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Hard Work Doesn’t Mean Unmanageable Hair

Avatar • Sep 29, 2011


By Cipriana of UrbanBushBabes.com

I have received a few emails from women expressing their annoyance in the way I describe my hair as “hard work, which makes it seem as if I am perpetuating the myth that kinky textured hair is unmanageable”…..WHAT? How does hard work translate to unmanageable? Isn’t the definition of unmanageable “impossible to manage, manipulate, or control” Yes my hair is hard work but not unmanageable, because I have been managing, manipulating and controlling my hair for almost 5 years with success. If it was impossible I most certainly would not have half as much of hair on my head as I do now. If hard work was easy then every natural would have successful hair journeys without trials and tribulations.

The reason I am honest in expressing HOURS and PATIENCE that go into my head is because I truly want people who have a hard time retaining length to understand that it is not easy, especially for kinky textures. And I’m honest because I want success for others who are frustrated and looking for results. Long hair, regardless of texture, requires more work. Couple that with the fact that curlier hair is more fragile — and more fragile hair requires more delicacy and patience — and you have additional hours of care. Sugarcoating and beating around the bush does not truly help those who haven’t found success in their current hair regimen. It’s sort of like an intervention for those who want long hair; you have to bare all the facts so their hair can eventually recover and flourish.

Now I am not faulting others for wanting a quick fix. To be honest there have been a many times when I was detangling my hair and thought “Damn, I really wish it didn’t take this long!” Then I rewind and check myself because I am grateful to be healthy, happy and loved by my family and friends. I have a roof over my head and food to nourish my body; I am doing something I love, etc. So through all these blessings, if it takes hours upon hours upon hours to detangle my hair then so be it. And it is something I obviously want or I would have chopped my hair years ago. When I see women rocking short cuts, they sometimes say they prefer it, not just because of the flyness and the look, but because long hair is too much work and they prefer not to deal with it. Moms too — who have one of the hardest jobs in the world — might consider haircare (let alone achieving long hair!) an afterthought. But if you have the time and desire, then retaining length is going to take work.

Now when I go in depth and really give a breakdown of what is involved in the health and growth of my hair — including washing my hair only once a month, updo styles 24/7, scarfing my strands every single night, taking hours to patiently detangle my hair, dry detangling (with oils), low manipulation by wearing protective styles every day and also protective styles during my washings instead of free form — they see that as me perpetuating unmanageability. People don’t view this is as simple, but ‘simple’ isn’t only wash and gos and wearing your curls wild and free. It can also mean washing your hair once a month and leaving it in a protective style for 2–4 weeks at a time. To be honest I don’t know what is simpler than that. The most I do to my hair during the weekdays is take my scarf off in the morning and spray olive oil on my hair before I place my scarf back on at night. Since I wear my hair in protective updo styles during the week which I never take down, my daily morning and nighttime hair routine takes a whopping 5 minutes total each day. Yes 5 minutes total each day, so how does this translate to unmanageable? Now what is hard work are my detangling sessions especially with my length and texture but to me it is worth it. I will sacrifice time that is involved with my detangling sessions to have a simple and easy routine during the week days.

At the end of the day I love my hair which is why this works best for me. Whether you are free and wild or protective and updo’ed never let someone tell you that a regimen that works best for you is not up to par to proper way you should manage your hair 🙂

So ladies whatever your hair goals are transitioning, health, length, etc. don’t let hard work deter you from your path, if that is the path you wish to take. Like anything in life you strive towards you goals and in the end aren’t your goals stepping stones to your dreams?

For more of Cipriana’s writings, check out UrbanBushBabes.com
Related Stories:
Is Growing out Kinky Hair Worth The Effort?
Cracking the Code of Length Retention

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JJ
JJ
9 years ago

Maybe they’re having an easy time with their hair, mine sure is hard work, but I am managing and loving it

kbbn
kbbn
9 years ago

i for one appreciate you keeping it real… cos hours of detangling and a careful wash routine for 5 mins everyday and 2–4 weeks of (basically) wake-up n’ go is a small price to pay in my world!

