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.