I consider myself an “experienced” natural, whatever that’s worth. Not much because I have been natural for many years and am just now getting the hang of it. Looking back, I didn’t know jack about my hair. It all seems like such common sense and second nature now, but I was really uneducated about my hair. I am still constantly seeking more and more information. I will always be a student in that regard.
1. Not detanglingNever, not once did I properly detangle my hair, if at all. I would simply shampoo and condition my hair, throw some Motions foam wrap lotion and Paul Mitchell foaming pomade and keep it moving. I barely used a comb! Now, it was cute but that’s it. It was not healthy in the least bit. Surprisingly I didn’t lose a lot of hair; however, I was not retaining length either.
2. Sleeping without a satin cap/scarfAt night I would lay my head down straight gorilla style! The only time I slept with a satin cap/scarf was when I straightened my hair. WTW? I know...makes no sense, which leads me to the next mistake on my list…using excessive heat.
3. Using excessive heatI was one of those naturals who flaunted her curls during the summer months and danced with the devil (flat iron) the other 9 months out of the year. I shampooed my hair once per week, grabbed the flat iron and smoothed it across my hair with no heat protectant, no nothing. Just 350-400 degrees of direct heat on my blonde tresses. Can you say dry and brittle?
4. Shampooing too frequentlyWhen I wore my hair straight, I shampooed weekly, however when I wore it curly, I shampooed every single day. I eventually cut this down to every other day out of pure laziness but until then, I cleansed every single morning! That’s what natural hair meant to me – get up, shampoo, hit the door. This was the case no matter the length. I wore my hair extremely short and cropped and as it got longer, I used the same practice.
5. Not knowing product ingredientsI did not ever look at the ingredients on the bottle of the products I used. The farthest I ever went to research ingredients was to only use gel that did not contain alcohol. *blank stare* yep that’s it. Sulfates? Parabens? Huh? No clue what any of that was. You would think a licensed cosmetologist would know these things right? NOPE! Ingredients were not touched on at all during my 2 1/2 years in Cosmetology school.
6. Not adding or sealing moistureNatural hair is by nature, dry, but I just assumed that’s the way it was supposed to be. I thought all brown people had dry hair and it would remain that way unless you added some time of oil to it. Not natural oils, but more precisely silicone laced serums, which leads me to my next mistake.
7. I thought having natural hair meant automatic growth. I didn’t realize that the key to growth and retention was moisture. No moisture = dry hair = breakage = no retention. Simple right? Not to someone who has not researched and paid attention to their hair.
What’s that old saying? If I knew then what I know now….man, I hate that it took me so long to become aware of what was going on with my hair but I am so grateful to know it now. I don’t know everything, no one does, but I think I’m going in the right direction.
What mistakes can you add to this list?