Lacoya (thesupercoya)
9 years ago

AMEN SISTAH!!!! I have VERY kinky hair and my ends are FOREVER with single-stranded knots because of it. I have to keep my hair STRETCHED in order to keep SSK’s to am minimum. I can not just ‘wash n go’, if I want to KEEP all of my kinky texture. I think people get it confused with (1) Wishing they had a looser texture (2) Wishing they had an easier regimen I wouldn’t give ANYTHING away in exchange for my hair. I actually LOVE my texture and curl pattern. My hair is very versatile and can easily hold twists, I… Read more »

Lacoya (thesupercoya)
9 years ago

(4–6 inches all over) = current length of my hair. Some hair I did not have to cut much, hence 6 inches, whereas around the top part of my hair had to get close to 2 inches chopped due to my inexperienced cutting skills and inappropriate scissors!

LOL.

Anon
Anon
9 years ago

Why can’t I just wash my whole head like normal folk?”

Normal folk? Lots of folk with hair like yours (including me) wash in twists. Whose “norm” are you referencing?

Lacoya (thesupercoya)
9 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Lol. I was referencing a lot of naturals who look at me like I’m crazy when I say I wash my hair in twists (both in life and cyber space). I get that.…“Hmmm.…really? — you must not be doing something right” look.  Also, when I was relaxed, there was no need to wash my hair in twists, because there was no huge risk in tangling with straight hair. Don’t take it too deep. All I was saying is that.…the majority of people (non-race specific) that IIIII know, do not have to have a specific method (such as washing hair in… Read more »

df
df
9 years ago

have you ever tried using terresentials mud wash (or go diy with a similar mix if possible?) it’s something i plan to use when my hair is much longer.

Lacoya (thesupercoya)
9 years ago
Reply to  df

I’ve heard about it a few times on others blogs, but trying to use up my current stash of shampoos before venturing out for more 🙂 We’ll see how THAT goes 😀 Thanks for the recommendation!!!

NappyRina
9 years ago

I too have very dense kinky hair and I CANNOT do wash n gos without incurring serious tangles & knots galore so that’s out (though I wish I had this as an option!) — sometimes I just want to literally wash then go about my business but I have to schedule my washes for times when I will have enough time to actually stretch & style my hair afterwards On the other hand I wish I could have a regimen similar to Cipriana where I am only washing once or twice a month and keeping the manipulation to a minimum… Read more »

Black Girl With Long Hair

I love that you acknowledge that long hair is a CHOICE. And that it’s not for everyone. Though I believe that most any texture can retain length, it’s more challenging for highly textured and fine hair, and not everyone is up to that challenge. But for those who do opt-in, it is work!

Love this piece.

Heather
Heather
9 years ago

Thank you so much for posting this. I just did my hair last night and it was hard work to detangle it, but then again, it always is. I love my hair, but sometimes I have to check myself when I start to lose my patience or am upset about a situation and begin handling it the wrong way. Natural hair is time consuming, but that doesn’t mean that it is unmanageable or that we love our hair any less. I am just glad that there are people out there like me who try to keep in 100.

Heather
Heather
9 years ago
Reply to  Heather

typo-who try to keep *it 100

mangomadness
mangomadness
9 years ago

I think this is an awesome post. Everyone’s haircare routine is different and may be percieved as more or less work by any given person. More work dosen’t mean “unmanagable” hai–It means one knows precisely how to manage their hair and is willing to put the time in to do so.  My advice to anyone who currently thinks their hair is “unmanagable” is to experiment until they find the best way to manage it. To me the “best way” was to create a simple, relatively guick (2 hours tops for my weekly wash day) and low-manipulation regimen. I did so by… Read more »

LBell
LBell
9 years ago

“The reason I am honest in expressing HOURS and PATIENCE that go into my head is because I truly want people who have a hard time retaining length to understand that it is not easy, especially for kinky textures. And I’m honest because I want success for others who are frustrated and looking for results. Long hair, regardless of texture, requires more work. Couple that with the fact that curlier hair is more fragile — and more fragile hair requires more delicacy and patience — and you have additional hours of care. Sugarcoating and beating around the bush does not… Read more »

