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4 Natural Hair Care Myths

Avatar • May 28, 2012

By Geniece of Beautifully Made

After 7 years of being natural I’ve learned that not everything that seems like good advice will actually work for my hair. There are a number of myths, some that existed in my own mind and others that I heard from outside sources that have been debunked through my experiences. Please keep in mind that what may be a myth to me may actually work for you and vice versa. With that said here are four hair myths that I’ve encountered during my hair journey.

1. Single strand knots will kill your hair progress

Okay, so I know some of you are going to give me major side eye here. A few years ago I would have done the same. Single strand knots are a pesky nuisance but not the hair killer I’ve seen some make it out to be. When I started caring for my hair I would go through small sections of hair cutting out little knots. No sooner would I trim off single strand knots than they would reappear within a few weeks. I even tried some methods people claimed worked to eliminate single strand knots. I would moisturize and seal my ends. Still, the knots persisted. I then figured just letting my hair do what it does and trim every few months. You know what? My hair retained length, looked great even in blown out straighter styles and I didn’t have to spend every two weeks snipping off tiny knots. I recommend going through your hair and do a thorough search and destroy of knots once or twice a year. After that just follow your normal regimen. Trimming the hair often will stunt length (if that’s a goal) and will take up quite a bit of time. In my experience hair can look awesome with little knots here and there. So why fix something if it really isn’t broken?

2. Dry hair means damaged hair

Coming to terms with this particular falsehood has been quite helpful in how I think about my hair. My hair is in the 4 range, for those of you who use the hair typing. If I were to give a more detailed description of my hair, it is dry to the touch, thick and fragile. The default condition of my hair is dry, meaning if I rub a section of my hair against itself, I will hear a crunching sound.

Now, this can be a sign of things gone awry. I know that if I go an entire week without adding moisture to my hair it is dry enough that it will break at the ends when it is manipulated. That is clearly not good for length retention or overall hair care. On the other hand, when I moisturize my hair, paying special attention to the ends every other day and my hair still feels dry to the touch I know it isn’t because of my hair care practices. That’s just the texture of my hair and there’s nothing wrong with that. I used to think that my hair should always feel soft and supple. If not, my hair would break with the blowing of the wind. Not so! If you are appropriately moisturizing your hair and not witnessing breakage don’t stress if your hair feels dry to the touch. That’s like complaining that satin doesn’t feel like cashmere. You could spend money on a dozen products to make satin feel like cashmere with no luck. Get the point? I found that my hair may sometimes feel dry but I can rest assured that as long as I’m caring for it, it will thrive.

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Blueismyname
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Blueismyname

Love, Love,Love this! So true on all 4 myths!

KAN
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KAN

I love this and so much of it is true for me also.…The whole dry hair and single strand knots!? I used to trip that my hair would feel hard and dry and crunches and ALWAYS has single strand knots but finally I told myself…don’t worry so much. my hair was still healthy and maintaining length, so I no longer try to do search and destroys all the time. With the amt of hair on my head, i would NEVER finish…it all goes back to what works for YOUR head! Great post!!!

merry
Guest
merry

i would add, ‘natural hair takes a lot of time.’

i always cringe when i hear about people taking HOURS to detangle their hair. it only takes me about 30–40 mins. mine is shoulder-length right now.

people sometimes get the impression that being natural is a hassle and like caring for a child, when it isn’t imo. or at least it doesn’t have to be.

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

Here it really depends on the people’s hair. It takes me a while to detangle because I do it with my fingers. Everybody’s different.

Candice
Guest
Candice

I would agree with this. Wash day for me takes 2 hours tops maybe. That includes wash, finger detangling, conditioning, deep conditioning, sitting under the steamer, AND putting my hair into some kind of protective style. I don’t know what is taking some women so long.

