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Dianne Austin
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Dianne Austin

Dianne is the co-founder of Natural Haircare News and Coils To Locs.com. She's been blogging about natural hair ever since she made the decision to break free of the creamy crack in 2012.
Dianne Austin
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Common Misconceptions About Natural Hair

Misinformation and misconceptions surrounding natural black hair often cause black women to decide to go natural for the wrong reasons or with the wrong expectations. Some may think that their tresses will grow faster when they go natural. Others believe that going au naturel will drastically reduce the time they spend on managing their hair.

If you are new to the back to natural hair movement or  are currently contemplating switching from relaxed hair to natural hair, it is best to first understand what it really means to embrace your roots. This will set the record straight and prepare you accordingly so you do not plunge into the natural hair movement blindly and then end up resenting your kinks and curls.

Stlamerican.com discusses the four common misconceptions about natural African-American hair.

Growth rate

One of the biggest reasons many women go natural is to “make their hair grow.” Being natural doesn’t necessarily mean your hair will grow faster or longer, compared to if the hair was relaxed. Most women with natural hair usually protect the ends of their hair by wearing it in twists, braids, buns or other protective styles. This contributes to the hair not experiencing breakage, but retention.

Hair growth rates are pretty much the same whether the hair is natural or not. Many see a difference in growth rate not because the hair grows faster, but because there is growth retention with lack of hair breakage, shedding, and loss. Relaxed hair is also capable of retaining growth. The only issue with growing and keeping relaxed hair is when the hair has been relaxed over a long time period, it could possibly result in thinning of the hair later on in life.

Moisturization

African-American hair is known to typically be dry. When the hair is in its natural state, it is even more susceptible to dryness. It is super important to keep natural hair constantly moisturized, especially during extreme weather conditions. Even though relaxed hair might not need as much constant moisture as natural hair, the ends of the hair still have to have enough moisture to prevent breakage.

 Maintenance

Many are under the misconception that natural hair is easier to maintain than relaxed hair. Quite the contrary. Natural hair takes just as much or more time, patience and maintenance to keep it healthy. There are gazillion YouTube tutorials on how to just simply wash natural hair. To begin tackling different natural hair styling techniques is a whole other beast.

Natural hair can be worn curly or straight, but it might not be as versatile as some think. When natural curls are constantly straightened, the natural curl pattern can be loosened leaving the hair with straight ends. With relaxed hair, there is much more manageability, but unlike natural hair, it can pretty much only be worn straight, without any body or curl versatility.

Relaxed hair also offers easy edge control, which is a huge concern for us during the warmer months or when we are working out.

Color

One of the best benefits to being natural is that you can color your hair without causing any major damage. Many don’t realize that hair color is a chemical, just like relaxers. Natural hair is virgin hair, meaning it has not been compromised by any outside elements and is basically a blank canvas.

When coloring hair using either lightener (bleach) or various ammonia-based colors (dyes), the hair cuticle is being weakened, so having the “clean slate” of natural hair to perform the coloring process is best for keeping hair health. Relaxed hair has already been processed by a chemical, so adding a color process to the hair is further jeopardizing the integrity of the hair shaft that has already been compromised by the relaxer.

If the goal is to maintain or grow the relaxed hair, then steer clear of the color.

Author: Pamela

Comment on this articleChanging attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural.

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