The Myths and Benefits of Natural Hair

Written By Wilfredo Allen on Sunday, June 15, 2014 | 3:00 AM


Have you contemplated the thought of wearing your natural hair but found yourself fearful of transitional phases and maintenance requirements? Are you tired of relaxers and desire a more natural approach to styling? Many African-American women have abandoned their relaxers for a natural look- that is void chemicals or relaxers. Although it has proven benefits, others sit on the sidelines and question if the transition and maintenance is worth it. Before dismissing the idea, you should learn about the myths and styling options available to make transitioning from a relaxer easier.

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The first myth is that everyone who transitions from a relaxer requires a "big chop." Although this may be recommended when there is extensive damage, those with longer hair may simply choose to allow their natural hair to outgrow the relaxed hair. Once this occurs, a person may be required to cut only the damaged hair while maintaining most of her length. Consulting with a professional hair stylist will help you to understand the best option to promote healthy growth. As it relate to styling, a great way to help with this transition and promote active growth is to simply braid your hair. Whether you decide to braid your hair or add extensions, these styles can be beautifully worn for all occasions. In addition, they require little maintenance, allow room for various styling options, and promote active hair growth.

The second myth is that natural hair is easier to maintain. April McKisick, co-owner of Naturals, LLC, a company that specializes in creating natural hair care products, believes that natural hair requires just as much time as relaxed hair. She says, "Those who choose the natural route should understand that you are trading one type of maintenance for another. Finding the best products for your hair texture is important to keep hair hydrated and healthy. For example, adding natural oils and using shampoos without sulfate prevents excessive dryness that leads to dullness." Depending on the length of your hair, styling options may include but are not limited to the following: mini Afro, twists, and African locks. Although these may require less maintenance, it is important to make a concerted effort to maintain a healthy, neat appearance by using leave-in conditioners and getting regular trims to remove unhealthy hair.

The third myth is the transitional phase from relaxed to natural is both difficult and unattractive. Although challenges exist, there are ways to create beautiful styles. With a little creativity, you can learn great techniques for styling and maintenance. For example, for very short hair, you may consider wearing waves and scrunches for a vintage look. If you are desire something more contemporary, quick weaves and wigs are great for any hair length. Of course for a more casual look, ponytails, twists, and rolls are always timeless. As previously mentioned, braids are great for any occasion. Adding fun accessories such as combs, headbands, flowers, and scarfs can give you a great look for those 9-1-1 emergency hair days.

Natural hair is very beautiful and uniquely captures the cultural spirit of African-American women. However, its beauty is often marred by controversy and challenges. Taking additional time to educate and explore options complimentary to personal styles is necessary to feel comfortable with natural hair.

Blog, Updated at: 3:00 AM

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