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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
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  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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    agreed! absolutely agreed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Claire76 View Post
    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.

  4. #4
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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

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chachadiva View Post

    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.
    ^^^^ That right there.

    I don't identify with having a struggle with my natural hair and a big reason why my long term transition was virtually effortless and stress free was because of how I incorportated protective styling into my routine. I really did not allow any room to frequently manipulate and thus become frustrated with my textures. Protective styling > loose for two weeks > protective styling - that was my routine.

    Even when I was relaxed I despised manipulating my own hair - never owned a curling iron or flat iron. I was a treatment and roller set/doobi wrap girl. I didn't even like gel in my hair.

    While I will read and be respectful to eveyone's views about their respective struggles, I think much of that stress can be mitigated if certain routines are incorporated esp in the initial phases.
    Loc'ed and Lovely!

  6. #6
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    Default couldn't agree more...

    Quote Originally Posted by chachadiva View Post
    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.
    Besides it's not that we have a struggle, and afraid to talk about it. It's that, really leave it alone, like Chachadiva said, don't expect it to act like processed hair, and you will have half the battle wone. It won't be a trurggle if you stop fighting it, then where is the struggle.? No one is afraid to admit anything, there once your mind gets whrere you hair has already gone... Your hair can't struggle by itself. Back off. after all is it fair.... you are bigger than your hair.. so stop picking on it .... please don't take me rong... im siply trying to make a point. all smiles... Like she said long term protective styles seems to be onerther answer.

  7. #7
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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!
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  8. #8
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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


  9. #9
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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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  10. #10
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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...

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