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  1. #1
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    Default Are we afraid to say it?

    That natural hair is/can be WORK or that it is not necessarily EASY to manage. I mean, I have read numerous posts since I have been on this board (2003) about how people are struggling with their hair, and it's often met with (cyber) tooth sucking, roll-eye smilies, or snide comments. The truth is, SOME of us DO struggle. Are we afraid to admit it? Is there something WRONG about that? I mean, if you spent the greater part of your like managing chemically treated hair and then you decided to "go natural" only to find that a majority of the tools, products, and routines that you were used to DON'T WORK, wouldn't that present SOME struggle? Does that mean you don't like your hair? Even if you LOVE your hair but you struggle to manage it, wouldn't it be a normal thing for you to have doubts about being natural? I have experienced all of the above, and I freely admit it. It doesn't matter who I'm talking to, I'm NOT afraid to be open and honest about what I go through with my hair. It is no deep dark secret that I STRUGGLE to manage my hair. However, these days, the things I go through are SOLELY due to the CHARACTERISTICS of my hair, NOT the texture. That was not always the case. I am currently surrounded by women who are white an have adopted black babies and we've had conversations about managing the hair of the children and I must say that I get pretty real with them. My recent conversation is what lead me to post this. I shared with one of the ladies about the things I use and what I had to go through to get my hair into the "cute style" (her words) that I was wearing. We talkied about breakage, moisture, products, etc. and what I could possibly do to help her daughter manage her hair better. I was amazed at how comfortable I was with being open about my struggles and what I do to manage my hair. However, there was this nagging feeling that I was "making my hair seem bad" or something. I know that I wasn't, but the truth is that I felt like I was betraying my hair type or something, as if I were supposed to keep my hair struggles a secret. All of that to say, do (you think) we sometimes try to minimize or downplay what we go through with our hair? Why or why not? Also, do you think that we can sometimes be hard on people who acknowledge such struggles, especially if that is not OUR experience? All opinions and trains of thought are welcome!
    Visit my blog: fragilehaircare-gilroygal.blogspot.com
    I share about my natural hair happenings, lessons, and experiences.

  2. #2
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    I'm tired and I hope my response makes sense.

    In short...I'm not afraid to be honest about my hair. Caring for (loose) natural hair isn't always easy. It's a job. It requires patience.

    For now it's something I've come to accept. At least until I decide to cut or otherwise change it.

    I think that some people hesitate to speak about natural hair this way because they do not want to be perceived as trying to thwart the "struggle". People have worked hard so that natural hair can be perceived as a viable option...I think that some who are afraid to discuss the challenges of dealing with our hair simply do not want to sound as though they are being insulting.

    Saying that something is difficult in certain circles can be interpreted negatively. Yet in my opinion people who think that way are being overly-sensitive. When someone says that someone or something is challenging, that isn't the same as saying it's awful.

    And therein lies the challenge. People mistake honesty for negativity. That's something I've noticed in discussions of various subjects, not just hair.
    Last edited by Claire76; 04-09-2012 at 04:59 AM. Reason: Trying to make sense of myself.
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  3. #3
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    From my personal experience, my relaxed hair caused me more trauma. When I went natural, I finally exhaled and developed a new relationship with the stuff on top of my head.

    I think part of the struggle people have with natural hair is that they expect it to behave and look like relaxed hair. Things like flat, smooth edges, no frizz, no shrinkage, etc.

    Unless I was doing something wrong, relaxed hair was about spritz and curling irons and wrapping, etc. There was still a lot of work involved.

    Perhaps if people were known to wear weaves and wigs, then in comparison, natural (real) hair may seem like more work.

    I always recommend long term protective styles but some people just have to fool around in their head on a regular basis or something. That causes stress.
    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilroygal View Post
    That natural hair is/can be WORK or that it is not necessarily EASY to manage. I mean, I have read numerous posts since I have been on this board (2003) about how people are struggling with their hair, and it's often met with (cyber) tooth sucking, roll-eye smilies, or snide comments. The truth is, SOME of us DO struggle. Are we afraid to admit it? Is there something WRONG about that? I mean, if you spent the greater part of your like managing chemically treated hair and then you decided to "go natural" only to find that a majority of the tools, products, and routines that you were used to DON'T WORK, wouldn't that present SOME struggle? Does that mean you don't like your hair? Even if you LOVE your hair but you struggle to manage it, wouldn't it be a normal thing for you to have doubts about being natural? I have experienced all of the above, and I freely admit it. It doesn't matter who I'm talking to, I'm NOT afraid to be open and honest about what I go through with my hair. It is no deep dark secret that I STRUGGLE to manage my hair. However, these days, the things I go through are SOLELY due to the CHARACTERISTICS of my hair, NOT the texture. That was not always the case. I am currently surrounded by women who are white an have adopted black babies and we've had conversations about managing the hair of the children and I must say that I get pretty real with them. My recent conversation is what lead me to post this. I shared with one of the ladies about the things I use and what I had to go through to get my hair into the "cute style" (her words) that I was wearing. We talkied about breakage, moisture, products, etc. and what I could possibly do to help her daughter manage her hair better. I was amazed at how comfortable I was with being open about my struggles and what I do to manage my hair. However, there was this nagging feeling that I was "making my hair seem bad" or something. I know that I wasn't, but the truth is that I felt like I was betraying my hair type or something, as if I were supposed to keep my hair struggles a secret. All of that to say, do (you think) we sometimes try to minimize or downplay what we go through with our hair? Why or why not? Also, do you think that we can sometimes be hard on people who acknowledge such struggles, especially if that is not OUR experience? All opinions and trains of thought are welcome!
    I personally don't find my hair difficult to manage at all. I mean there are times when I'm trying something new and I mess up......and there was the short period of time when I was learning the ins and outs of my hair. As far as it being a day-to-day struggle, it's not that way for me.

