It was a cold November afternoon when I decided I no longer wanted to depend on other people to manage my natural hair. Before this moment, I had never braided, twisted, or even straightened my hair without someone's help. Embarrassingly enough, all I knew how to do was wash and detangle. I was a complete novice, and I had no idea what I was in for when I decided to wear my hair "out" for a few weeks. Fortunately I wasn't completely ignorant; I remembered my parents stressing the importance of coconut oil and regular moisturizing, and so I implemented their advice. However, there is one thing I failed to consider that caused me more damage than I ever could've imagined: I over-manipulated my hair.
By this, I mean that I combed, washed, and styled my hair WAY too often during that period. I assumed my hair could be treated the same as looser textures, so I haphazardly wore a bun one day, twists the next, and so on. It also never occurred to me that I couldn't comb my hair everyday. My thought process was that if other people could do it, I could too. But by manipulating my hair so frequently with unnecessary combing and styling, I put so much stress on my hair that it began to break severely. At least three inches of my hair broke off in those few weeks, and it didn't help that I was using a COTTON headscarf at night! (Cotton is extremely absorbent and will rob your hair of moisture overnight, resulting in dryness and even breakage over time.)
It wasn't until I went back home in December that I discovered the true extent of the damage. When my Mom saw the back of my head she exclaimed, "You have lost so much hair!" She proceeded to give me a crash course in natural hair management, stressing that our kinky, coily hair can't handle being styled more than about once a week. She recommended braiding over two-strand twists because braids hold longer and therefore limit manipulation. I began sifting through YouTube for tutorials and eventually started to get the hang of protective styling. The cotton headscarf was also promptly replaced with satin, and I'm pleased to say my hair has been on the road to recovery ever since!
To avoid making the same mistake I did, check out these awesome headwraps by Toni Daley!