Anon
Anon
9 years ago
Reply to  LBell

I thought the tone of your comment was slightly condescending, particularly the point about length being “all-important” to some. I have noticed that you frequently comment on posts about achieving long kinky hair and it seems all to obvious that you feel that this is in general a waste of time. Clearly you have made the choice to keep your hair short, but for some of us growing/ having long kinky hair, while indeed challenging, has not been quite trying. I think the kinky haired ladies who have had difficulty or who are otherwise not interested in growing long, should… Read more »

Anon
Anon
9 years ago
Reply to  Anon

* quite AS trying

LBell
LBell
9 years ago
Reply to  Anon

I know this is probably going to come as a shock to you, but I agree that the “all-important” portion of my comment was condescending, and I apologize for that. However, I most certainly do not “frequently” comment about growing long hair being generally “a waste of time.” You might be mistaking me for someone else…because if I believed that I certainly wouldn’t be on this site at all. If anything, I think what I do ON OCCASION is try to inject some reality into the fantasy that SOME people seem to have with regards to growing long nappy hair. Cipriana’s post… Read more »

June
June
9 years ago
Reply to  LBell

I appreciate your comment, but I have afro-textured hair and that is not my reality. I mean what is afro-textured hair anyway?

LBell
LBell
9 years ago
Reply to  June

If it is not your reality, then you are not part of the group I was discussing, and that’s fine. I didn’t say “everybody,” I said “the vast majority”…and I do believe that it is a majority because if it weren’t, the store-bought hair business wouldn’t be nearly as big as it is, and all these products that claim to promote hair growth wouldn’t still be selling (unless they worked, of course), and most likely sites like this wouldn’t exist because black women would have the long hair that many have largely been conditioned to crave as being the hair… Read more »

June
June
9 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Have you been on longhaircareforum.com? These women buying the hair growth serums are looking for growth greater than the average growth of 0.5 inches per month that people of all races are subjected to. These women are looking for an inche or more of growth per month. Black people don’t have good hair care practices that is why we need to relearn everything when we decide to take a better interest in our hair — relaxed or natural. Just as their is a lot of diversity when it comes to skin tones of the people descended from the African continent, there… Read more »

mangomadness
mangomadness
9 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Comparing your hair to looser textures, and wishing you could do what they do in terms of care, is a WASTE OF TIME.”

I have always hated the word “manageability” when applied to hair because for many it’s something that’s still largely defined within a straight-hair context.”

+1000

Omolara
Omolara
9 years ago

My hair is hard work, but it’s a labor of love. I feel like if I’m not putting effort into it, I’m not taking care of it. I sometimes wish that pulling it back into a ponytail was as easy as it was when relaxed, but that’s only on lazy days when I don’t feel like twisting — which is actually less effort than smoothing it for a ponytail.  We need to let go of these concepts of “normal”, “manageable”, and so on because it’s all relative. My mom, who has that sort of cottony texture in places, is always… Read more »

Lacoya (thesupercoya)
9 years ago
Reply to  Omolara

However, I also think people should be able to use concepts such as normal, manageable, and so on, without people getting so caught up on it. It’s always from ‘their’ experience. The motto in natural haircare is: everything is relative. Meaning, just because it means one thing to you, doesn’t mean it means the same for someone else. Everything in it is relative, including regimens and the things included in each person. Which is why when I hear someone speak of “normal”, “easy”, “different”, tight/loose curls, etc., I really don’t get caught up on it because tight for one is… Read more »

June
June
9 years ago

My natural hair is more work than my relaxed hair, but I enjoy working with my hair more so it is win-win for me.

CurlyInTheA
9 years ago

Meh, I just think it depends on the person and their lifestyle. Cipriana has enough hair for 2–3 people, lush and gorgeous! I think we all complain sometimes, but I don’t have to deal with what she has to deal with. Natural hair isn’t always easy and takes a commitment especially if you want length, though length is def not a requirement. And, I liked her comment about moms. I cut my hair off 4 years ago beacause of that very reason. Now I have two other thick heads of hair that get longer and thicker by the day, to… Read more »

Efuru
Efuru
9 years ago

I’ve always been under the impression that longer hair regardless of texture and type takes a bit more effort but the results are also rewarding.  At the risk of sounding all ‘special snowflake’ I don’t find my haircare process to be particularly tasking (I wash in sections but not twists as I find that my hair doesn’t get clean that way, my spongy hair holds onto shampoo better in twists) but appreciate that I am one person and while my regimen is great for me it might not work for the next person and I derive enjoyment from it which… Read more »

EG
EG
9 years ago

THIS, this post is why I am a fan of cipri. She is very honest, and does not back down. Keep up the good work Cipri.