    I see what you mean, about some nappturals being a little snarky towards newbies who are venting about their hair. I don't think they mean to be rude.......I guess they feel like the newbie hasn't given themselves enough time to explore and and learn about their natural hair. It's like sometimes they expect their hair to automatically look a certain way, or take a certain product...and they get turned off and want to give up when it doesn't work.

    That said, it's not right to be rude to newbies.

    Hair is a very individual thing. How easy/difficult someone's hair is depends on the knowledge they have on how to handle it, what they want it to do, and the type of hair that they have. We're all about nappy hair on this site, but our hair differs so greatly. I remember cringing at someone saying it takes them x amount of hours to detangle their hair. When mine was long, all i had to do was brush mine out in four sections. Took five minutes.

    You shouldn't feel bad about explaining what you go through as far as hair care. You're just being real. It goes back to individuality. To me, that doesn't put nappy hair in a bad light. What works for one may not work for another. It's just your personal experience.
    "Authenticity is true beauty."
    "Asking God why He gave us this hair, then praying for it to grow..." Stahp it!
    /

  5. #5
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    It's never been hard for me to do my hair. Granted, I've been natural my whole life, but I still had an adjustment period once I started college and had to do my hair on my own. Even then though, the only "struggle" I had was finding products that my hair liked. And I've always found product testing to be fun, so that was no real hardship. I guess I also had trouble learning how to braid...but that was more an issue of me not practicing than anything else. Once I was truly motivated to learn how to braid I watched some YT vids and..voila. Before then, twists were more than sufficient.

    There's nothing "hard" about my hair. It detangles easily (certainly not as easily as a white girl's but meh..I'm not white). I guess some styles can be time consuming? But that's something women of every race choose to subject themselves to, I think.

    At the same time, I definitely believe other black women with natural hair if they say they struggle (although, I always wonder if, like Chacha said, some of us aren't struggling because they expect their hair to be something it's not...). Ultimately, I guess black hair (like ALL hair) is not necessarily easy or hard to deal with. We're all different.
    the artist formerly known as Electra


  6. #6
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    I go with Chacha I think there is an element of comparing permed hair to natural hair and not being famaliar with napptural texture so for some folks its a shock to the system and hence a 'struggle'. Personally I did not enjoy styling my hair every day or week in any form be it permed or loosed so I locked it up not because its a 'struggle' but because for me I wanted as low maintenance a hair schedule as possible.
    Last edited by Denny; 04-09-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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  7. #7
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    It took me several years (and still working on it) to get a simple regimen that works for me. One of the biggest hurdles I had to clear was accepting what my hair will and won't do. These characteristics are different from natural to natural. What works for one doesn't necessarily work for you. In a lot of cases, women who seem to find natural hair 'hard to work with' are trying to do 100 different things so that their hair will appear different than the way it actually comes out of their head. If you're up 2hrs before work shingling, gelling, twisting and doing all you can to have some curls or waves, then you've created the 'hard work and difficulty of natural hair' on your own. If the problem is dryness, then it's just about experimenting with different things until you find the answer for your hair and then sticking with it.

    6yrs in and I've had to accept that no matter what I do to my hair it will not be a glorious thick mane of perfect springy coils and that it does best when it's in a protected style. When I 1st went natural, I hated the thought of protective styling! I wanted to wear my hair out every day... so I did and suffered the consequences, which for me was breakage. Now, the most time I spend on my hair is the hour or so on Sat. that it takes me to wash, condition, and style for the week. If I do want to wear my hair out, 8 or 9 Ms. Celie twist before bed and finger comb/slightly pick in the AM, which takes about 5 mins.

