You wait patiently as your stylist cuts your Brazilian sew-in into luxurious layers. You trust that she won’t make any mistakes on your $300 investment. You get excited as she puts the final touches on your style and spins the chair around so you can look into the mirror. At the first glance of your style, you feel fabulous, fierce, and unstoppable! Your style is just how you imagined and more. During that first experience, it’s likely that you became addicted to the “dragon”. In this context, the “dragon” refers to hair extensions or chemical straighteners. A protective style every once in a while doesn’t qualify as being addicted to the “dragon”. Being addicted to the “dragon” is when you get hair extensions so often, you forget how your natural hair texture looks or feels.
Although wearing natural hair has become more common nowadays, it can be extremely difficult to transition from getting hair extensions for years and years to embracing natural textures and curls. How many times have you taken your sew-in out and rushed to the salon to get another one put in? Maybe your natural hair doesn’t flow like your Brazilian bundles; maybe you struggle with frizz as soon as you step one foot out of the door; maybe you struggle with embracing your hair texture or length; or maybe you’re concerned about what others may think. Let’s look at how transitioning from wearing hair extensions and getting chemical straighteners to embracing natural hair can become a smoother process.
Natural hair is hair that hasn’t been altered by chemical straighteners. It can be difficult to embrace your natural curls when you were only a child when you started getting relaxers. You may be familiar with straight hair, or hair that has the body and bounce that relaxers give. Natural hair, however, is quite different from relaxed hair. Natural textures include wavy, curly, and kinky hair. Type 2 hair is wavy and the curl pattern forms the shape of the letter “S”. Type 3 hair is curly and the curls are well-defined and springy. Type 4 hair is kinky and the curls are tightly coiled. One of the strongest motivators for relaxing hair is needing assistance with manageability. The amount of hair maintenance varies depending on one’s hair type. But let’s be real, everyone wants healthy hair. Regardless of length or texture, healthy hair seems to be priority for most. Is it possible to achieve the healthy, flowy look without getting chemical straighteners or hair extensions? Most definitely! Is it a lot of work? Sure it is. There are some steps I’d recommend to help with unleashing your “dragon” and embracing your natural beauty. Not only will it save you lots of money, but you’ll develop a new perspective on natural hair.
- If you can afford bi-weekly appointments, find a stylist that specializes in natural hair. If you can’t afford to see a stylist regularly, don’t worry, you can develop a healthy hair regime and learn DIY steps to manage your mane.
- Let go of the relaxed ends! Ok, we all are guilty of holding onto those relaxed ends for dear life. Those ends that you are holding onto are slowing down the growth process. Let them go!
- Get a professional hair cut to shape and train your hair to grow evenly. Some people prefer doing a big chop to get it over with. Others prefer to transition the chemicals out of their hair by cutting a little at a time. Do whatever works for you.
- Keep your ends trimmed.
- Wash and deep condition your hair weekly or bi-weekly (depending on your hair type).
- If you use heat, be sure to use a good sealant (leave-in conditioner) and heat protector. Learn which products work best for your hair type, because the last thing you want is heavy, weighed down hair.
- Some people prefer protective styles to relieve some of the stress that heat and other tools may cause.
- Educate yourself on hair textures and products that work, as well as products that don’t work (Sulfate-free products are awesome on natural hair!).
- Don’t spend an arm and a leg on products that are marketed on television and in stores. Learn how to make your own products.
- Be patient with your hair. The “dragon” temptation will most definitely rise up again. Resist it. You can do it!
Frizz and Shrinkage
Healthy hair isn’t the concern for some people; frizz and shrinkage is. African American hair in particular is known for staying straight for a good 10 minutes after heat has been applied, then forming a big “poof” in hot or humid weather. This is when learning which products work best for your hair type will be most useful. According to www.blackgirllonghair.com , products that contain humectants such as glycerin and honey cause frizz in humid weather. These ingredients attract moisture to the hair which causes swelling and causes the hair to dry and frizz. Many virgin oils are known to reduce frizz such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, and olive oil. Shea butter and mango butter reduces frizz in hot and humid weather as well. You’ll find it helpful to test different products on your hair to see if they work or not.
Most people with natural hair can attest to the shrinkage struggle. Humidity is one cause of major shrinkage on natural hair. Shrinkage is when curl patterns shrink to tighter curls. Moisture causes curls to appear shorter. If you are battling with shrinkage, you can either embrace it or learn techniques that will retain length. Some length retention techniques include: dry detangling hair with oil, chunky twists to stretch hair, the banding method, and blowing out the hair.
Is Natural Hair for Me?
In the past, I was guilty of stating. “Natural hair isn’t for everybody.” Think about that statement and how often you may have heard it. Natural hair is for everybody who has hair! Sometimes we can become so addicted to the “dragon” and develop a habit of neglecting our natural hair. Your natural hair has the potential of looking just as luxurious as the Brazilian, Malaysian, Peruvian, or Indian bundles.
The first step I took to healthier hair was deciding that I was tired of the damage that came along with “creamy crack”. I took the transitioning route with protective styles. I also decided that I was tired of spending the ridiculous amount of money on hair extensions. Last but not least, I educated myself on natural hair and embraced the natural look. Granted, you’ll still have bad hair days, however, you’ll appreciate your good hair days more when you embrace your natural hair and unleash your dragon!
Roxy is known for her creative nature, unique laugh, and heart for helping others. Born and raised on the Westbank of New Orleans, Roxy developed a love for Cajun food and soulful music. Roxy is known for experimenting with different recipes in the kitchen and adding her own “twist” to dishes. Roxy attended the University of Louisiana at Monroe and has a BS in Business Administration and a MS in Child Psychology. She’s known for her teaching spirit and for being the “fun adult” that all kids love being around. Roxy enjoys drawing, painting, reading, writing, photography, health, and fitness. Stay connected with Roxy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @RoxyDionne!