I recently wrote about my 2 year natural mark and how I was feeling disappointed with where I’m at. I really appreciated the positive and warm responses I received from you. That post was so freeing to write and almost felt like a therapy session where at the end of it, I felt so relieved to have said how I’ve really been feeling. Many of you encouraged me to do what’s best for me. The truth is, I don’t know what that is! So I decided to investigate my real issues..
I recently read this article on Curly Nikki: Your Hair Doesn’t Have to be an All Day Event! The author gives tips on how to shorten the time you can spend on your hair. She explains that
while some natural women flaunt about how long it takes them to detangle
and wash their hair, others are very frustrated with how much time it
takes them to maintain their hair.
- Issue # 1: Time – The above mentioned article claimed it’s not rocket science; cut out what steps you don’t need to free up some more time for yourself. While I understand what she’s trying to say, it’s not as easy for me with the resistant hair that I have to follow all of her (and the other readers’) suggestions. For example, one suggestion is to not re-twist your hair every night and wear it in a pineapple way (gathering your hair at the top and wrapping it). Firstly, my hair doesn’t ‘gather’, it’s not limp enough to do that. My hair stands up so its interpretation of pineappling is to sort of get fluffed at the top and tie my scarf around the sides and back, leaving the top bit out. Thing is if I do that, I wake up the next morning with a 1990’s Fresh Prince type style and knots for days. No joke. And I always curse myself for putting myself and Fro in such a situation, especially on wash day where it’ll end up taking me twice as long to detangle. So, that’s out.
I’m sensing that for my hair to get to the next level, I’m going to have to put more time and work into it. Time that I don’t really have now that my personal life is so hectic. That’s why I’ve been flirting with the idea of cutting my hair. Thing is, I can’t imagine not having the option to do many different styles on my hair, it’s foreign to me. I know that hair grows, so if I change my mind, I can always leave it be to grow. The question is, how do I grow it past this stage? Is it as simple as minimising my manipulation and keeping my hair in protective styles with my own hair or just braid/weave it with realistic breaks in between?
- Issue # 2: Styles – the longer my hair, the more styles I can rock and I’m not ready to give that up yet. I’ve always loved changing up my hair, even when I was still relaxed and
weaving my hair. Rocking the same style for more than a week would kill
me and that hasn’t changed now that I’m natural. Sometimes I’m too busy or tired to style my hair in the morning so I grab my beanie or scarf and call it a day. Other times I want to show off what I can do with my hair and length has given me versatility for that.
- Issue # 3: Money – I don’t like spending a lot of money on my hair. Everyone has their ceilings and well, mine’s quite low. If I can have a friend hook me up with braids over me going to the salon, then I’d do that. I realised the other day I actually don’t trust people in salons. It’s not fair of me but I automatically assume they have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to handling Fro. And when a stylist comes at me with the tiniest fine toothed comb as soon as I sit down, I’m proven right.
And the last issue is one I have with protective styles. The same article and thousands of other bloggers and vloggers swear by
installing twists on their own hair and rocking them for a whole two or
more weeks before undoing them. My twists start to look ratty by day 4. I know they’re great and do wonders for your hair and keeping it moisturised and out of the way but I’ve been wondering, what’s the point of having a natural fro if you only wear it out every once in awhile? If you’re always hiding it? I love my fro and I always want to wear it out and about. I got away with it last winter but now my hair’s longer, it gets drier much quicker if I do a free fro style. My hair’s just not feeling this winter. Hmppf.
So I guess to summarise, my main issue is deciding on whether to grow my hair longer or to cut it shorter to a lower maintenance style until my life gets more stable (lol…does that ever happen?).
The jury’s out. Let me mull over it.
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This blog entry is very amazing. Beautiful looks for black girls hair style! Great pictures as we'll! I think it is one if my favorite.We were meant to believe that African kinky hair does not grow long. And we were not wrong in our beliefs because indeed, it never seemed to grow long. I remember as a young girl, if one had hair down to her shoulders, we all saw her as the one with long hair. Thanks all!!
Babe. I think u shud leave ur length as it is. As u said wen does life ever get stable. I think u shud find a regimen that works for ur hair totally cus if u cut it off it'll grow back and ull be back where u started hun. So just find a way to deal with it :). Love ur blog
I guess it just goes to whether you are prepared for each haircut. I mean when you decide whatever hairstyle you want, think the pros and cons of it. Like when you cut your hair short, you will enjoy the wash-and-wear of it but then you cannot apply lots of styles to it, there are a lot in youtube, but time is but a problem. Anyways, any haircut we may opt, just be sure you really want it and may I advise to go to a stylist whom you already know and have trusted for a long while. Great site!