Pooks
9 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly with Cipriana’s post. If you make the CHOICE to grow longer kinky hair, you most likely are going to have to put some time and effort that to others (with different textures/thickness/hair goals) seems like ‘just too much hard work’. My wash day (when my hair is out of braids) is the most annoying part of my regimen, so I just make sure I’m ready to spend the time doing it before jumping in. Protective styling for 2–4 weeks at a time with breaks if and when I miss my loose hair has been working like charm… Read more »

cygnet
cygnet
9 years ago

For me, doing my hair is often therapeutic, and I enjoy the sensation of running my hands over my freshly retwisted hair when I am finished. It takes work, and my hair is nowhere the length as Cipriana’s However, the fact that I am able to get it done is testament enough to the fact that my hair is manageable. So if I say it was hard work (I don’t really think it is difficult so much as I think it can get a bit time-consuming, especially if I keep getting interrupted during the process), I don’t by any means… Read more »

anon
anon
9 years ago

It does, no matter what kind of hair you have. Even if you have straight hair, it could still be very fine or very delicate, or oily, or you could have scalp issues. Sometimes I want to send people here to longhair@LJ, which is full of white people trying to grown their hair. The people who have gorgeous looking hair keep it up most of the time, have a rigorous regimen, do research on what to do, and realistic expectations…a lot that’s required here. It’s easy to tell them from the people who try the newest trend constantly, don’t trim,… Read more »

anon
anon
9 years ago
Reply to  anon

This was supposed to be a response to Efuru.

Efuru
Efuru
9 years ago
Reply to  anon

LOL @ Disney Princess. They all had unrealistic hair anyway (even by European standards).

Carla
Carla
9 years ago

My hair is a lot of work, but its something I enjoy doing. I do get frustrated at times, but I could cut my bra strap length hair short if I want to cut down on the time spent on it. Length, volume and health is important to me so I will continue to care for it as long as I have the time and patience for it.

Zyaran
Zyaran
9 years ago

At times I find myself dreading the detangling process because it takes forever, but afterwards my hair feels and looks so much better. For me using clarifying conditioner and then regular conditioner to wash n deep condition really helps me out. I finally tried Aussie Moist Conditioner and love the thick conditioners V05’s are good but not moisturizing or thick enough for my coarse 4b hair.
**************
Also longhairdontcare2011 did an interview on naturalhairgrows a while back and gave some good info as well that you ladies might like as well. http://www.naturalhairgrows.com/natural-curly-hair-styles.html

Margie Cattouse
9 years ago

I don’t know what you are using to protect your hair in the shower.. but if you are using anything other than a shower cap pls allow me to send you one no strings attached. Just go to my website and select the XL of your liking. I understand 100% why you say your hair is unmanageable. It saddens me that in the natural hair community words can be taken out of context so easily. To say anything that remotely sounds neg. is equated to self-hatred. I don’t care much for washing, conditioning, retwist time. But if we didn’t love… Read more »

Z
Z
9 years ago

Have you guys heard of these Havana Twists that’s used as a Protective Style? those photos with this model are gorgeus.Saw this on http://hairtrending.tumblr.com/page/9

[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/tumblr_ls5pnpwEcC1qe5e71o1_5001.jpg[/img]
[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/tumblr_ls5pnpwEcC1qe5e71o2_2501.jpg[/img]
[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/tumblr_ls5pnpwEcC1qe5e71o3_2501.jpg[/img]

Carla
Carla
9 years ago
Reply to  Z

I love those twists! I can’t tell if that’s her real hair or extensions…

Yaa
Yaa
9 years ago

lol. Whateva. Im looking at your hair and Im tired. I can only imagine how long it takes to maintain your hair. You have ALOT of hair and its very thick, how else are you supposed to describe it but as hard work. That doesnt mean you are talking about it in a negative light. People really need to chill.

Athena
Athena
6 years ago

Do you really only wet your hair every 2–4 weeks? I thought it was better to get it wet every day.

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