I never would have guessed that a guy would ask me advice about natural hair. But he did and he did bluntly…so bluntly, I decided to take him seriously and actually consider providing him with advice from my experience with being three and a half years natural. “She is too lazy to style her hair.” He exclaimed to me. At that point I knew what I was going up against because I am lazy with my hair as well. “It’s dry and her fro has no shape. No Shape at all. I’m about to shoot a perm bullet at her hair.” Now that was extreme. At that point he started threatening ME with the perm bullet and from that moment on, I knew that he was determined about fixing his wife’s hair.
During my interaction with my guy friend and another friend of ours, we concluded that we would find a protective style for his wife to wear until she gets accustomed to taking care of her hair and achieving some length. I know this is a way to cut corners until her actual hair is out again, but it is a start and it is a start that compelled me to write this today.
As newly natural women, a lot of us do not know how to take care of our hair in its natural state. Sometimes, when we were relaxed, we did not do a thing to our hair and expect it to be the same once we big chop and embrace our natural hair. Some people say that having natural hair is too much work and they believe that it’s easier to relax their hair, stating that they spend less time over all with relaxed hair instead of natural hair.
I have to disagree and state that I spend less time working with my natural hair than I did when my hair was relaxed. But, I am what you would call the lazy natural… Let me explain why I say this: I (on average) less than 10 minutes a day on my hair. Some days I spend less than 5 minutes a day on my hair. My hair is considerably healthy and I have been able to retain a significant amount of length during my three and a half-year natural hair journey. When I spend time actually styling my hair, my hair is always desirable (well to me at least) and I only frequent a salon when I feel like it or when I need professional services done such as the highlights that I have right now.
I told my friend that I was a lazy natural and that his wife only needs a few minutes a day to make sure that her hair is healthier. With a little more thickness and a lot more moisture, her hair will turn into the fro that he described that he wanted…full and striking. I told him that during my journey and my years of interactions with other naturals who have decided to big chop and sport the TWA, I was able to note a few things:
- Think of your hair as a plant.
Your hair needs nourishment daily to thrive and grow. Water it, make sure that the water is sealed into the soil and give the plant time to rest so it can grow while you are maintaining it.
In natural hair terms, I suggest that you wash and condition your hair at least once a week and purchase a spray bottle for water or leave in conditioner. Spray your hair every evening before bed. After spraying, use an oil (such as olive or castor oil) to seal moisture in your hair. Take a little bit of cream based product such as Cantu Shea butter and apply afterward. Walk around…get the baby ready for bed. Read a little social media… and right before lying down, apply your satin bonnet. Make sure that your hair is getting moisture and retaining moisture. Just doing that alone only took maybe 5 minutes of you evening and you are nurturing your hair to get to a better state.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Even though you have a TWA, make lengths to experiment with that short style. If you are embarking on a ‘long hair don’t care’ journey alongside your natural hair journey, then the short stage is the easiest and less laboring part of your journey. Enjoy having short hair. Take an evening and depending on the length of your hair, seal in some moisture and make you some two strand twists. Go to a barber and taper your sides. Experiment with headwraps, hats, and hair accessories. Do something to accentuate your short hair while taking care of it at the same time. When I was in my TWA days, I would two strand twist my hair and because they were so short, I would take small bobby pins and pin them to my scalp. They looked amazing and people had no idea about what I did to create that style. Also, twist styles would last a week for me. So think about it: take 20 minutes on a Sunday evening to twist your hair down, tie it up for bed every night and you can wear that style for at least a week before having to do anything to your hair again.
- Protective styling is not evil!!!
