a product like me but then complaining that they need help for their hair. I have to remember that there was a time when I didn't think ingredients mattered much or that there were things that my hair didn't like even if I thought my hair needed them.

    Did you happen to see the editorial post on black girl long hair today? It discussed forgetting about hair typing and focusing more on porosity. I loved the conversation it begins but think it should have also covered better ways to identify porosity, normal porosity, hair density, strand size, and length. It's at least a start though, that's for sure. Why Knowing Your Hair’s Porosity is More Important Than Knowing Your Hair Type | Black Girl with Long Hair I worried so much about my curl type in the beginning because I thought I would have much better hair if I cared for my curl type, lols. Only until I learned my porosity and was better equipped at keeping moisture did my curls really start to look like the curl type(s) I thought I was.

    I'm also getting to that time where I feel saddened but flattered when people compliment me on my hair. I'm sad because usually the first question is- what do you use? As if buying the exact same things as me is going to automatically make someones hair look like mine. There's never enough time to really get into what really counts most. It also saddens me when people say they don't have good hair. Maaaan in the beginning of my journey I can't tell you how many times I was so frustrated that my hair wouldn't hold curls like coarser haired ladies hair does- they fall no matter what holding products I use or amount of heat, etc within hours leaving me with a gunky head of hair to clean up. I'm flattered because my hair is getting to that point of looking nice enough for people to want my hair.

    After coming here, I also learned not to think of natural hair as only people who decided not to continue chemically relaxing their hair. My hair at the end of the day frequently responds best to what I had always thought of as more wavy hair (unfortunately, read: white hair so ignorant looking back now) care techniques. It's growing better and retaining more length which comes across as it growing faster. My hair loves protein too- I was afraid at first despite knowing that I have fine textured strands. I had known that for a long time but it just didn't fully compute for me, lols. This is a great post- I hope a lot of people chime in!
    3C/4A, fine texture, low-medium density, and low porosity
    CG since November 2013.

    Pre-Poo: infrequent now, Coconut Oil overnight
    Shampoo: Curls unleashed/for occasional sulfate wash when needed, everlasting sunshine.
    Conditioner: Suave Naturals Everlasting Sunshine and GVP's conditioning balm.
    Styler: iagirl's flaxseed curl cream or gelatin gel/conditioner mix. <3
    PT: iagirl's gelatin treatment 3-4 times a month, with conditioner/honey/avj
  • adthomasadthomas Registered Users Posts: 5,525 Curl Neophyte
    Unfortunately, my mom is always teeling people who complain about having issues with their natural hair to ask her daughter. I have to tell them what they don't want to hear which is there is no quick easy magic solution that works for everyone. I try to give general advice like how to detangle, sealing, deep conditioning but I don't like to say too much about specific products because I don't want them mad at me if their hair hates it and they spent money. I also try to make people understand I don't use the same products all year long. I change either for weather or for styling purposes. Fall, Spring, Winter my hair the bomb but summers are rough. I tell them what works in one climate may not in another.

    would rather talk hair with a new natural than a non natural. Generally I find them more open to what may go against what generations have "known" about properly caring for hair. For example the whole avoid getting your hair wet. My hair looovess water. when I tell people I use some products not marketing as black products and I wash my hair at least every 3 days they act like I'm an alien and the whole attitude changes. Then I become the gud hair person although no one ever called it that when it was chemically treated.

    A stylist told me once my hair was not curly but coily after I called it curly. Everyone else says curly.
    Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it. :wav:
  • BluebloodBlueblood Registered Users Posts: 1,748 Curl Neophyte
    I was lucky when I went nature as I was in a country with few Black people.

    Then when I moved back home I had to put up with "How did you get your hair like that" and other questions. Most of the questioners were I put in the ignorant category as they weren't interested in how I styled my hair they wanted to know why a Black woman had curly hair and why her hair wasn't thick.

