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3 of the Biggest Natural Hair Mistakes I Made in 2013

Avatar • Jan 3, 2014

by Sabrina of Seriously Natural

Natural hair mistakes of 2013

I am a big believer of learning from your mistakes.  I feel the best way to keep from repeating mistakes is owning them and then moving on. I did not have many Natural hair mistakes in 2013 but the ones I had were doosies worth mentioning and I am vowing to never do them again.  Learn from your mistakes so that you may not repeat them, right?  Right!

Trimming hair with any old scissors lying around the house

Natural hair mistakes of 2013

Blasphemy, I know, but I am admitting I would grab whatever I could find and that was usually what my son was using for his for school projects or what I kept in the kitchen.  BIG MISTAKE and an even bigger mistake is to keep quiet and assume all scissors are the same.

The right scissors are key to a great curly cut. Scissors made for fabric or paper won’t give hair a precise cut.  In fact, these and other inferior scissors can actually fray the ends because they tend to be duller than hairdressing scissors.  Dull scissors will make a gnawing or grinding sound when you cut and can require that you cut your curls a couple of times to get through the hair because they will latch and pull.  curly girl, the Handbook

Using the proper tools for your hair matters. Even though I knew this, I wasn’t using that logic and suffered as a result with frayed or raggedy ends.  I broke down and headed over to Sally’s and spent about $30 on a good pair of shears. I used a 15% coupon so the price would not make me keel over.

Trimming hair when wet

Natural hair mistakes of 2013

Wet hair
Natural hair mistakes of 2013

Dry hair
See how my hair looks wet compared to dry?  There is a difference and that difference counts especially if you want to cut it and allow the curls to fall as they may when they are dry.  Cutting our hair while wet is a bad idea.

With curly hair, the curl range is much higher from wet to dry,” explained Ana, meaning the difference between how the curls lay wet versus how they lay dry is so vast. But when hair is wet, Arturo told us, “you’re stretching the hair and you’re cutting it all to one length. And when the curls find their way in to their own pattern, some curls are curlier than others.” The result? An uneven, imprecise cut.http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Lorraine Massey stresses this in her book, Curly girl: The Handbook as well; so this is not anything new or unheard of.  If a stylist cannot cut your hair while dry, find another!  I now place my hair in twists and cut after it has completely dried.  I’ve been seeing much better ends and hair this way.

Wetting my hair without adding anything

Stupid, stupid, STUPID!!!  I don’t know what crawled up my butt in early part of 2013 and told me I could do that but I regretted it the next time I got in the shower and tried to get through that mess!  I must have read some article from a straight-haired woman because I just jumped in the shower, wet my hair thoroughly and got out like I was grown.

I was almost in tears as I fought (as gently as I could) through the tangles.  I know I used an entire bottle of conditioner to get through my hair and I know I ripped many hairs out of my head that day.  I ended up frustrated all because I was lazy or just plain gullible into believing I could do that and survive.  All I can say is know your hair, your limitations and your reality.  Conditioner is your friend!

I am a big believer in mistakes being gateways to learning.  Nothing or no one is a waste of time if you learned something from it.  Take my mistakes and laugh and learn.  They are silly and downright stupid but I know they have made me wiser in the end.

What were your biggest Natural hair mistakes of 2013?

Sabrina is a freelance writer, full-time blogger at www.seriouslynatural.org and the owner of Seriously Natural Boutique where she creates beautiful clothing for Women of Color.  She’s a lover of all things natural and her blog’s focus is on Natural hair, beauty and style. A mother of two teens, she became natural at 35 and has enjoyed documenting her journey on her blog while taking care of a family. 

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FlynFab
FlynFab
6 years ago

Nice article. I wet my hair without adding any product and I don’t have any more tangles than I do when I used to add product before wetting. That being said, I do quickly finger detangle to remove shed hair, about 15 minutes of this, on dry hair before I get in the shower to wash, but that’s it. Everyone’s head is different, but I found removing the shed hair first works.

