I have dry hair. What can I do?
Dry hair can have many causes. The first thing to consider is the quality of your water. Many areas have high concentrations of copper and calcuim in the water. In other words, the water is mineralized or "hard". These minerals coat your hair, making it feel rough and dry. No matter how much conditioner you use, it won't make a difference. I suggest you use a clarifying shampoo and install a water filter in your shower or sink, wherever you wash your hair. Then go from there. Other causes are harsh shampoos, too-frequent shampooing and not drinking enough water. Read our Hair Care section for more ideas, and search the forums for member suggestions.
What does "transition" mean?
Transition is the period of transition from the time you decide to stop relaxing your hair, to having 100% napptural hair.
What is a TWA?
TWA stands for Teeny Weeny Afro and is the first stage after a big chop when you have less than 2 inches of hair after the Big Chop.
What is a Big Chop?
When you decide to cut your relaxed hair off and go natural not too long after your last relaxer.
What is a BAA?
BAA stands for Big Azz Afro
What is "Napptural"?
Napptural means you have 100% unrelaxed or unstraightened hair and wear it out with pride and without extensions.
What does it mean to "stretch" the hair?
When you have wet hair and use a method such as wrapping to stretch the hair out so it dries with more length.
What is a "no poo" ?
It stands for the "no shampoo method" of haircare which means that when you wash your hair you don't use shampoo to wash, but use conditioner instead- sometimes enriched with baking soda or lemon. This method is popular with natural hair, because traditional shampoos, especially those containing sulfates, will dry out afro-type hair badly.
My hairdresser told me natural hair doesn't grow. Is that true?
No. Hair grows, regardless of whether you are natural or not. The speed of growth is partially determined by genetics and partially by health. How well you care for your hair will determine how much length you retain.
What is "shrinkage" ?
It's the amount of coil your hair has which causes it to shrink up when it's dry.
Is protein bad for napptural hair?
It can be. It all depends on the condition of your hair. Too much protein in your hair products can cause your hair to become brittle. I generally do not recommend the use of protein shampoos on naturally kinky hair.
Can I reverse my permanent relaxer and have natural hair?
No, you can't. A chemical relaxer is a permanent process and you will have to cut the relaxed hair off. Don't listen to any other opinions on this matter. There is no way to reverse a relaxer. And there will never be. Ever.
Will my hairline grow back?
It depends on the extent of the chemical damage. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't. Often it can take years. There are ways to encourage growth, or stop breakage in this delicate area such as jojoba oil massages and NOT using any heat.
If I have a texturizer, am I still natural?
No. A texturizer is a weak chemical relaxer.
Is there such thing as a natural permanent relaxer?
The very nature of a permanent hair relaxer is to change the chemical bonds in the hair to make it straight. Some parts of the chemicals they use in these "natural relaxers" contain things like "calcium" which is naturally occuring in nature. That's why they call these things "natural". In fact there is nothing natural about them. The word "natural" does not mean it is not just as dangerous to your hair and skin as is a traditional chemical relaxer.
Can split ends be repaired?
No. Hair that has split cannot fuse together again. Similar to a fingernail, if it splits, it cannot grow back together. Split ends must be cut off. Some shampoos claim to minimize the appearance of split ends, but I have yet to see this work.
I burned my hair when using a hot comb, now it won't revert. What can I do?
It depends on how badly your hair is damaged. If the hot comb was too hot, your hair is permanently burned and will never regain its elasticity. Sometimes if the heat wasn't too high, a few washes will bring back some elasticity, but your hair will probably still be prone to breakage. Try using an intensive hair repair treatment and do not use heat again.
To grease or not to grease?
NOT. Grease is a petroleum based product which may create the illusion of shiny hair but all it is doing is coating the hair and keeping moisture out. Many of the dandruff problems experienced can be attributed to the use of these products on the scalp, where it prevents the skin from breathing, leading to an over supply of sebum. Instead of grease, try some of the great natural products out there. Jojoba oil is a wonderful alternative, and it helps to balance the scalp. But use sparingly!
What does Apple Cider Vinegar do for the hair?
Used diluted as a final rinse. The outside of the hair (cuticle) is like the scales of a fish. This accounts for the rough feeling when you rub your fingers up a strand of hair, or "against the grain". ACV acts on the cutilcle of the hair, closing it and making the hair smooth and imparting sheen. Cold water does the same thing, but to a lesser extent. ACV is also effective against the "itchies".
Since I've been natural my scalp has been really sore and aching. Why?
There are many schools of thought on this. It happened to me when I went natural. The pain was so bad at one stage I couldn't sleep and had to take paracetamol, which didn't help much. My scalp got very, very sore for about a month. I can't prove any of this but I put it down to my damaged follicles "waking up" because the areas that hurt the most were the areas where I experienced thinning and baldness more than anywhere else. Once my hair was about an inch long in those places, the pain stopped. But it would still come and go for about a year into my naturalness. Hang in there!
This section is a constant work in progess as new terms are added all the time. The answers here are from my personal experience and are offered as personal, not professional advice.
