10 Natural Hair Challenges You Must Know
Natural hair challenges are very real and while the natural hair movement has gained a lot of traction over the past few years, often times we focus on the positives and don’t highlight the challenges equally. Don’t get me wrong I agree that wearing you hair natural can be liberating and empowering but there are challenges you will face when wearing your hair in it’s natural state that are often overlooked. Today I will air some of the natural hair challenges that I experienced since my big chop so that others who may be considering going natural can know what to expect before taking the plunge.
Here are my top ten natural hair challenges for 4C textures in no particular order:
- Single strand knots – No it’s not just you, these nasty knots occur to just about everyone with curly hair. They can cause a heck of a lot of set backs if not dealt with. Be sure to snip them out before they become a problem.
- Shrinkage – It’s just the nature of naturally coily hair….it shrinks! Be prepared for it! 6 inches of hair growth may only look like 1 or 2 inches in it’s shrunken state. Try to be patient and not get discouraged.
- Dryness – Maybe it’s just me but there are very few hair products that will keep my hair moisturized for more than a day. There’s only one product I have found so far that keeps my hair soft and moisturized for over a week!
- Time commitment – If your hair is not a wash-and-go texture and you want to wear neat professional styles, it will take time to twist, coil and braid your hair into your desired style. Plan for a couple hours each week at a minimum. I’ve spent entire days finger coiling my very thick hair, sometimes I have to span it over multiple days. This can be a deal breaker for some who do not care to devote their entire weekend to messing in their hair.
- Finding a competent stylist– Not every stylist who is skilled at cutting relaxed hair is equally skilled with natural hair. In addition, not every barber will give you a cut that has that feminine touch. I loved my TWA (after I got used to it), and that’s how I wanted to maintain it. Unfortunately I could not find a stylist or barber that could give me a consistent cut each time. Out of frustration I decided to grow out my hair 🙁
- The Adjustment Period – Not everyone loves their natural hair or big chop immediately. It can take time to get used to. Give yourself a couple weeks to adjust to your new look.
- Not being realistic about your texture – There are numerous YouTube videos out there with ladies who are able to slather on some gel and get the wildest curl patterns. This is not a guarantee for everyone. Be realistic about your hair texture and become educated about what is possible and what is not otherwise you will be very frustrated and miserable.
- Growth rate – Naturally coily hair will appear to take longer to grow. In reality it’s growing at the same rate as before but now because you are not stretching your hair with a relaxer for example, the shrinkage makes it appear shorter than it really is. Patience is key! When setting hair goals take the shrinkage into consideration. Maybe set 2 hair goals -one for when you hair is stretched and another for when it is shrunken.
- Wash days – Wash days become a production. If your hair is thick like mine, be prepared to wash your hair in sections or spend the greater part of an hour detangling section by section. If you don’t have a relaxed curl pattern, leaving your hair open to air dry is probably not a good idea as you will need to re-detangle once it is dry.
- Tried and trusted products become useless – Whatever you thought you knew about your hair before it was natural – FORGET it! Products that worked beautifully before the big chop you may find no longer work for your hair. This is normal. Going natural requires you to re-learn your hair and the products that can work for you. Depending on how many products no longer work you may have to dig into your pocketbook to find different products that work better for you.
So there you have it, 10 of the most prominent natural hair challenges I have faced. What challenges have you faced since going natural?