Sabrina
6 years ago
Reply to  FlynFab

It would be so nice if there was on special way to do our hair and it would be gorgeous all the time. Some days my hair acts a fool no matter what I do!

Deb
Deb
6 years ago
Reply to  Sabrina

or we could work to redefine our narrow definitions of what gorgeous hair is.

Don't worry
Don't worry
6 years ago

My biggest mistake of being natural was thinking that my hair would be like the girls in the YouTube tutorials. Beating myself up wondering why my hair isn’t like theirs. Using the same products with crazy different results on my end. It just hurts no matter how many people go natural it’s always going to be my biggest insecurity just because the awkward feedback. It’s uncomfortable but I can’t give in.. I’ll learn to love it & then maybe everyone else will(:

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago
Reply to  Don't worry

I know what you mean. When girls say, just shake it out. I would shake it out until I had whip lash and my hair would hardly budge. I seriously thought that I had done something wrong with my hair cause my hair wouldn’t shake. I had coils and curls like them and it wouldn’t shake! WHY?! Then it would lay right I wanted the curls and coils to look like some of the naturals I saw on youtube or in natural adds and it wasn’t happening.Finally I gave it up and last week when I washed my hair I… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
6 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

maybe you should change your attitude. Does good, healthy beautiful hair mean hair that can “shake out”? Maybe you should just look for it to look full, healthy, moisturized and shiny. To be soft and easy to comb, to not break and be able to retain length, to look decent when you style it. Many black women still have a long way to go, cause too many are still wishing they had hair they can “whip”, or that “lays” or that has a “defined curl”. Why not just appreciate the beauty you have, which all the woman who have what… Read more »

Sabrina
6 years ago
Reply to  Don't worry

This journey is a very personal one. No two heads are the same and sometimes we can get caught up in what others are using and wanting their results. Loving your hair is all we can do and listen to it to determine what will work.

ManeOriginsHair
6 years ago
Reply to  Don't worry

I experienced the same thing when I went natural. I first started back in like 2007 and the only YouTube tutorials really out were with 3C and tracee ellis ross type hair textures. I thought I could do the wash and go just like them. I tried everything from a “silkner” to naturalxer all trying to get that curly wash and go look. I was so insecure about my hair for a long time and didn’t think natural was for me.…Until I found what worked for my hair and I felt beautiful in it. For me it was twist outs… Read more »

JENNID
JENNID
6 years ago

My biggiest mistake was not detangling properly. I was trying to exclusively finger detangle. Worked great for a few months but as my hair grew it was not happening. I know finger detangle as needed through out the week and the wide tooth comb comes out on wash day for a detailed detangling session. Much much better. The other was trying to go back to silicone based conditioners. Know I know why I let them go. Artificial moisture. That “slip” is a liar. Making you think your hair is silky and soft. Then it dries into a buildup nightmare. I… Read more »

Sabrina
6 years ago
Reply to  JENNID

Girl, I am with you! Silicone are a liar and a thief! they will steal all of your moisture. LOL

Ashley
Ashley
6 years ago
Reply to  JENNID

Everything you say is true for me as well. I find that finger detangling daily with grapeseed oil ONLY on dry hair works the best for me. My hair is so much more detangled come wash day. I wear a wash-and-go seven days a week, so keeping detangling and single-strand knots to a minimum is important to me. I have also found that silicone conditioners are not the best for my hair. I was off them for a while, and I recently started again, and I do think that they contribute to build-up. Now, I use sparingly. It’s just not what I… Read more »

Sabrina
6 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

I’m with you. Silicones are not my friend and I steer clear of them. I also wear a wash and go most of the time so I make sure to use products that do not have cones or parabens.

LovingMe2
LovingMe2
6 years ago

My biggest mistake was getting my hair straightened…I had heat damage in several areas of my head & now some parts of my hair are shorter since cutting off the majority of the damage. If I do get my hair straightened again I’m going to a natural hair salon…a $25 price difference is nothing in comparison to msintaining the health of my hair.