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This document was last updated on August 26, 2012
My name is Patricia Gaines, otherwise known on Nappturality.com as "Deecoily". People have asked me how I came to create Nappturality, how it has changed over the years and what my vision is for Natural Hair today. So, I'm happy to bring all of you up to date on what "NP" is and what I hope to achieve by bringing our hair issues to light.
Back in early 2001, when I first stopped relaxing my hair it wasn't done out of some sudden sense of pride and desire to go natural. It was done because I had a "chemical crew cut". A relaxer had broken my hair off. As a person who revelled in having long, straight hair (my own) I was devastated. Unable to wear my hair short, I first went to wigs, then extensions and weave, in an attempt to preserve what I thought made me beautiful.
About 6 months into my "transition" - though I didn't know what it was - I began to question my hair - and myself. Having worked in corporate banking and finance before moving into the film and music industries, I remembered the pressure I had been under to maintain my hair in a *certain* way when employed by a Fortune 100 company.
It wasn't so much an obvious RULE that said I had to straighten it, but no where around me, not a single Black woman had her hair in any style other than relaxed or straightened. There were no natural styles anywhere to be seen in the corporate environment. Not so much as a hint of new growth.
Why could other races wear their hair the way it grew out of their heads and we couldn't?
Why the double standard for us?
What was wrong with my natural hair?
What was that feeling when the new growth appeared? It was inferiority.
When I realized that and faced it, it was like someone dropped a rock on my head and I knew it was the awful truth. So I dealt with it. As my hair grew, so did my determination NOT to EVER straighten it again. I kept it in braids and eventually locked and unlocked.
While on hiatus due to an injury in late 2001, I found myself with some time on my hands and used it to venture onto the Internet to look for support in maintaining my shoulder length nappy, thick, dense MOP. Yes MOP. I had no idea what to do with it. I hadn't seen it since I was in primary school and didn't know how to comb it, brush it or style it.
I found a few scattered websites here and there. Some dedicated to hair, some dedicated to race. Many talked about pride in their natural kinks and curls but ALL talked about straightening and relaxing and were loaded with photos of relaxed hair styles.
A group of us *nappyheads* began coalescing around a single theme: We loved our "nappy" hair and we did not want to talk about straightening it. We want to talk about working WITH our texture and not AGAINST it. There were about 20 of us in that early group and we were all searching for the same thing. A place where we could get together and share pictures, style ideas and products. Compare styling techniques and show mutual love and support for our decision to wear our hair natural and be proud and nappy.
I was sitting on my couch one night in March 2002, still frustrated about having to wade through discussions about straightening and how "I hate my nappy hair please help me fix it" topics when three words popped into my head:
And that night NAPPTURALITY was born.
Launched on April 20, 2002 we started out as a single web page portal of links to our web albums. Then moved on to a few pages of informational articles. Soon after, we formed a Yahoo! group (still in existence though only for historical reasons) but it didn't have enough features. We created our own discussion board and grew from there to the incredible community we are today.
Not only are there boards for hair, but we have Parenting areas, Weight Loss & Fitness, Political, Cultural, Religious, Philosophy, Entertainment and more. Nappturality is not just about your hair anymore, it's about living the best, and healthiest lifestyle you are able. Your hair is a reflection of your health and what you put into your body, so Nappturality has grown to embrace more than just your hair.
Nappturality has ebbed and flowed with the times over the last 7 years but I have never lost sight of the original reason behind creating this haven. I have become more aware of the dangers of the chemicals in relaxing as well as the ones in our cosmetics and soaps. I have become more physically fit and lead a very active lifestyle which all contributes to good health and beautiful hair. I have learned so much from the women here and continue to be inspired every day by what I read on the forums.
So, after all that - what's NP for?
It is for those of us who are napptural, or thinking about going napptural.
It is a place for support and friendship.
It is a place for learning and growth.
It is a place for sisterhood (and brotherhood).
So here we are 10 years later! Nappturality is still owned and operated by me and volunteers who help out on the forums and behind the scenes. There are no corporate interests or benefactors. It is 100% funded by me with help from advertisements, donations and subscriptions from members.
I thank this community of fierceness and fire, support and love, for helping me and others over the years and who continue to help me bring the Nappturality feeling to others. With your support, I hope to be here for a long time to come.
Lavender is A Natural’s Best Friend. If I had to choose one herbal oil or infusion for my hair routine, it would be lavender.
If you are lucky enough to have lavender growing in a pot or in your garden, you are already familiar with the wonderful, fresh, clean aroma its leaves and flowers give to your skin after you handle it. But are you aware of its healing properties and the benefits it brings to both your hair and skin?
What is it you say? Hairtyping is a trap? But I need to know what “type” my hair is so I can find the right products for me, right? Well, yes and no and how far are you going to push it? Hairtyping although good as a general guide, thick, thin, dense, sparse... can quickly become a crutch.You can analyse every strand on your head and check for a curl. Then you can scour Andre’s system and hope you qualify to be a Type 3 and if not, buy hundreds of $$ worth of product seeking that elusive “curl definition”. You will start comparing your hair to the hair of others and yours will not be as “good a grade” as who you are comparing to, but a “better grade” than that of others.