B
Guest
B

2 hours is a long time and wash day clearly will defer from woman to woman…it all comes down to length & thickness, clearly someone with a TWA wont need all day to wash and detangle but someone transitioning with 4 inches of new growth & 10 inches of relax hair is going to take longer!

Maria
Guest

My hair is BSL & it doesn’t take me that long to do my hair; maybe an hour on wash day, but that’s usually because I stretch my hair the first day and let it air dry and do my style the next day (or the end of the day). I detangle with a teezer or a denman brush. My hair length is right on track 🙂
If you take the time to make your hair strong, you don’t have to worry about everything else.

Thick Nigerian Hair
Guest
Thick Nigerian Hair

Might I add hair type. I have type 4 hair. And, while it takes me around 2 hours to wash, condition, and detangle, it took me trial and error to decrease that time. I don’t wash/condition/style my hair with free strands; everything must be sectioned. Any addition of water will make my APL hair shrink to a 3 inch afro.

Geniece
Guest

Agreed! My hair is approaching waist length and I spend 4 hours one washing and detangling once every 14 days. With mini twists? no time at all 🙂

maeve
Guest
maeve

Your experience doesn’t equal mine or anyone elses. Some things will take longer or shorter. There’s no shame in that.

EG
Guest
EG

Amen.

EG
Guest
EG

For some of us, it does take a lot of time. The 3 hours it takes me is worth it.

TINA SMITH
Guest
TINA SMITH

I NEEDED TO READ THIS!! I AM PARANOID WHEN I FEEL KNOTS OR DRY HAIR AND I KNOW I AM DOING EVERY THING RIGHT. I DON’T SEE BREAKAGE AND I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT. I ALMOST TRIMMED MY ENDS AFTER DOING IT EARLIER THIS BECAUSE OF KNOTS. WELL I’M OVER IT LOL, MY GOAL IS LENGTH

Wathair
Guest
Wathair

Great article, I agree with all four myths along with the previous commentor’s *Merry” re” natural hair takes a lot of time.

Vonna100
Guest
Vonna100

Thank you! Especially for tip #2. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought my hair was damaged, cut it off, and started all over again. It’s just hard & dry. That’s just what it is & I’m learning to be ok with that. Again, thanks.

Netta
Guest
Netta

All of these are true for me, especially the “dry to the touch” part. My hair simply will not feel like cotton! I have 4B-4C type hair, and I moisturize daily and wash weekly. It is very thick in density with medium to thick wiry strands, different from the fine hair most people associate with my hair type. Lol the only fine hairs I have are around the edges. I also suffer from those pesky single-strand knots and don’t feel the need to constantly try to cut them out. Loved this post!

Ashley F.
Guest
Ashley F.

Great Article! I’ve only been natural for about 5 months and I learned quickly that you do not need a bunch or products or a complicated regimen! I have 5 staple products and a VERY simple hair regimen! And my hair is soft to the touch!!!

Meg
Guest
Meg

Thanks for this! I really needed to hear that first point because I only learnt recently what those pesky knots were called and the anthem to deal with them was always cut them out! Thankfully I used to simply cut that strand as opposed to do a full trim. I usually go through my hair every couple of months, but the thing that saved me was my laziness. I have a lot of hair and it takes a while.

anastasia
Guest
anastasia

Great peice!

B
Guest
B

One of the biggest myths is you can only use ALL NATURAL products!! When Corrine Bailey Rae confessed she you uses Vaseline, naturals around the world were left with their mouths hanging open!

ttemfash
Guest
ttemfash

I agree, if it ain’t broke.

Jack
Guest
Jack

I want to use all natural products (for my hair and anything else) because they’re good for the environment and for my sensitive skin. It’s part of my lifestyle change. It may be a myth, but it works good for some people. I’d never use Vaseline or any kind of grease on my scalp. It would itch like crazy and give me terrible dandruff, not to mention leave everything greasy.