Knotty Natural
6 years ago
Reply to  LovingMe2

Speaking from experience, if you do decide to go to a natural stylist, be sure she’s shown and proved (on other heads but yours) that she knows what she’s doing! They will say they can do hair (for the money it brings) but will eff your hair up too!

Pat
Pat
6 years ago

My biggest mistake was using the quote natural products. They didn’t make my hair look better had to go way back to the old school products and my hair has never looked and felt better. This was costly but I know better now going forward.

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago

My mistake is that I would follow and listen to naturals that didn’t have my hair texture. My experience is my experience and only I know my hair, so even if someone says don’t do this only do this. If it doesn’t work with my hair then that’s it. Another one was buying every natural product that claimed that it would do this that and the other to my hair. Now I have a cabinet full of products. Other than that I didn’t make too many mistakes.

TWA4now
TWA4now
6 years ago

So true! I am still learning what to do and not do…year journey never ends. Have a HHJ!

Knotty Natural
6 years ago

My biggest mistake was allowing a woman to do my hair who I discovered had NO idea how to handle natural hair! As a result, my hair on one side is thinner in the back and I have to cut it. My hair is thick enough to disguise it, but I have just decided to do a big chop!

Sabrina
6 years ago
Reply to  Knotty Natural

Sometimes we don’t know someone is full of crap until after they have messed us up. Just chalk it up as a lesson learned.

tasha fierce
tasha fierce
6 years ago

my biggest mistake was trying to keep up with conflicting hair care regimens.

luminous
luminous
6 years ago

I only made one mistake this year. I used an unripened avocado in my homemade conditioner. It took forever to wash out and I had to use shampoo. Other than that, my hair was perfect.

the mane captain
6 years ago

i started trimming on dry hair last year, and i must say that trimming was easier because I didnt have to fight with shrinkage since my hair was partly stretched. my biggest mistake was trimming too much. 2013 was the year of hair trims for my hair. no wonder my hair retained less length!
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

TS
TS
6 years ago

My mistake was not trimming since my big chop last january.

My ends are looking ham, but i dont want to cut my length 🙁

Jesse
Jesse
6 years ago
Reply to  TS

Cut it! Your hair will look so much better!!! Get it professionally done though. I waited too long to get a hair cut, and my ends were raggedy. I couldn’t even enjoy my hair because the ends made every style look off. Cut those ends and set your naps free.

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  TS

Do it… My biggest mistake this past year was that I went from January until literally the last week of December without a trim. I thought I was fine but when I started experiencing extra tangles and knotting with my coily ‘fro in November I thought maybe I’d finally reached a length where I’d have to give it up. 🙁 It didn’t occur to me that maybe the problem was that I hadn’t trimmed in so long. So I put my hair into small twists and snipped the end off each twist. Now I’ve entered 2014 with new life in… Read more »

Jesse
Jesse
6 years ago

A mistake I made was trying a silicone product for a few weeks over the summer. I was using all natural products for over a year, but I wanted that extra slip and ease of detangling. Aussie moist caused me to have dull hair and scalp build up. The slip was unbelievable but so was the itchiness, and I don’t even use much product at all. What’s worse is that the conditioner would make my skin itch as it washed down my body. Once your body gets used to using natural products, those silicones and sulfates really don’t mix well.… Read more »

Sabrina
6 years ago
Reply to  Jesse

I agree 100%. I have learned a long time ago that my hair responds negatively to anything not natural. It’s not worth the headache.

Sonya Freeman
Sonya Freeman
6 years ago

1. I live in the UK not the US where your wonderful product selection is less than available unless imported. My biggest mistake is always waiting until the products in my cabinet have one good wash day left in them, going to my regular Dutch site to order more Qhemet or As I Am and finding out that they are out of stock. 2. Relying on non UK made products. I’m too scared to try UK ones as the ingredients are a lot more simple or often geared to curly heads. However, the shipping costs and inflated product prices irritate me… Read more »

Nancy
Nancy
6 years ago
Reply to  Sonya Freeman

Try britishcurlies or gidore. They have free shipping if you buy a certain amount!

