“Little girl with the press and curl. Age eight I got a Jheri curl. Thirteen and I got a relaxer. I was a source of so much laughter. At fifteen when it all broke off. Eighteen and went all natural”
When you first make the choice to go natural you can’t help but wonder what kind of hair you’ll have. I assumed that because my mom had looser curls that I would as well and once my hair grew longer I wasn’t comfortable with my shrinkage at all. I would do my wash day and immediately blow dry my hair to stretch it some. It mainly came from me trying to prove my length to other people. It was my way of being like “Well yes I have long hair too!” and I held confidence in my length. It was my way of compensating that I have something to show for the years I had been natural. I started transitioning in the 7th grade roughly but I eventually big chopped my Freshmen year in high school (November 19th, 2011) and I was cool with my hair but I felt trapped by it I expected to have something completely different. It’s been going on almost 7 years since I’ve been natural officially but I assumed that I had 4c hair and that was because I thought my hair didn’t retain a curl pattern. Since I’m back from a much need hiatus I wont bore y’all with and incredibly long store but I have 5 tips for caring for your type four hair.
Now that I have more practice with my hair my curls are most similar to 3c and 4a. They aren’t exactly those because no two heads are the same all texture typing means is what your hair is closest to.
1. Water is the Friend NOT the Enemy
Soooo to me for years water=shrinkage and oh my goodness was shrinkage a pain in my butt! but seriously water is what gives your hair moisture not products. The products are what helps retain the water within your hair. Water can also help re-activate older products in your hair and the reason I mention that is because often times we put product on top of dry hair which just leads to product build up. Get a spray bottle and call it a day when it comes to refreshing your curls.
2. Be Mindful of Trends
“A trend: a general direction in which something is developing or changing”
So in other words a trend is basically gaucho pants that we used to wear with a Limited Too tee it was cute at the time. I’m 100% sure that I wouldn’t catch an 11-year old wearing that again. Well hair is the same as a fashion trend and I am a big advocate for girls and guys embracing their natural texture I’m all here for it but don’t do it because you think reverting your hair to its natural state will make it any healthier or you believe your hair will grow faster. It’s even ignorant I my opinion to believe that your natural hair is better than someone with relaxed hair. Right now we are in a trend everybody wants to be natural and that’s great but it’s also a commitment ,don’t go through months of transitioning or even do a big chop and then start wondering why your curls aren’t like the next persons. Be mindful and secure of yourself when you do make the choice to embrace your textured hair.
3. Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, and Shea Butter
These are the most common oils targeted towards the natural community and they all work in different ways and can do wonders for your hair. However, these oils aren’t always compatible with your hair.
For example, castor oil and my hair do not get along and castor oil tends to weigh my hair down and the oil doesn’t properly penetrate my hair cuticles. But that doesn’t make castor oil a bad oil. Some hair can’t hold coconut oil and the list goes on. You have to know what your hair needs if you don’t need something the oil specifically works for then don’t use it regularly.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
During my much needed break I started really experimenting with hair products. Over the summer I cut my hair to about collar length when straightened. Cutting my hair was liberating honestly it felt like I was natural all over again. I learned products and experimented with techniques and I feel so much more confident to share what I have learned. It’s all trial and error I have products I love and ones I just don’t reach for. I have skills that I like to use and ones I find don’t add to my hair or style. Overall you have to play with your hair it won’t happen over night but once you learn how to do your hair it makes confidence in your hair come so much easier.
5. If you really want to stretch your hair naturally….
If you really cant tolerate shrinkage I do this trick to keep my hair from being tangled or flattening over night and what you do is take your hair and separate it into little pineapples don’t tie your hair tie around more than twice.
Doing that creates lines and that’s not cute. It’s naturally stretching your hair over night. In the morning take out the hair ties and fluff your hair out with whatever styler you use. This also an easy way to maintain a wash and go.