Two years ago in August I shaved all my hair off and went natural. I wanted to be bald for a long time but I never did because I was in high school at the time and my fragile confidence was still wrapped around my stringy ass relaxed hair that refused to retain its length for so many years.
Shaving my hair off was one of the most freeing things I'd ever done. I didn't need anyone's permission or consent, I didn't think twice about it. I felt so good after all that damaged transitioning hair was gone. I looked like an ethereal Goober.
Then after a few months my hair started to grow and low and behold, I had curls! I had literally never seen my natural curl pattern because since I was young it was either twisted/braided up or it was relaxed. But, the bigger the fro got, the mo' problems I had and I was NOT prepared to deal with them. I couldn't go to my mama cause she still insisted on using combs with little ass teeth to detangle my thick ass 4a hair, so of course I don't fully trust her.
I took to the interwebs to learn a thing or two about my hair and ended up being even more confused. There's so much opposing advice when it comes to natural hair and it drives me crazy, what's even worse is that a lot of the advice is based off of trends which is really stupid. like how everybody was hype as shit about coconut oil then a few months later one person realizes it makes their hair dry and then EEEVERYONE else is on youtube and the blogs talking about how much they hate coconut oil for their hair. Or how one person says to keep your hair twisted/braided at night then 2 seconds later they're saying not to style your hair everyday because low manipulation. I cannot.
I've learned not to take ANYONE'S word for gospel when it comes to my hair because everyone's hair is different. One person's hair regimen consisting of shampoo and Blue Magic may not work for you, and that's okay. That is okay my child. Because of all this mess I've stayed far away from the natural hair community because it's laced with people following trends, spreading misinformation that will literally fuck up your hair, as well as so much internalized antiblackness and texturism that needs a post all on its own.
After discovering all of this, I still am lost. And frustrated as fuck at all of the trials and tribulations I've gone through and still go through with my hair. Some days I think about perming it or purposefully heat damaging it, or "training" as y'all like to say, so that I don't have to deal with these naps. I am so sick of seeing balls of hair in the sink every time I detangle and comb my hair, like all my life I really had to fight. This shit is wild.
Why the fuck didn't anybody tell me my hair would shed like crazy and that there was gonna be hair all over the sink EVERY time I do my hair? I honestly do my best to keep it tangle free but even when I do there's still hella strands everywhere and I'm just left standing in my bathroom staring at floor with gel-covered fingers like:
I could be so nice and so delicate and so consistent with my hair and there will still be hair everywhere. Am I slowly going bald or something? I know I'm not the only one who goes through this. Do I need to trim my hair? If so how the fuck do I do that? I ain't going to no hair salon, I may be poor but I'm a grown ass woman who needs to learn how to do this on her own. Why the fuck y'all ain't ever tell me how to trim a twa or how to care for short hair on a nightly basis. You lot are useless!
Oh and the fucking single strand knots! Why didn't you niggas warn me! Oh my goodness. Every time I take my braids out and detangle my hair it's just single strand knots galore. It's unfathomable. At this point I'm about to start snipping those strands cause it's unacceptable. Detangling my hair is always a god damn struggle because of these and I'm also pretty sure this is why I get so much breakage and why my hair is having trouble retaining its length. Y'all did not warn a nigga.
I think the worst part of going natural is the mental breakdowns you have, especially if you're type 4. I don't care what anyone says, going natural is a lifestyle. A whole ass lifestyle. You are not going to sit here and lie to my face and tell me that it's not. You are not going to tell me that it's not something that requires lots of time, patience, and willpower. You are not going to sit here and lie to me and try to tell me that taking care of type 4 hair is the same as taking care of relaxed hair or any other hair type. It is NOT.
It it is hard work that tests my patience every time I pick up a comb. I have a very high shrinkage rate and high porosity hair, so my shit is always tangled and dry. It's a recipe for disaster. Ain't no way in hell you gonna sit here and tell me it ain't no different than maintaining some type 3 hair because it most definitely is. And until I perfect my routine? It's gonna stay that way, and even then it still won't be easier than having loose hair. A lot of delicateness and patience is required with type 4 hair more than aaaanything else. Feel free to fight me.
I no longer scold people who say natural hair isn't for them because I get it . Everyone's hair is different, whatever regime you have going for you may not work for the next person. I personally need to keep my hair stretched to reduce tangling and my uneven ass shrinkage, which will also reduce breakage. Speaking of, y'all also didn't tell me how ugly shrinkage be. I be out here looking like Orlando Jones when I get out the shower. Godspeed.
But anyway back to what I was saying, when it comes to actually finding a routine that works for you and benefits your hair? That shit can take a while. It can take a lot of time and a lot of MONEY. Haircare for me isn't like skincare; I want to find what products work for me and stick to it. I don't have fun experimenting with hair products because I hate doing my hair. And that's just tea.
Y'all really be on on twitter trying to drag people when they say they couldn't handle being natural and I don't get it because I KNOW y'all remember having that mental breakdown in the bathroom where you broke the comb in half and almost broke out the Just For Me kit cause ya Bantu knots didn't turn out right. I know you remember, don't front for the girls. We already know.
Not only did my perpetually tangled and dry ass hair almost take me outta the game but girl. The awkward stage is no joke. Again, I be looking like Orlando Jones unless my hair is stretched to the max. You can call it self-hate or whatever all you want but I refuse to wear my natural hair out without stretching it. At least at this length, both for aesthetic and health reasons because tangled, shrunken hair = breakage. Breakage is not cute and it is not a part of my brand. This august will be my 2nd year natural and I still don't know what the fuck I'm doing so keep me in your prayers.