    In regards to styling I had to learn the hard way what worked for me as I didn't have a plethora of products at the beginning especially those aimed at Black hair. When I did have access to those products I found the heavy oils and heavy greases didn't work. I had previously had problems with shampoos and conditioners aimed at Black hair so it made no difference.
  • TheNaturalFairyTheNaturalFairy Registered Users Posts: 11
    lolo918 wrote: »
    I love your post- and feel like it is almost exactly my story. My biggest lesson was stepping away from what was "normal, or expected" like you. I can't use a lot of oils or butters, especially on wet hair. I can basically copy and paste your whole story on that, lols. I didn't start thinking about my "properties" as affecting haircare more than my curl type until I came to curltalk. Now I have a better idea of whether a product will work simply by reading the ingredients. So that's another thing that saddens me some too- having this knowledge now then seeing people I know who say they don't care about whats in a product like me but then complaining that they need help for their hair. I have to remember that there was a time when I didn't think ingredients mattered much or that there were things that my hair didn't like even if I thought my hair needed them.

    Did you happen to see the editorial post on black girl long hair today? It discussed forgetting about hair typing and focusing more on porosity. I loved the conversation it begins but think it should have also covered better ways to identify porosity, normal porosity, hair density, strand size, and length. It's at least a start though, that's for sure. Why Knowing Your Hair’s Porosity is More Important Than Knowing Your Hair Type | Black Girl with Long Hair I worried so much about my curl type in the beginning because I thought I would have much better hair if I cared for my curl type, lols. Only until I learned my porosity and was better equipped at keeping moisture did my curls really start to look like the curl type(s) I thought I was.

    I'm also getting to that time where I feel saddened but flattered when people compliment me on my hair. I'm sad because usually the first question is- what do you use? As if buying the exact same things as me is going to automatically make someones hair look like mine. There's never enough time to really get into what really counts most. It also saddens me when people say they don't have good hair. Maaaan in the beginning of my journey I can't tell you how many times I was so frustrated that my hair wouldn't hold curls like coarser haired ladies hair does- they fall no matter what holding products I use or amount of heat, etc within hours leaving me with a gunky head of hair to clean up. I'm flattered because my hair is getting to that point of looking nice enough for people to want my hair.

    After coming here, I also learned not to think of natural hair as only people who decided not to continue chemically relaxing their hair. My hair at the end of the day frequently responds best to what I had always thought of as more wavy hair (unfortunately, read: white hair so ignorant looking back now) care techniques. It's growing better and retaining more length which comes across as it growing faster. My hair loves protein too- I was afraid at first despite knowing that I have fine textured strands. I had known that for a long time but it just didn't fully compute for me, lols. This is a great post- I hope a lot of people chime in!

    I just looked at the article, and while it had a good point, it didn't really go into much detail. I wonder why she didn't put in normal porosity :-| (which is what I am btw). I remember doing porosity, density, length, LOIS, numbers, squares...everything, but not one of those things answered the questions I had. What should I buy to put in my hair? What should I do to make it healthy and strong? Don't get me wrong, being a context driven person that I am, I love to know the background of things. However in this case, the background did not help me solve the problem. :sad11:
    If we could just find out a simple one for all tactic (like questions or ideas women can try that would help gear them to what they personally needed), we would have a much smaller abandoned rate for newbies. I've come up with one idea that is still in progress that I think would help ALOT of women, but there are still some details in progress to get to that one for all....but dang it I'm gonna work on it! :coffee:


    Oh, and I feel you on the hair falling bit. The last time my hair stood up and out was when I had 3 inches of hair...
    Slowly stirred and mixed to perfection:wav:

    My hair hates Shea butter, Oils on their own and loves Protein. Do you know what your hair loves and hates? - Unveiling 6/15 8-)
  • lolo918lolo918 Registered Users Posts: 729 Curl Neophyte
    I absolutely agree with you about the article not being a one stop shop, and I didn't believe it was. I really do think it starts to open up a different conversation that gets everyone on the road to focusing on healthy hair care as opposed to classifying what good curl care can make your hair look like. I'm not sure that it is possible because there are so many confounding factors, but I hope that I'm very wrong. Maybe that's more from my experience with not being helped by knowing my texture type though. With my hair everything that I followed for my "type" hair for product recommendations, etc did nothing for having moisturized hair that didn't lose curl when I manipulated it in any way, and didn't retain length well. Now I notice it in the entire curly hair spectrum here- people asking for advice knowing their curl type but having problems because what information is so widely distributed for their hair type is causing disaster for their hair. Then when they find a solution the issue that they have was due to not taking into account their porosity with ingredients that coat the hair, or density and product application, or length and how routine might need to change.

