While it’s great to see an increasing number of women embrace the beauty of their coily hair, I sometimes worry that many of the hair struggles these women are dealing with will eventually force them to give in and go back to their “stress free” straight hair. I empathize with these women because many of them had relaxed hair from a very young age so they really don’t know what their curly hair feels like and how it should behave when allowed to grow out. The comments and hair issues I’ve encountered from women on hair forums proves that they could have a Straight Hair Mentality (SHM). A straight hair mentality holds many women back from enjoying their curly hair. Many of them will even go undercover with “protective styles” as the feel it’s the only way they can “control” their “unruly hair”.
If you truly want to enjoy your natural hair while it grows long and healthy, you should watch out for the signs of SHM listed below and begin to accept that your naturally coiled hair will not behave the same way your chemically straightened hair did. Also understand that with trial, error and experience, you will eventually start to see the benefits of coily hair.
Signs you have a Straight Hair Mentality
1. You find your hair to be unmanageable and unruly
2. You relax your edges and parts of your hair so your weaves and other “straight hair friendly” hairstyles will look neat
3. You don’t understand why wash days takes longer and you try to shorten it by all means
4. You heat straighten your natural hair daily so that it can blend in with your straight weave
5. You don’t understand why your coily hair wouldn’t hold up styles you use to wear when your hair was straight.
6. You try to get your natural hairstyles to be silky smooth
7. Shrinkage bothers you because it doesn’t show the true length of your hair and it doesn’t give your hair “the flow” you use to have with straight hair.
8. You use the same tools you used on your straight hair
9. You comb your hair as if it’s straight, that is, you use a small comb, you comb dry hair, you comb from roots to tips, you try to rush combing, you comb your coily hair daily and as often as you would normally comb your straight hair.
10. You don’t understand why your hair takes forever to be completely dry after a wash
11. Smooth edges are a priority and you keep looking for a way to eliminate frizz
12. You do hairstyles that are only straight hair friendly and you use the wrong hair extensions. It’s best to use Marley hair when you do Senegalese twist because if other types of hair (like Kanekalon) are used your hair will eventually revert in the braids and start to look messy.
13. You keep wishing you could relax your hair or you keep your hair straight most of the time
If you want to enjoy your hair, it’s crucial that you you replace your straight hair mentality with a coily hair mentality.
Do you identify with any of these signs? Have you ever had a SHM? How did you manage to deal with them?
The Mane Captain is a blog run by Adeola, a Toronto based natural hair advocate who empowers women with the knowledge needed to take control of their hair. She also holds regular meet ups in and around Toronto where Naturals can network and support each other while on the journey.