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How to Be Patient with Your Hair

Avatar • Oct 5, 2011

By Jc of The Natural Haven

Natural hair thrives once you know how to handle it but this knowledge comes only with patience. This is especially true if you have very tight curls. Here are my top tips

1. Patience with Learning

Unless you are supremely lucky, you are bound to make a lot of mistakes. The first year of your natural life should be dedicated to learning how to handle your hair. Use resources like YouTube to see how others do it but be really really really conscious and aware that none of these people are doing your hair. Pay attention ‑If the curl does not look like yours and if the shrinking is more or less than yours.…that technique may not be for you. Learn about your hair and what your hair likes.

The faster you master this, the better. Trust me, the shorter your natural hair, the easier it is is handle. Hell is waiting for you at 10 inches (umm yes hell).

2. Patience with Growing Long Hair

It takes 3–5 years of constant growth and no breakage to get your hair to grow to a nice full APL to BSL (armpit length to bra strap length). Given that you have to learn about your hair first, you are likely to sustain breakage, damage and split ends so really you should account for another year. Some people are lucky enough to have damage resistant strands but again remember, this not necessarily you.

I would love it if people stopped measuring hair on a month to month basis and perhaps waited 6 months. Constanly pulling your hair just to check if it has passed a certain mark can do more harm than good (psychologically to you and physically to the hair).

3. Patience with Handling Loose Hair

Learn to diffentiate between what you like and what your hair likes. Our hair likes to be curly, we prefer to stretch it. In other words recognise that if you are handling loose hair and you apply water to it, you must be patient because it wants to go into a curly configuration. Be gentle if you want to stretch it out, and compromise with your hair. Accept some shrinkage, you will both be happier this way.

4. Patience All the Time

Ultimately patience is necessary all the time from detangling, washing, combing(even finger combing), drying and styling. Learn to allocate sufficient time and in fact I recommend always budgeting for extra time. If you think a style will take you 15 min, double it to half an hour. Ultimately the extra time allows you not to rush and you will be better able to be patient.

Are you patient in your hair care?
For more of Jc’s writings check out The Natural Haven.

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About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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Avanti
Avanti
9 years ago

I appreciate you so much! So many naturals need to hear just that: PATIENCE. It’s funny because I have been natural since September 2005 after I graduated high school and I have loved it every single day ever since. But without the mass knowledge we have today, I had nothing BUT patience. I never rushed my hair or made it do anything it didn’t want to and we WERE both happier! X‑D But recently I’ve become a little impatient and it’s because I’ve been youtubing like crazy for the past month and all these natural beauties have double or triple… Read more »

eboni
eboni
9 years ago

I always try to be patient with my hair. If I ever DO rush through my styling sessions, I make sure my hair is heavily moisturized. Not a fan of a statement made in the first topic that basically said to expect “hell” when you reach 10+ inches. I think if you follow alot of what’s mentioned in this aritcle, managing your hair at/beyond 10 inches might not become so daunting. Yes, it will certainly take longer, but I think for some people (like myself) doing their hair has become theraputic, lol. Additionally, I style my hair at night rather… Read more »

ranuka
ranuka
9 years ago

Each person’s hair is different — what might be her reality may not be yours. She is just being realistic, many others go through the same process. the upper back of my hair gives me hell, would I change the texture, no. Some people see some you tubers handle their hair with minimal problems and they expect the same from their hair. At least if you expect it and you don’t get it, you can heave a sigh of relief, because detangling is no joke, while detangling my hair in one place the other end is at another part of… Read more »

mangomadness
mangomadness
9 years ago

I always try to be paitent with my hair. I’m good at being paitent with handling my hair–I don’t mind taking my time because doing my hair is theraputic for me. With that said, I sometimes get impatient with the amount of length I have. In those moments I remind myself that length comes with paitence, the passage of time and adherance to my haircare routine. P.S. No experience is universal. My super coily hair is approx. 10–11 inches and isn’t “hell” to deal with. I could be argue that it’s a bit “easier” to care for than my shorter… Read more »

Elaine D.
Elaine D.
9 years ago

Oh Patience…sweet patienc!! Something I’m just now learning.I went natural in May of 2008 and ONLY NOW am I learning about patience.When I think of the damage I sustained pulling and tugging x2, I cringe but thank goodness that I’m back on track.I regard those 3 years being natural (without a clue as to what I was doing) as my “learning phase” where my hair had to teach me EVERYTHING I did when my hair was relaxed wasn’t going to work for me in the future.Enter “Healthy phase” where I’m now using healthier meathods, techniques. My focus is on just… Read more »

Gemlocs
Gemlocs
9 years ago

Great reminder for me being that I just BC’ed 5 days ago after 8 years of being loced. Locs definitely teaches you patience particularly when you have a soft texture like mine that took forever to lock. Even though I have about an inch of hair, I’m not rushing the growth but I realize I am over stressing about the health/moisture of my hair and finding/using only “natural” products. A product junkie by nature, I have vowed that I will NOT purchase any more products and will work with the mass amount of items I have already bought that will… Read more »

Hyspin
Hyspin
9 years ago

I used to be patience but I seeing no results with 2 years of light handling and 90% protective styling for those 2 years, inaddition to no irons and air drying 97% . I notice with the link the first article is about thin strands which I have it says that hair type is prone to split ends (thats the hair I have) but suggest no suggestions to best combat it more effectively besides trimming but if your trim at the rate of growth you will never see and progress. I guess jaded after 2 years at the same length.… Read more »

janelle
janelle
9 years ago
Reply to  Hyspin

hi,

How is your diet? That may have something to do with it as well.