Sonya Freeman
Sonya Freeman
6 years ago
Reply to  Nancy

I know both of these. BC never really stocked too many great brands for non curly hair and they got hit by the EU regulations so they now sell a lot of less than natural brands compared to when they first started. They have Shea Moisture but the British winter climate isn’t suited to glycerine heavy moisturisers. I used to buy my KBB there but it was discontinued both there and at nexrastore due to the new regs. I use Hair 9 and Gidore for As I Am CoWash and guess what? As I Am CoWash has been out of… Read more »

Sara
Sara
6 years ago
Reply to  Sonya Freeman

I assure you that Canada sucks more than Europe when it comes to product viarety and availability, especially where I live. Everything is so expensive too, so I feel your pain!

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

In 2013 i learned that i need a protein spray for my hair and need to spray it in every other day or else my hair will shed tremendously. I have fine hair so protein is soooo important to add in my regimen and the aphogee green tea reconstructor my staple, and its pretty good!

Hansy
Hansy
6 years ago

My biggest mistake was buying a bunch of products that I ended up not using. I wasted so much money at the beginning.

krokan
krokan
6 years ago

Yea my biggest mistake was over trimming. It was as if I was possessed every time I washed my hair I felt the need to neaten up my ends. In the end I had to hide the scissors.
http://www.shop.kinksandall.com

Hyspin
Hyspin
6 years ago

My Top 5 biggest mistakes was. 5. Forgetting my edges because they are in styling and maintenance. 4. Moisturizing infrequently through dry seasons (autumn and winter) 3. Procrastinating on my trim. 2. Wearing buns/ponytails too often or as a protective styles knowing they are WORST protective hairstyle for me. 1. Relying to others definition what “normal healthy haircare” rather than what suits me. I realize later this year most people advice couldn’t too me because they didn’t understand my hair growth is only 3 inches a year rather than the norm 6 inches. They also didn’t know that I live in a country… Read more »

Hyspin
Hyspin
6 years ago
Reply to  Hyspin

silly smartphone

corrections
…forgetting my edges because they are short in my styling and maintenance.
…most peoples advice couldn’t relate to me…
…possible symptoms…

Sara
Sara
6 years ago
Reply to  Hyspin

Weaning myself off of hair websites is one of my goals too.

youngin girl
youngin girl
6 years ago

Well This is my third year being Natural so I’m not fully there yet. I do have a few. I’m only 18 so I can relate in some way since I have read some comments and experiences. I know what to do now. I do agree with once commenter about trying to achieve a style from a tutorial that does not work on your texture and buying products without knowing what to buy the best for your texture. 1) Trying to follow a tutorial you saw on youtube to make on your hair without the right products to make it… Read more »

Mimi
Mimi
6 years ago

1. i bought “special” hair scissors from Superdrugs here in the UK, it’s by babyliss and it has a guard on it so i don’t accidentally pick it up and starting cutting up everything else with it. 2. I bought a SILK charmeuse pillowcase and will soon be buying a silk charmeuse bonnet. Why? i researched and found out “satin” isn’t a fabric but a finish (a kind of weave) and the “satin” bonnets and scarves found in stores are not some high quality material (£1.99 so what else was i expecting) but polyester and nylon, polyester is oleophilic, it absorbs… Read more »

ManeOriginsHair
6 years ago

In the beginning my biggest mistakes were;
1.Not accepting shrinkage and still trying to use heat all the time to maintain length.
2. Not using naturally based products and still trying to use traditional ones
3. Making my hair care routine way toooooo complicated.