B
Guest
B

Funny, I dont apply any heavy product to my scalp, oils yes, butter & creams no, It clog your hair follicles…

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

I love this post. You hit the nail on the head. I think sometimes people make caring for natural hair more complicated than it has to be. Of course, when you are first learning you will make mistakes and develop misconceptions but in the end you’ll figure out what is and is not a myth.

For me, I don’t use all natural products all of the time but I am swaying more to all natural for my hair care just because it’s simpler. The only NOT all natural products I’ll never give up are:

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration
Aphogee 2 Step Reconstructor

Yoyo
Guest
Yoyo

I totally agree with you about how some make caring for natural so complicated!!! Everyone always tells me they can’t do it b/c it takes so much time! My comeback is always the same.… I spend less time doing my hair than you do waiting for your hair appointment at a salon! Lol!!!

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

Amen to that! I don’t miss going to the salon at all. As a matter of fact I realize that stylists don’t always know it all!

Olie
Guest
Olie

My hair is more likely to break when it’s wet, than when it’s dry. Not a whole lot of breakage just a tiny bit.

df
Guest
df

thank you about SSK’s. I hear people wailing about them and Im confused at why sometimes…

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

Me too! It never occurred to me to work about them. I thought I was the only one who didn’t.

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

work=worry

Mia Eubanks
Guest
Mia Eubanks

Can you please tell me what exactly are you using that only costs 100 yearly that keeps your natural hair maintained?

Geniece
Guest

It took a while but here’s the trick. Buy in bulk. I will say that I wash my hair every 2 weeks. I’d need more product if I washed every week, which isn’t necessary for me. Okay so the products: two bottles of whole leave aloe vera gel ($13), 3–4 bottles of Giovanni leave in ($35) (the big bottle from TJ Max is even cheaper, 2 Trader Joes shampoo & 3 conditioner (i dilute the shampoo water for easy application reduce build up) ($20), styler ($20), deep conditioner ($10) i like ORS replenishing. i don’t DC too often so 2… Read more »

merry
Guest
merry

you can get a 3‑pack of giovanni direct leave in for around $19 at amazon.

or try massagewarehouse.com for less expensive giovanni products.

Jack
Guest
Jack

I don’t know if natural hair is supposed to stay naturally dry, but mine was ’til I found the right combo. of things to use (gylcerin/water/aloe vera juice and coconut oil) to use. I know afro type hair doesn’t produce oil like the others and we have to put oil and moisture in our hair, but it only stays dry if I don’t put stuff on it, or wear it out too often and the sun dries it out.

Jack
Guest
Jack

Also, I agree with natural hair not taking a long time. The longest time I spend on my hair is wash day. It still sings like less work the relaxer, wash, blow dry, and straighten. Styling takes way less time than washing.

FrizzyBobbedCutie
Guest
FrizzyBobbedCutie

Yeah these are all myths to me too. I sleep on cotton pillows without worries and use only soap, Mane n Tales conditioner and shea butter. And lastly I dont use heat except for hot water or steam room heat but I am happy to say that my hair is happy and healthy and grows preeety fast.
Zhe Only problem I have is that my hair shrinks into ear length 3bcurls so i do braid/twist outs that kinda work, but create a lot of frizz, hence my userame :0)

FrizzBeGoneGurl
Guest
FrizzBeGoneGurl

I have used all natural products but I have found that my 3b, 3c curls really like no, no products Hawaiian Silky and S‑Curl for moisture and feels so much better after a bi-weekly poo with Cream of Nature poos than it does after using the Kinky Curly Come Clean poo which leaves my hair feeling over stripped and like straw. I too have the same infuriating issue with shrinkage. My hair is now arm pit length but after a wash it shrinks to just above the shoulder after a wash and go. I do twist & braid outs, i’ve… Read more »

Dolores
Guest
Dolores

I’m glad to see this post. Especially the part about the dryness. I roll my eyes every time I see someone complain about dryness or write about how they moisturize twice per day. Some hair types really are dry by nature; and if you add water and oil to it every five minutes, well, you’ll just have wet, greasy hair!

