If you’re like me, your relationship with your natural hair is a little…complicated. You definitely love your hair and you wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but sometimes it can feel more like a wild, untamable beast rather than an asset to your beauty. Below are some tips to help you fall more in love with your hair as we’ve tackled six natural hair woes that make having natural hair difficult.
1. Hair Envy
I’ll be the first to say I’ve had the thought, “I wish I had her hair!” while scrolling through pictures of gloriously long, thick and luscious natural locks on Instagram. Even though it’s completely normal (and even expected) to envy other women’s natural hair, hair envy can definitely get out of hand and cause undue frustration—especially when you start trying to make your hair do something it’s not supposed to do.
What to Do About It: If you wish your hair was thicker or longer, use afro-textured extensions to achieve the look you were going for. Otherwise, accept your hair for what it is and begin to truly appreciate it. Remember the length of your hair isn’t the priority—healthy hair is the true goal.
2. Single-Stranded Knots
Single stranded knots are basically a rite-of-passage when it comes to natural hair. They’re just simply unavoidable. Unfortunately, they put length retention at serious risk if not handled properly, because single stranded knots can lead to hair breakage.
What To Do About It: The best way to reduce the amount of single stranded knots is to keep the hair stretched. Aside from that, make sure to keep the ends of your hair healthy and to trim your hair often to get rid of the knots. Lastly, keep the ends of your hair moisturized and sealed using the LOC method and make sure to keep your hair in protective styles that keep your ends tucked away.
Thanks to the coily nature of natural hair, breakage is another inevitable fact. However, excessive breakage is not normal, so if you’re constantly losing large chunks of hair, it might be time to visit your doctor and see if there may be a hormonal imbalance. Otherwise, breakage is usually a sign that we’re doing something that our hair does not agree with. Whether it’s a type of style or the overuse of product, breakage can often be traced back to our mistreatment of the hair.
What To Do About It: Don’t manipulate your hair every day and use protective styles often. Be sure that the protective styles you choose don’t cause harm to the hair with excessive tension and pulling. Likewise, make sure to keep your hair moisturized and to handle it gently with care. Use proper natural hair detangling tools such as a wide-toothed comb. If the breakage continues, make sure to see a dermatologist or endocrinologist to tackle whatever health issues may be causing it.
4. Dull, dry hair
Natural hair is gorgeous and unique—it literally grows toward the sun. Unfortunately, it can be tough to deal with 4B and 4C hair that is prone to dryness.
What To Do About It: If your hair is dull and dry, switch out your regular shampoo for a sulfate-free shampoo. Although sulfates clean the hair well, they often strip the hair of its natural oils. Also ensure that you’re washing your hair with slightly warm water, not hot water, which can dry out your hair. You may also need to cut down your use of chemical treatments or styling products, and amp up your moisturizing routine according to the climate that you live in. During winter time it’s tougher to keep your hair moisturized but investing in a good deep conditioner, some coconut oil and shea butter will keep your locks healthy.
If your hair is constantly dry despite regular moisturizing and the use of sulfate-free shampoos, your diet may be the culprit. It’s important eat increase your intake of foods that are rich in vitamins that promote hair health. Liver, egg yolk, cranberries and many types of fish are rich in biotin and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which promote the hydration of your hair and scalp.
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."