    Other things I notice is that for the failure rate is at least in my circle of people that they begin with unrealistic expectations in regards to so many different aspects of hair. I had gotten frustrated at one point too until I started thinking about the dates on videos- mahoganycurls and naptural85 has this gorgeous long hair because they have been in this game for 4 years, and just because my fav youtubers/bloggers can go months without trims doesn't mean I can. Other people I know thought that going natural meant their hair would grow like weeds simply because they went natural and natural is better. . . .but their hair was so dry and their products/routines weren't working if this was the result. However, since these were the products in the "ethnic" section they were supposed to work and they were doing something wrong, right?!? I could go on for awhile- but my point is that there is nothing that myself or other people haven't said that would get the people that I know to change because it was their perception that needed to change. I know they had come across information contradicting them, but their response was always, "well my hair can't do that so it's no use trying". At that point the person is beyond help, unfortunately.

    I really hope that you are successful with a system, though! I have started changing how I ask about properties and give information to go with asking when I'm here because I remember how frustrating it can be for people to throw terminology around with little to no info on what they mean. (I do get self-conscious that I sound like a broken record, or that answers are too long like this one). For instance when I am describing porosity, mentioning things like how long your hair takes to get wet, or to dry, or how well it absorbs product. If I mention humectants or emollients, I try to list a few to get started and if I'm at a desktop add the link to an article here by the curl chemist on those.

    I think I also take some of my experience for granted in that I had been helped along the way with knowing what healthy hair care was- things that I still use today like deep conditioning, tips on descriptors on products to help get what you need, and trimming as needed. Well, strict internet terminology wise, what I call a trim is what most hair sites I've seen call dusting.
    3C/4A, fine texture, low-medium density, and low porosity
    CG since November 2013.

    Pre-Poo: infrequent now, Coconut Oil overnight
    Shampoo: Curls unleashed/for occasional sulfate wash when needed, everlasting sunshine.
    Conditioner: Suave Naturals Everlasting Sunshine and GVP's conditioning balm.
    Styler: iagirl's flaxseed curl cream or gelatin gel/conditioner mix. <3
    PT: iagirl's gelatin treatment 3-4 times a month, with conditioner/honey/avj
  • adthomasadthomas Registered Users Posts: 5,525 Curl Neophyte
    I don't know what percentage of newbies are jumping ship but my guess the reasons are a varied as the reasons people go natural. My mom and several of my aunts and cousins have gone natural since I did and so far only one person has gone back to relaxing. She told me it was because her hair was "too nappy and didn't curl up like mine." She never said it was hard to manage just that she didn't like the look. I have no proof or stats but I believe finding out you don't have x curl type is a great contributor. Also I think some peopleay have the grass is greener syndrome. Like when you remember all the good times with your ex but forget all the reasons you broke up. My aunt told me she gets tempted to relax but then she thinks of how much work it was to maintain and then dismisses the idea. Some people I know have been going back and forth between natural and relaxed for years because they get bored. Not because they dislike natural hair. I have never been tempted to relax in part because I feel stupid for all the painful scalp burns I suffered which I consider self inflicted although I went almost entirely to salons. Plus I prefer my hair curly. I also feel there are those who don't want to put in the effort of trial and error and do the research. They Watch Kimmay, Mahoganny, Nap now in all their glory but not in their early videos where they were new naturals learning to deal with their hair. People want a straight shot shortcut immediate instant gratification solution that requires little time other than picking up a product off a store shelf. And even when you get a routine down it doesn't mean rainbows forever and there won't ever be more challenges or bad hair days.
    Even myself at six years natural am still learning how to deal with my hair in the humid summer months to keep it moisturized. Plus my hair has changed to with time and length.
    Yes, it's real. No, you can't touch it. :wav:

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