CSI
Guest
CSI

Great post. I’d like to add: “I would go natural if my hair was like yours”.….I’m glad that I took the plunge and went natural because my hair IS like I never thought it would be and after 2 1/2 years it still amazes me and I love it. I wish more would take the plunge and learn how beautiful their own hair is. The Myth is: only mixed girls can go natural.

Ana
Guest

same here! everyone’s hair has its own beauty.

Tia
Guest
Tia

I agree wholeheartedly on all four myths. I used to live in an idyllic natural hair world until I read an article on SSK…then I started to panic!! I obssessed about them for a while but I eventually let my hair be and it’s fine.I do not have more tangles or breakage than usual. As for products,I rarely follow bandwagons so my products pretty generic.I just make sure I have an all natural moisturizer as well as a good deep condtionner. Other than that, I accept that dryness comes with the territory, I cowash in the middle of the week… Read more »

African Mami
Guest

Myth: Natural hair makes you not want to get a perm ever again.

Truth: I so would not mind getting a perm right about NOW! I’m sooooo TIRED. Like ya’ll, I even read the Bible for inspiration of how to overcome this mighty problem.

I’m not going to, but shiiiiiid.…

FreeFe
Guest
FreeFe

U r so freakin FUNNY!

hhjourney
Guest

Awesome post! Thanks! I had been thinking the same thing. Different strokes for different folks, gotta figure out what works best for YOUR hair.

Stevie
Guest

If I would have listened to all these myths I would probably still be relaxed.

zyaran
Guest
zyaran

Also showing that if you take care of black hair it can grow as long as you want it to, check out this youtuber with all of this gorgeous hair. She recently cut off her TBL plus hair drool worthy :). Songsofjoy143 fellow youtuber.

Lele
Guest
Lele

Moisture is very important to me. I don’t feel the need to baggy (anymore), or keep my hair wet for 16 hours straight, but my tightly coiled hair does need a lot moisture. It just feels better when it is moisturized (not greasy/oily). I love the summer because my glycerin/water mix and a bit of olive oil is all I really need.

Lele
Guest
Lele

Not only does it feel better when it is moisturized, but my hair breaks less. Extremes of wet and dry are what cause breakage for my hair.

DOVE
Guest
DOVE

I don’t use any thing on my hair but,Water and Shampoo (non sulfate) I don’t use hair dryers or anything appliances with heat I use warm water to shampoo. I don’t use creams, oils, gels, pomades, vasoline. I have 75% gray natural and what is considered very 4B or C hair I use my fingers mostly unless I a doing plaits or braid with my own hair. I don’t use heat appliances at all. I never have scalp problems. My 4b hair is soft,clean and product free. I never stain linen, coat collars and couches. I don’t leave greasiness on… Read more »

Christina
Guest
Christina

Wow.…you almost sound critical, Dove.…as if everyone who uses something on their hair is trying to be like other races. Maybe some of us just want the best out of our hair and we need more than water to get that.…Some people sound really self-rightous sometimes. I don’t cover my hair either, and my husband loves to play in it.…and I don’t “Soul Glow” either. lol.…whats good for the goose may not work for the gander.

Lele
Guest
Lele

Hmm, nose in the air?? Everyone can’t use just shampoo and water and still have ‘happy’ hair. Every head of hair is different. Although many products are way expensive, some people do well with purchased products.

And I’ve always hated the assumption that covered hair (on black women) means shame…and what’s with the cotton-picking comment.

Ew, your comment stinks.

B
Guest
B

Interesting I would love to see your 4b/c hair and you only use water! I can only imagine.….umph…

Nana
Guest
Nana

I don’t keep my head covered and tied up like I am about to pick cotton or ashamed to let my man or ANYBODY see the real me.”

