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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
Follow NHCN!

Common Misconceptions That Continue To Persist About Natural Hair
I recently read an interesting comment from a reader who clearly was not familiar with natural hair.  In response to a picture of Solange Knowles’ natural hair in a Google+ post, the commentator stated that Solanges’ hair looked pretty but it must be really hard to comb! (Paraphrasing).

People who are unfamiliar with natural hair, or who dislike the way it looks often have very interesting perceptions about the care and maintenance of afro textured hair.  I’ll explore some of these misconceptions and then share information that will hopefully help to dispel some of these misunderstandings.

Your hair must be hard to comb.  Here’s the thing, Naturalistas know that you do not comb natural hair as part of a styling routine. Our curly, coily hair just loves to wrap itself around the prongs of a comb, which makes our hair a prime candidate for breakage.  That doesn’t mean that we cannot comb our hair. A comb should only touch natural tresses under the right conditions if you want to reduce breakage – while the hair is wet and saturated with a rich conditioner with a lot of slip. Women who prefer a fuller or frizzer “fro” often use a hair pick. Picks may be viewed as a method similar to combing but the process lifts and stretches the hair which causes very little damage.

Finger combing is the preferred method for women with natural hair as it helps to keep frizz and breakage at bay.

Natural hair is much more difficult to care for than straightened hair.  Now that is a matter of opinion for sure, but any hair can be “difficult” if you don’t understand how to care for it. Learning to care for your hair regardless of whether it is natural, naturally straight, chemically or heat straightened, locked or braided takes dedication and education. You have to have an interest in learning how to care for your hair to get over any perceived or real difficulties. Speaking from personal experience, the more comfortable you become with styling and learning about how your hair responds to different styling techniques and products, the easier it becomes to appreciate your hair, and the less of a hassle it becomes.

My husband, boyfriend, neighbor, (fill in the blank), won’t like the way that I look with natural hair.

This is one of the most baffling of perceptions from my perspective and it is one that I hear fairly often. I get the fact that one’s significant other may not like their partners’ hairstyle choice, but it is your choice. If changing your personal hairstyle will make or break a relationship then the universe is trying to send you a message!

Natural hair is not a professional enough hairstyle on the job.

This is a matter of opinion.  I do understand that even in our enlightened 21st century there will always be those who judge you by your appearance.  This has some merit in the context of business since how we dress can affect how a customer perceives our professionalism.  Bottom line, I believe that when at work, we should always be neat and appropriately dressed for the type of work that we perform.

The argument loses traction with me when people are judged based on what seems to be a personal preference, bias, or a genuine lack of understanding.  Why should the standard for what is professional be predicated solely on Eurocentric standards?  What makes straight hair professional and natural hair somehow inappropriate for the workplace?  It is the way that our hair naturally grows from our heads.  Clearly there is a lot of education that needs to be done on the topic to help those less enlightened to understand that natural does not equal unkempt, dirty or less professional – it’s just different.

Have you had experiences that you can add to this short list?

Author: Dianne

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. Not sure of which products are right for your hair type? Visit our solution oriented natural hair products store.

 

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