as you try to figure out what to do here is a suggestion: wig it. back in the day i would never have imagined rocking a wig! after opening up to the idea, i got one that i was comfortable in, best decision ever, why: 1. my hair is protected underneath in a simple style (cornrows, braids, twists) i prefer braids as they are easy to do/undo plus my hair retains moisture easily in them 2. i can still care for my hair, i wash and DC every 2 weeks, spritz and oil whenever i need to. 3. no redoing hair in the evening after work, just chuck the wig, tie my scarf and sleep. 4.i can still wear my hair out during the week if i miss it, say Friday, weekends or for a whole week. 5. no need to go to a salon, i have a salon phobia since going natural 5. wigs are versatile you can change up your looks. 6. you and your hair will be happy with the simple regimen. i have retained length better since i started wigging it.
i too don't trust salonists since going natural so i steer clear.
wig it! back in the days i would never have pictured myself using a wig. After investing in a good wig, my hair and i are much happier, stress free and i have retained more length. pros of a wig: you can take it off at night, your hair is protected underneath (cornrows, braids, twists,i prefer braids as they are easy to do), you can still care for your hair (i wash mine every 2 weeks, spritz and oil on some days in the evening), you can show off your hair when you feel like e.g Friday,weekends.
Having shorter hair really helps cut down time spent on ones hair. but then that means we can't look forward to the many creative styles you've shared with us. I think time spent on one's hair can be greatly reduced. I find that i've reduced the time I spend on my hair the longer it gets. tips such as wash and styling in sections, cutting out excessive steps such as prepoo-DC-detangling-shampoo-condition-then style is just excessive and unnecessary.
I hope you don't cut your hair! because i think we are hair twins, and I wouldn't want to lose my twin 🙁
I completely understand this feeling! It gets to a point where all the excitement of being a newbie natural is gone, length retention is not what you expect it to be, and the whole process of taking care of your hair is just complicated. When I get to that point I always braid my hair for 6-8 weeks; it gives both me and my hair breathing space. I also always try to remind myself that hair is just hair and eventually it will grow: if I were left alone in a forest with no shampoos, conditioners, oils, detangling combs, etc, a year later my hair would still be longer. Lastly, as ironic as this is, take a break from reading natural hair blogs. Obviously they're great and are a source of awesome tips and ideas, but it gets to a point where you seem to be bombarded with stories/pictures of people with glorious hair that's doing everything yours isn't and it just increases the frustration. Good luck with whatever you decide to do and thanks for sharing this; there should be more stories on this aspect of being natural!
There are some things I dont do as a natural I just refuse to do, life is too short. I dont deep condition, dont twist at night, dont shampoo because I dont use silicone based products, dont clarify shampoo, I dont base my scalp either it just causes it to itch.
Get out of your head that you have resistant hair. Sounds like you always fighting it. Seriously. Its just kinky. Try not manipulate your hair so much. Try low manipulation styles that arent so heavy handed.
As your hair grows longer you only have to really wash it once a month. Also you can try add low heat to keep set styles for longer.
I can soooo relate to this! I go through this on a regular basis. The longer my hair gets the more work it is to detangle, wash, DC, and so on… I don't have the patience or time to take 3-5 hours to do my hair once a week. Lately this has resulted in me doing a lot of wash n go's, but come wash day I'm faced with a tangled up mess. If you have the opportunity could you maybe plan in so you install a protective style for periods during your life when you know when you'll be extra busy. I'm trying to think of that too.
Another thing I thought of 'cause of the length of your hair you could do cornrows or flat twists on the sides fohawk style, then you would only have to twist the loose hair, maybe that would save you some time. Or, you cut your hair in a style that is a little Fresh Prince style, lol! No, but seriously, do you know Faintly Masculine (she's on Tumblr and IG)? She has a cute cut, short on the sides, longer on top. My friend has the same kind of cut, she just went to a good barber with a picture.
Either way, there's nothing wrong with BCing, it's just hair, it grows out again ma 😉
This blog entry is very interesting, as I am two months natural and currently wearing a twa. Lately, I have been torn on if growing my natural hair is something I really want to do. When I was relaxed, I wore a pixe cut and short cuts all the time. Although I do want to grow my hair to a point where I can explore diffent styles, I'm not sure if length is priority over health. Reading your blog has given me more things to consider with the future of my curly fro, especially considering that my hair is very curly and thick. I look forward to seeing what you decide to do.
lol at the fresh prince type style! My frustration is with slow growth or poor length retention. just yesterday i met n African American girl who's about to end her second year of being natural and she' approaching bra strap length! bra strap length!!! When we discussed her hair care routine I discovered she does less than me! So here i am doing the most and I dont have much to show for it :/
Ah, my sister, I know exactly what you mean. I have done a cute short cut for a while and enjoyed the free flow especially on wash days but yes at some point you do miss the versatility that comes with longer natural tresses. All the best deciding! I've got similar hair (grew it back, by the way) and when you can't find the right assistance by way of a salon coupled with a busy schedule it can seem daunting but hey, do you and fro oh and pray on it:-)!