    My advice to a natural who finds it hard work is to look closely at what exactly is hard. Is it styling? You can practice and just accept that you will have bad hair days when the style didn't turn out right (lol) and not let it ruin your day, until you get good, or pay someone else. Is it dryness? As stated before, experiment until you find a solution; it took me years to discover my hair NEEDS Castor Oil. But if your answer is that you just don't like the way it looks, then possibly there may be more mental transitioning in your future before you can relax and just let it do what it do...

  8. #8
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    I think when it comes to natural hair, how much you struggle depends on what look you're trying to achieve, and can't really be blamed on the hair type itself. What annoys me is when naturals say things like "I have the most difficult grade of hair" or "you can't understand what it's like to have hair as hard as mine", because it's not the HAIR that's hard, it's whatever style you're trying to create at the time. There's nothing wrong with seeking a challenging or time-consuming style, like a head full of braids or twists, and dedicating a good amount of time to creating that style every week. But when you then turn around and say that it means nappy hair HAS to be difficult or time-consuming, I think it gives people the wrong impression. If you wanted, you could wear your hair shorter, you could let it shrink, you could loc, you could give the styles a rest. Just as with straight-haired people, you could be low-maintenance or high-maintenance about your hair; neither type is easier or harder than the other.

    ~~C~~O~~T~~T~~O~~N~~C~~R~~O~~W~~N~~

    “The beauty of a girl can’t be mimicked, fabricated, or created by human means. It only occurs naturally.” ~~Pam Callaghan

  9. #9
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    For a long time in the early days of NP my sig said something along the lines of "Natural hair care isn't rocket science." I'm pretty sure some were ticked off by it but I put it up there for the same basic reason chacha mentioned: Many have grown up thinking of textured (and by this I mean non-straight) hair care as hard, and textured hair as bad and ugly. There is a learning curve involved not only in hair care, but hair tolerance (never mind acceptance and love), and a lot of people never complete that curve because of their conditioning. It's also true that a lot of people also never complete that curve because they simply don't have time and/or patience to complete it. In either case, and IMO, it's perfectly okay to choose another option so long as they blame their conditioning (and/or lack of time or patience) and NOT their hair.

    The problem is that too many people insist on thinking of textured hair as a birth defect.

    Here's something that I think a lot are afraid to say: This hair type might not be meant to be worn long and loose. Long hair in general is work but long loose (unlocked) 4b/4c hair in particular can be a LOT of work. If you don't want to invest that kind of time, then either loc it, cut it, or go on and get a perm but DON'T blame your hair texture for not being able to "bounce and behave" like looser textures.

    Here's something else I think a lot are afraid to say: Despite all best efforts, this hair type might never grow long. I have always been more inclined to accept this and find the beauty in the hair length I have rather than curse God for giving me this bad, difficult, accursed hair and slap a perm in and/or a weave on.

    I refuse to operate on the notion that this hair type is inherently difficult to care for in its natural state.
    It's 2020...do you know where you're going to?

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LBellatrix View Post
    For a long time in the early days of NP my sig said something along the lines of "Natural hair care isn't rocket science." I'm pretty sure some were ticked off by it but I put it up there for the same basic reason chacha mentioned: Many have grown up thinking of textured (and by this I mean non-straight) hair care as hard, and textured hair as bad and ugly. There is a learning curve involved not only in hair care, but hair tolerance (never mind acceptance and love), and a lot of people never complete that curve because of their conditioning. It's also true that a lot of people also never complete that curve because they simply don't have time and/or patience to complete it. In either case, and IMO, it's perfectly okay to choose another option so long as they blame their conditioning (and/or lack of time or patience) and NOT their hair.

    The problem is that too many people insist on thinking of textured hair as a birth defect.

    Here's something that I think a lot are afraid to say: This hair type might not be meant to be worn long and loose. Long hair in general is work but long loose (unlocked) 4b/4c hair in particular can be a LOT of work. If you don't want to invest that kind of time, then either loc it, cut it, or go on and get a perm but DON'T blame your hair texture for not being able to "bounce and behave" like looser textures.

    Here's something else I think a lot are afraid to say: Despite all best efforts, this hair type might never grow long. I have always been more inclined to accept this and find the beauty in the hair length I have rather than curse God for giving me this bad, difficult, accursed hair and slap a perm in and/or a weave on.

    I refuse to operate on the notion that this hair type is inherently difficult to care for in its natural state.
    TA

    I think too many naturals see Becky with the waist-length locks and think: I should be able to achieve that length in the same amount of time as her, detangle in the same amount of time as her, and wash in the same amount of time as her, and if I can't, my hair is more difficult. Ironically, if Becky saw your twists and felt compelled to put them in her long straight hair, she might have to re-do them every day or every other day to keep them looking neat. Would that mean her hair is harder than yours?

    ~~C~~O~~T~~T~~O~~N~~C~~R~~O~~W~~N~~

    “The beauty of a girl can’t be mimicked, fabricated, or created by human means. It only occurs naturally.” ~~Pam Callaghan

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