I recently had this conversation for the fifth or so time this year so I thought I’d give my two cents about it. The other day, one of my colleagues and friend from work came up to me at lunch and told me he finally read some of my blog posts and was so interested in the content. He said he hadn’t realised that there was so much debate around hair. And that sparked off another debate on the lunch table.
Upfront: I don’t believe that natural hair is harder to manage than relaxed hair. But hang on Aisha, haven’t you spent the past almost four years trying to figure out how to? Yes, but that doesn’t mean that I think it’s harder. My thoughts are that whenever I hear someone say this, it’s because most of us are used to having relaxed hair. Anything we’re used to is automatically easier right? It’s different but I wouldn’t say it’s harder. So when going natural, we have to press the reset button and get used to our natural hair. Doing something completely different to your norm gives the impression that it’s more difficult.
Plus, there are several ways of managing natural hair – one is better than the next woman’s method for her own hair. It’s hard if you haven’t figured it out and if you’re still fighting – eg. insisting on combing your hair dry when your hair clearly doesn’t like it. Sleeping without any braids, twists and scarf so that your hair’s not matted in the morning. The list goes on. Constantly fighting with your hair will make the journey much harder.
Relaxed hair also needs managing by the way. To have a healthy head of hair whether relaxed or not needs managing. I think many think relaxed hair is also easier but in fact, many aren’t taking care of it. Think about it. When relaxed (and not just slap on the relaxer every 2 months and ignore it in between), but healthy relaxed – you also need to deep condition your hair, be careful of the products you apply to it, avoid or reduce heat use, go to get a touch up every 6 – 8 weeks, go for treatment etc. etc. etc. So again, not harder. Just different. And I don’t think going natural is for everyone. Because sometimes women go natural and think they need to do the same things and apply the same techniques and practices as when they had relaxed hair when in fact it’s a different beast and they aren’t prepared for that or willing to make the necessary changes. Different. And sometimes your mentality hasn’t done the 180 to catch up with your hair’s 180. Four years on, I think I’m getting there.
What do you think? Is natural hair harder to manage?