Believe it or not, I used to think the only way to wear kinky hair was in protective styles. Even when I saw Black women with straight hair, I would assume it was a weave or a wig. Despite how embarrassing it is to admit that naivety, part of me is grateful to my parents for keeping me ignorant of chemical relaxers all these years. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't forbidden to relax my hair and I don't look down on people who choose to do so - but after reading numerous accounts of new naturalistas wishing they'd gone natural sooner or never had a relaxer to begin with, I feel glad to have been natural all my life.
I must confess, though, that I am no expert. It's only now that I'm slowly starting to learn what my hair loves and hates after deciding to end my dependance on stylists months ago. From styling methods to hair care products, everything is an experiment. It's frustrating and fun. Sometimes a new recipe provides fabulous results, other times a moisturizing technique goes horribly wrong.
Natural hair can't be mastered in a day. Each strand has its own texture, pattern, and personality. Learning to manage it is like getting to know a whole room of people at once - especially if you have more than one curl pattern on your head! Hair evolves, too. For instance my hair has grown stronger with all the deep conditioning I've been doing this year, and it now holds up much better under manipulation. Tracking such changes can be tricky, but it's all part of the adventure. That's why I believe it's so important to immerse yourself in the natural hair community. We all stand to gain so much from each other's experience and knowledge!
What lessons have you learned about natural hair? Tell me in a comment below!