Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Drop The Dryer: 5 Tips For Natural Hair

This week Nikita of My 12 Month Natural Hair Challenge reflects on her 3 years as a natural and the top 5 lessons she's learned:
Last Press & Curl (April 2012)
I have reached the 3 month mark of 12 month challenge! In addition, I am celebrating 3 years as a natural haired gal! I wanted to share some of my reflections after 3 years of the natural life because I think that they will be helpful to those of you who are starting and continuing the journey...

1. The Natural Hair Journey is not for the Faint of Heart:  This journey isn't easy. You don't just wake up in the morning, shake your head and go on with your day. Your hair is going to require care, nurturing and planning no matter your curl pattern. Even if you're getting steady press and curls, you are still wrapping your hair and avoiding rain showers like they're clouds of anthrax. Be ready to work, but know that there are rewards to reap. I love my hair!

2. The Natural Hair Journey is not for the Faint of Heart: You're thinking, "Nikita, you just typed this." I know what I typed, thank you lol. This has a bit of a different point. People may not support your decision. If you're lucky, you may just be met with indifference. If you aren't so lucky, you may get out right outrage. You're skin can't be mad of rice paper. This is YOUR journey. Own it and let the commentators fall by the wayside. 3 years later and there are still people with something negative to say. However, there are SO many more positive people (like you all :) out there. You have to keep your chin up and your hair moisturized!

3. Your Hair is not going to turn into Speed Racer (but if it does I am uber happy for you!):  Some people's hair grows faster than other people's and that's just the way it is. Just because your hair is natural does not mean it is going to turn into some kind of super human growing machine. Maybe there will be less breakage resulting in maintaining length or maybe there won't be, but I would say that the speed at which my hair grows hasn't really changed. I'm just not worried that I'm always one bad perm away from some intense breakage. I think I have maintained more length natural than I did with a relaxer, but I also have selective hair memory sometimes lol.

4. It's OK to Make Mistakes:  I've made plenty of hair mistakes! I used to wash 'n' go EVERYDAY. That's the worst idea ever (unless you're some kind of moisturizing Houdini)! But, I did it and I learned that it was a terrible regimen for my hair. Going really light on my highlights wasn't the best idea for my fine hair either and hey... now I know! It's alright to make mistakes just learn from them.

5. It's YOUR Hair and It's Unique:  Hair envy is real. It is so real. I have a list of natural hair I want to snatch off of people's heads for a hair graft I kid you not. Tracee Ellis Ross, Curly Nikki, and Naptural85 are on it as well as others, but the fact of the matter is that I was given the hair on my head by the good Lord so it's the hair I'm supposed to have. It's unique and just for me. The hair products that work on one 3c/4a might not work all that well for me and that's ok. Do not throw your comb at your laptop when you do one of Naptural85's styles and it doesn't look just like hers. Her hair is unique just like your own and you have to get to know it. What is the best shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, oil/sealant, and moisturizer for you hair? Don't know? Find out! This is an exploratory journey :)

My hopes are that you find these reflections even marginally helpful. These are the big 5 that stuck out in my mind when I think about the past 3 years. I will be giving my advice/reflections as a 3 month heat-free chick later next week on Drop the Dryer so fear not! Once again, thanks for joining me on this journey. 9 more months of fun to go!

What's the biggest lesson you've learned about your hair?

Have a story to share? Email us at DropTheDryer@gmail.com!
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  1. I just decided to go natural and I am 3 months post relaxer. This is the time I usually am making an appt for my next relaxer but instead I made an appt for a weave in order to help me through this transition. I love these tips and thank you


    1. Hey Jen! Love a good weave! I'm not even transitioning and I have one in. It's great to help with growth & length!

  2. Great tips. I have learned that my hair craves moisture and that water is actually good for it and probably the best thing of all is about co washing. It truly has transformed my hair.

    1. Co-washing is the TRUTH. Now I only shampoo twice a month, every other week I co-wash!

  3. Patience is virtue.

  4. I've learned that my hair, being fine is actually very versatile. When I was at BlogHer this past weekend I had done a wash and go. Day 1 is always a flat stringy looking something. By day 2 it starts exploding with volume and I can get day 6 hair.

    I said all that to say that I've learned that my hair can be deceptive and as long as I treat it well, it will treat me well. I've stopped looking at the natural hair of others and learned to embrace my own :-)

    By the way (for Christina): Your presentations at BlogHer were fabulous. Nice to connect with another brown skin blogger :-)

    1. So nice meeting you Michelle! And I'm glad you liked my presentations at BlogHer. I do appreciate it :)

  5. I've been natural for all 21 years of my life. Since I was a teenager though, I've been addicted to heat! I had tons of heat damage. I've just started learning ways to do my hair without either the flat iron or blow dryer and it's amazing. I usually rod-set, my hair comes out great :)