Natalia
Natalia
6 years ago

The biggest mistake I made in 2013 (and throughout the course of my natural journey) was not getting a personal hair cut. I did my own chop almost 3 years ago and my own maintenance trims and stayed away from stylists because every natural I meant was very anti-salon, anti-stylists. I was in a rut and got a DevaCut in November and it made a huge difference!!!! I’m not trying to plug the DevaCut, but I went in thinking I was going to come out with 3″ gone and came out with 1″ cut. My stylish was great and I… Read more »

Natalia
Natalia
6 years ago
Reply to  Natalia

*professional

Shelly_Shelle
Shelly_Shelle
6 years ago

USING STORE PRODUCTS MARKETED TO NATURALS: Many of the products marketed to naturals have very dangerous toxins. LESSON LEARNED: Mix my own solutions using natural ingredients. NOT UNDERSTANDING MY TEXTURE: I was looking straight-up cray in 2013 with my mismatch twistouts due to my multi-textured hair, and my denial that there was such a thing. LESSON LEARNED: Acceptance. I may have to tease the top of my head to match the bottom for a unified look. WRITING 4‑PAGE LETTERS ENCLOSED WITH A KISS OR DISS: LOL! Yes, my comments on BGLH in 2013 were looonggg. LESSON LEARNED: TBD » Happy… Read more »

shy scarlett
6 years ago

My biggest mistake was when my white friend told me you should wash your hair everyday. I knew nothing about natural hair so I did it. BIG disaster!!!!

Sequitta
Sequitta
6 years ago

My biggest hair mistake was wearing braids for an extended amount of time as a protective style but not detangling before I washed when I took them out. Complete mental lapse that resulted in me losing more hair when I finally did detangle because it got even more tangled and matted when I washed it PLUS I had to detangle my hair soaking wet! Completely defeated the purpose of the protective style! 🙁

Trainee Rapunzel
Trainee Rapunzel
6 years ago

Oh where do I start! My mistakes to date are: protein overload, (nearly 2 inches of breakage using aphogee)box braid extensions on an already fragile hairline, megatek, (protein overload)protective styles for two weeks or less, washing my hair loose… I have learned my lessons. Bring on 2014 🙂

Rimi
6 years ago

1. Not detangling for 5–6 weeks while wearing twists, braids. ugh!

2. Detangling IN THE SHOWER after not having detangled for 5–6 weeks.

3. Continuing to use products that contain panthenol. Though, I quickly learned my lesson!

curlyBlue
curlyBlue
6 years ago

1. Make my routine complicated. Simple seems best.
2. Buying every “hot” product out there. Cheaper products work best on my hair.
3. Not sealing my moisture. Just water and go.
4. Not washing my hair enough. Every two weeks wasn’t cutting it.
5. Not finger detangling (started using my fingers in September. My hair is growing. Yay me)

dee
dee
6 years ago

1) Protective styling too long = detangling nightmare
2) Dry detangling = breakage
3) Not babying my ends = less length retention

I will be sure to reverse these in 2014 so i can reach my BSL goal

TW
TW
6 years ago

wetting hair with no products? i do that with no issues. i think something is wrong with my hair bc so many ppl keep talking about detangling, etc and I don’t have to. maybe mine isnt long enough yet.

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  TW

I could wet my hair and go all the time when my hair was about 4 inches long.…or at least, I thought I could. Once my hair got past the TWA phase, plain water just wouldn’t cut it anymore, and when I tried, my fro said “NOPE.”

Of course, you could just have hair that ONLY likes water.…I remember a style icon on her like that.…http://bglh-marketplace.com/2013/04/tabitha-3bc-natural-hair-style-icon/

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

here*

Diyo
Diyo
6 years ago

My biggest mistakes were texlaxing my beautiful shoulder length hair and having to start over again with a twa. Then after I finally got a few good inches of growth, I decided to get box braids to retain it and they pulled all my edges out! Even after I asked for them not to be braided. I look like Lebron James at the moment.…my hair did not have a good year.

Wazakauye
6 years ago

Being a product junkie

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