I’ve read tons of blogs and watched tons of YouTube Vlogs stating that you do not have to protective style to grow out your natural hair. All I can comment to that is, protective styling works for me…and works quite well. Despite the battle between to protective style or not to protective style, I can say that protective styling is the best remedy for the lazy natural. If you choose a protective style, deep condition and moisturize before applying and make sure it’s a style you like. Depending on the style, sometimes you can get a month or two in that look before having to take it out. That means that you do not have to do much to your natural hair while wearing the protective style and your hair is in rest mode and will retain a lot more length than if you were rustling it up every day. Of course, you still have to moisturize during your time in a protective style, (see the first point made about moisture) but that does not take much time at all and you can bask in being a lazy natuarlista while having a fly look at the same time.
- Take some time to take focus off of your hair:
Put on a funky fresh outfit. Wear some interesting earrings. Experiment in some cool makeup application. Take focus off of your hair while you are in the TWA stage or in the awkward stage of your hair journey. If you are on the ‘short hair don’t care’ journey, this is a way to feminize your look a little bit, add a little sexiness to your short cut and prove to the world that short hair is very becoming on a sista and we can run with the best of them. When my hair was short, I watched YouTube and learned how to effectively apply my makeup. I started wearing larger earrings that distracted from my hair. I basically trained myself for the person that I am today. It’s funny, but I always liked these things. I never thought that I would actually achieve them by having short hair as an excuse to get to that achievement.
- Be confident in your decision.
I know that initially, someone’s husband addressed this matter to me and I feel I know why. I think that we get so wrapped up in life, we forget about how we attracted the person who we are with in the first place. Even if you are a lazy natural, take some time to look at yourself and be happy with what you see. When you are confident in yourself, no matter how you look, there is something about you that is attractive and how you look on the outside does not dictate the attractiveness that you are exuding to everyone else. Confidence helps us to transition from total laziness, into nurturing and caring for our hair to get the look that we desire. Take a little time to love yourself, know that you are beautiful and your confidence will take you a long way during any journey that you may have in life—natural or not.
- Last but not least, don’t listen to the hype.
You made the decision to be natural for a reason. Blackonyx77 stated it best when she said, “you made the decision to embrace your natural beauty for the first time”. A lot of people do not believe in this and say you can do the same with any way that we decide to wear our hair. I think it’s different and it is contained in the core and perplexity of the whole natural hair movement in general. Black women have to deal with a lot of standards of beauty that were not created by us but are demanded of us in our European based society. The moment that we strip ourselves of the straight hair and return to our kinky state, we start to realize that our definition of beauty comes from who we are and only we should be the people who define how we desire to look. I am not throwing any shade on our relaxed sistas, because one in the same, we all have the same issues. If it’s not hair, it’s deepness of our complexion or our body types. We are made different because we are different. It’s time for us to start to define our own image of beauty and our kinky hair should be included in this definition that we are creating of black beauty. Natural Hair is a definition that we have continually added to our dictionary since the Black Power movement and hopefully it will stay planted into that dictionary in generations to come.
Some will argue that, relaxed hair is a whole lot easier to maintain than natural hair. I disagree again. When my hair was relaxed, I had to wash it, condition it, go to a salon and touch it up, go to a salon and get treatments to the chemical that was in my hair. I had to wrap it at night, curl it, and use a flat-iron to straighten my new growth. I put more time in my hair when I was relaxed than I do now. Today, I wash and condition my hair once a week, seal moisture in my hair every day and if my hair is in a protective style, I do nothing toward styling until it’s time to style my hair again. I go to the salon every now and then to cut my ends and to update my highlights. I keep it simple and keep moving. I do not allow hype or what others say dictate what I should do to my hair.
And in saying that, I can conclude with this: I am providing advice, but any decision that you make is up to you. Take time to make valid decisions depending on your life style, engage your partner in your decision and once you make that decision, put at least 5 minutes a day into your routine. This alone, will condition you to make more strides in the future to produce the hair that you both desire and maybe encourage others to do the same as well.
Of course an issue that was close to this one occurred on the Steve Harvey show and one of my favorite bloggers Nikki Walton provided her professional advice from the viewpoint of being a natural and the viewpoint of being a psychotherapist as well.
Until Next Time
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