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  janelle

Actually in those two years better than every, health blood sugar, good amount of good amount cholesterol and low bad cholesterol, my BMI was normal, and my hip to waist was excellent. I had been working out with a trainer and adjusting my diet slightly (without dieting of course) so to be healthier. So overall my health improved tremendously, diet and exercise wise during that time. Now that I see two to three years of good behaviour did nothing I have no rush to maintain it, too expensive. But I am looking at other modes of exercise because my new… Read more »

LM
LM
8 years ago
Reply to  hyspin

i know i’m super late and I haven’t been natural for long, but what about your moisture regimen. Even in protective styles, u must moisturize and seal regularly, focusing on the ends. I moisturize and seal at least once a day. At times I’ve moisturized and sealed two times a day. depending on how long your hair is, you can try baggying your ends at night. It’s sort of like giving your ends a deep conditioning treatment throught the week. Protein could also be an issue if your moisture levels are up to par

jenna marie christian
9 years ago

loved the tips

df
df
9 years ago

Can someone give me an example of being “gentle with your hair”. I see this everywhere but sometimes I wonder if I’m still being too rough with my hair even when I’m trying to be gentle.

Is it barely touching the hair when handling it?

I have lots of split ends and SSK’s and I dont use heat and I moisturize well so I’m figuring it’s me being rough.

BeautyIAM
BeautyIAM
9 years ago
Reply to  df

Being gentle with your hair just means carefully working through your hair to minimize breakage and damage. For me, I knew that I wasn’t being gentle with my hair when I noticed that hair that should still be in my scalp wasn’t. I carefully work my way through any knots I get using oil (jojoba, coconut, or olive oil). Before, I would just kind of attempt to undo the knot, but would just tear it out with my comb. Some women finger detangle their hair to avoid damage that can come from a comb. Another way to be gentle with… Read more »

cygnet
cygnet
9 years ago

Interestingly, one thing that made me pay attention to the amount of force I was applying to my hair was the oft-repeated admonition by so many people to “treat your hair as if it were cashmere/lace/some other fine or gossamer fabric.” In terms of my current wardrobe, some pieces of which are quite old, I don’t have many opportunities to mess with lace, I don’t currently own anything made of silk, and I’ve never owned or handled cashmere. So I don’t relate very well, if at all, to the handling of any of these materials. For my personal consideration, therefore,… Read more »

Monisola
9 years ago

yeaahhhhhh patience… i am a go go go! type of person so patience does not come easily to me. With that said, I am self aware enough to know that millions of little twists or braids are probably not for me. My solution, wear styles that do not conflict with my personality. I wear larger twists and pin them up into cute updo styles, yarn braids, which give me a month away from detangling and styling. Right now, I am big on wearing little twists in front (like a side swooping bang) with bigger twists in the back pinned up… Read more »

Sherron
Sherron
9 years ago

my curls “hug” each other (& they don’t want to let go) so i learned that combing my extremely thick, very curly natural hair is a painful (yes, it actually hurts to comb my hair) process so i really don’t comb it @ all anymore Instead of using a comb on my hair, i gently finger comb my afro w/ my fingers and I rub my hair (when it is wet or damp) to detangle, especially after cowashing massaging my scalp while finger-combing my hair makes it easier for me to detangle my hair w/o having to endure the painful… Read more »

Nancy
Nancy
9 years ago

I have only been transitioning for 5 months. I have read sooo many blogs and watched youtube videos, my eyes are crossed. I have a lot of patience, what I have not came across is someone with really thin hair similar to mines, that can give me some positive advise. All of the youtube and blogs, begins with “I have really big/thick hair”. I guess what I am trying to say is, I have patience, but I don’t have any support, my family nor co-workers. Even church members are making comments like, ” looks like someone plucked all of your… Read more »

Jaeda Barbie
8 years ago

I have learned that everyone’s hair is different. And I notice since I have been natural 3 yrs people expect me to have longer hair, but I just learned how to care for my hair 6 months ago, so I know my hair will be longer in the next three years. Meanwhile, I am enjoying my beautiful short to medium waves. Be patient, ladies, it will come.

K Murray
K Murray
8 years ago

Excellent advice!

neesh
neesh
7 years ago

I DISAGREE WITH MEASURING ONCE EVERY SIX LOL I MEAN COME ON HOW WOULD YOU KNOW IF YOUR RETAINING LENGTH LOL

Nedinemoke
Nedinemoke
4 years ago
Reply to  neesh

True talk

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