Oh okay, me and my Nigerian self will go pick cotton. Seriously. The shade you’re throwing is casting a shadow as big as your ego…

Denisha
Guest

I’m a bit crunchier with my hair than you. I don’t use store made shampoo. ( I use bakingsoda and vinegar with water or acv and water with peppermint oil and sea salt). I use warm water too. I use essential oils very sparingly though. Normally my natural sebum is plenty. I don’t color my hair at all. I don’t use heat appliances at all. (no blow dryer no hot comb no ceramic tiles) I have 4C hair too! I love working out too! But I rarely sweat that hard. It always amazed me how the head wrap looked…odd. Good… Read more »

Julia
Guest

I’m leaving those pesky knots alone!!!
I’ve trimmed off inches of knotted strands yet I never seem to be rid of them.

Landry
Guest
Landry

I am so, so glad what you said about single strand knots…though I really don’t get them much since I started keeping my hair stretched, it’s nice to know that they don’t really cause that much harm. I have women at the mall, at church, at work, at the bank, (everywhere!) stop and ask me about my hair and being natural, and I explain that is really quite simple and not quite as complicated as they imagine. Going into my 9th month natural, I have really simplified my routine. I only use water and whipped shea butter to moisturize throughout… Read more »

Cacey
Guest
Cacey

thank you so much for pointing this out. the crown of my head is very kinky and it feels dry no matter what, unless it is dripping wet. but it’s always been like that, even when my hair was at its healthiest. but i’ve noticed that that section, even though it doesn’t hold moisture at all (or so it feels, anyway) NEVER breaks off. it is also more prone to accruing single strand knots, which actually help me to prevent split ends in that section, because that section is very resilient and never splits. so i’ve learned that it really… Read more »

Pseudonym
Guest
Pseudonym

I have a head of beautiful soft thick curly hair with single-strand knots. And no one can tell that they are there except me. It just comes with the territory, I believe. Definitely not something to stress about or turn you into a slave to protective styles, twist outs, blah blah blah.

trackback

[…] (author unknown) After 7 years of being natural I’ve learned that not everything that seems like good advice will actually work for my hair. There are a number of myths, some that existed in my own mind and others that I heard from outside sources that have been debunked through my experiences. Please keep in mind that what may be a myth to me may actually work for you and vice versa. With that said here are four hair myths that I’ve encountered during my hair journey. […]

trackback

[…] Check out this article over at Black Girl with Long Hair […]

Trini
Guest
Trini

Amen to point #3. I don’t mind sample packs, but to buy a full size product and have it sit in the bath cabinet is not my cup of tea. I learned from two expensive mistakes which were $50 in total. Now I buy on sale and fortify regular conditioners with honey and olive oil. My hair and wallet are both happy.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

THANK YOU!!!!! Myth #3 reminds me of what people said to me when I decided to become vegetarian, going natural is no more expensive than having permed hair and when my hair was relaxed and recently texturised, I didn’t use half of the products people say you’re supposed to use on chemically-treated hair. I agree with you on all the other myths as well and I’ll add one of my own.…. Myth #5 — If you style your own hair it won’t grow as fast as if a stylist does it for you.… new growth four inches and counting and… Read more »

crazy one
Guest
crazy one

uhmm… hours?

lol it takes me 15 minutes tops to wash and detangle my hair… 30 minutes to braid.

trackback

[…] another post I refuted the myth that maintaining natural hair has to be costly. In fact, I even suggested that one could meet their natural hair needs (emphasis on “needs”) […]

Carry
Guest

Great blog article. Keep up the good work BGLH.

Vintage
Guest
Vintage

Glad I read this. The way I’ve been carrying scissors around me all the time to catch and chop these pest SSK’s is ridikalas!

google authorship program
Guest

Howdy! This post couldn’t be written any
better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
He constantly kept talking about this. I’ll send
this article to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read.
Thank you for sharing!

yahoo
Guest

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.

It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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