Black hair, (relaxed or afro-textured) requires A LOT of care in order for it to be healthy and grow long like Indian and Brazilian people’s hair. Healthy hair care requires us to start doing certain things we’re not used to doing to our hair while also reducing or eliminating bad habits which are damaging to the health of our hair.
I am not the one to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do to their hair because I know that what works for the majority may be damaging to the minority. However, there are certain practices which we all know are bad for our hair and should be eliminated at all costs. Unfortunately, insecurities, ignorance and laziness have led many to continue to do the things which they know are the leading causes to their stagnant hair growth.
So, if you actually want to see your hair grow and prove to everyone that Black hair grows like everyone else’s hair, you will need to abstain from the following:
1. Heat: It changes the physical and chemical structure of your hair. One bad heat session can set you back in years. Heat from curling wands, hair straighteners, and blow driers should be kept to a minimum. The number of times you choose to use it will vary, just always remember to use a silicone based serum to protect your hair before applying heat.
2. Comb: I personally don’t get why so many Black people feel the need to comb their Natural hair as often as they use to comb their straight hair. Many tell me they have to relax their hair because it’s easier to comb when it’s straight and almost impossible to comb when it’s tightly coiled. I rarely comb my hair as I think it’s a waste of time, effort and hair. I even wrote about Natural hair and combs twice on here, in this post and this other one.
3. Tight, heavy, and tiny hairstyles: This is a no brainer, as I’m sure many of you have lost hair to these damaging hairstyles. To read about the harm these hairstyles do to your hair, you should read the post I wrote on the down sides of protective styles.
4. Sulphates: They are drying on the hair and should be eliminated if possible. For a list of healthier alternatives, please read my post on 10 ways to cleanse your hair
5. Weaves and wigs: I know this is a great protective style for many, but if you’re just starting out on your healthy hair journey (hhj), you shouldn’t be wearing any form of synthetic hair at all. You need to apply the knowledge you’ve acquired from various avenues on your hair in order to test its efficacy. Another reason why I don’t recommend these type of hairstyles for a newbie is because there’s a tendency to forget about your real hair, since you don’t see them.
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6. Color: Colored hair tends to be drier than non colored ones, and as a result, extra care will need to be taken after you’ve colored your hair. Also, if you’re a newbie, it’s best you first master how to care for your hair in its natural state before experimenting with color and other sorts of addition.
7. Petrolatum and Mineral Oil: Take a look at the ingredients in your current leave-in conditioner or hair pomade, if it has “petrolatum” or “mineral oil” listed on it, throw it out now. These oils are non-absorbing as they only sleep on the hairstrands, preventing additional moisture from entering your hair cuticles, which may leave your hair feeling dry.
8. Ignorant hair stylists: As mentioned in an old post, I try my best to avoid stylists as much as possible. If you are a newbie, you will need to apply the techniques you read about on your own hair and by yourself. Only you can really tell the health of your hair and make changes when necessary. While it’s possible to have an educated stylist whom you can learn a thing or two from, you have to realize that the hair is on your own head, not on the stylist. Same way you wouldn’t expect your teacher to do your homework for you and expect to be successful, you can’t put the health of your hair into someone else’s hands.
9. Negative perception on Black hair: A quick search on Natural hair bloggers and vloggers will reveal to you that Black hair isn’t any of the things you believe it is. It’s not tough, stubborn and hard. It is actually weak, fragile and very versatile. Your hair will not grow past a certain length if you believe it won’t.
10. Laziness: As you can tell from the blogs and vlogs you follow, keeping healthy hair will require you to spend MORE time on your hair than usual. Black hair is a very unique type of hair which requires total loving care. Even a simple regimen such as a bi-weekly wash days will still take you more time as you detangle, wash, deep condition, moisturize and style. I follow relaxed hair blogs and I notice these ladies also follow the same steps Naturals follow, although they might spend significantly less time on detangling and other processes.