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4 Natural Hair “Rules” I Don’t Follow and My Hair Does Just Fine

Avatar • Apr 28, 2014

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Style Icon Jess

By Chinwe of Hair and Health

Stay away from silicones.” 

Don’t use products containing petrolatum or mineral oil.”

Rules. Rules. Rules. While they certainly have a place in various parts of society, do we really need them in the natural hair community? Tips, suggestions, and recommendations are one thing. But rules? (I know I’m probably guilty of having regurgitated some.) Here are four that I do not follow:

1. Naturals should moisturize every single day

Every time I see this “rule” I say to myself, “Come on. Not all naturals are the same.”  Having natural hair does not automatically equate to needing to water our hair daily.  To put ourselves in a box like this is to not consider the many varieties of natural that exist. Whether one has to moisturize daily depends on one’s porosity, texture, product choice, environment, and hairstyle routine … just to name a few. So this is a rule I almost always break; there are many times at which I have gone up to two weeks without moisturizing.  My hair generally just doesn’t need the extra moisture.

2. Naturals should use natural products like shea butter, olive oil, etc.

When I went natural, most of my products had to change.  However, it had little to do with the necessity to use only natural products.  It had to do with my hair changing (from chemically relaxed to naturally kinky) as well as my personal preference (preferring more natural products).  As time has gone on, I have gradually become more comfortable with adding a few “not-so-natural” hair care products to my stash.  These include Eco Styler Gel instead of flaxseed gel, ApHogee instead of homemade egg-based conditioners, etc.

3. You cannot call yourself natural if you chemically color or heat straighten your hair

Now, this is a “rule” that is fortunately vanishing but it still does hold firm in certain pockets of the natural hair community.  Even though I have highlighted and heat straightened my hair multiple times in my journey, I still call myself natural.  If that is breaking the “rules” then oh well.  When I went natural it meant (to me, at least) going back to my natural kinks and tossing out the chemical relaxers.  The colorful highlights that I put in my hair do not change that.  The temporary heat-straightened styles that I wear do not change that either.

4. 4B/4C’s should not wear wash-and-gos after a certain length

Say what? No lie, I used to be firm about sticking to this “rule” until I tried Cynthiarf’s method. After that, I became a rebel.  The idea that wash-and-gos will leave all 4B/4C’s with a tangled, matted, “hot” mess is a blanket statement in my honest opinion. This is just not the case for every 4B/4C out there, long-haired or short-haired.  Texture (fine vs. thick strands) and technique (especially) are major factors that come into play.  Oh, and no, technique does not necessarily involve loading gel on one’s natural kinks in an attempt to transform them into defined curls.

 

Ladies, what other natural hair “rules” have you heard?  Are there any that you break?

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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Alisa
Alisa
6 years ago

Off topic: Is anyone else annoyed by the large YouTube ads behind the BGLH articles on here?

Love yourself
Love yourself
6 years ago
Reply to  Alisa

I am annoyed by the banner asking me to subscribe when I already have. It’s hard to close it on my iphone

JAgirl
JAgirl
6 years ago
Reply to  Alisa

YEEESSSSS!!!!!! I’m soooo annoyed. And they aren’t even advertising NATURAL HAIR YOUTUBERS. I mean if I’m getting bombarded by Ads I expect them to be ads of good natural hair YouTube channels. instead their advertising other random YouTube channels.

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  Alisa

If you use Google Chrome you can use Ad Blocker.

Roo
Roo
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

I agree, I use google chrome as blocker and forgot about annoying adverts a long time ago. Get downloading 🙂

PMS
PMS
6 years ago

I used to swear off cones. Now I just clarify on a regular basis.

The one rule I stick to is not every rule is for every body. Gots to do you boo.

straightnochaser
straightnochaser
6 years ago

I used to follow rules 1 and 2 religiously until I had an epiphany. I had run out of my special ‘butter’ and my flax seed gel smelled funny. Why was I following rules I had nothing to do with setting up? I went on a shopping spree and my hair has retained more length the past year. I still use my olive oil, but I also use other products, plus, my hair looks better without all of the ‘moisturizing’ I was putting it through.

Caramelcurls
Caramelcurls
6 years ago

I can relate to number 2! When I first went natural I was bent on using “all natural” products. But no matter what I seemed to do, my hair would not stay moisturized. Additionally, most butters were too heavy and usually the oils left my hair greasy. Finally at the beginning of this year, I incorporated cones (Hello Hydration for co-washing) and the ORS Incredibly Rich Hair Lotion for daily moisture and my hair has never been healthier. It is soft and shiny, and I can touch it without an oil residue being left on my hands. I still use… Read more »

Love JAH
Love JAH
6 years ago

My pockets are thanking me for inventing my own rules for my relaxer free hair…I’m to the point, I’m no longer calling myself natural because some of us are out of line…I use silicones and sulphate. I will only buy garnier fructis sleek and shine line because it works and it’s cheap!!!! Do I still ACV rinse? Yes. Do I still hot oil treat with jbco? Yes. But that’s where the ‘I’m natural and special treatment’ ends…I blow dry every wash day…I like bouncy big hair and found that wet setting twist and avoiding heat yielded stiff and dry hair…… Read more »

Aly
Aly
6 years ago

Half these rules I never even heard of. Anyway, the rule that I break is that I use heavy butters like shea on my fine strands. My high is high porosity and I need to apply a leave-in and heavy butter on soaking wet hair to retain moisture for more than a few days.

JenniD
JenniD
6 years ago

I think these “rules” kinda coincide with length obsession. A lot of these rules became the law because somebody with long natural hair said this is the way i.e all natural products, no wash n gos for us 4b/c chicks and certainly no heat and color. I think many are willing to do any and everything to grow their hair so they latch on to these “rules” like they are the gospel. Lol. Its all about experimentation and having your own hair philosophy and having enough respect to tolerate and not judge others in what they do to their own… Read more »

Michelle F.
Michelle F.
6 years ago

I use petroleum jelly mixed with mineral oil and glycerine on my scalp because no mixture of natural oils stops my scalp from drying out in the a/c at work which is usually set to ‘freezing’ as far as I am concerned. [The a/c isn’t set for you, it’s for the equipment! Load of @#%$**@#$# crap!]. I moisturise when my hair needs it. Sometimes that happens once a week, sometimes twice a week, sometimes every other day… my hair is very cranky it lets me know when it wants moisture! And yes, I do this to type 4 hair and… Read more »

tinycurls
tinycurls
6 years ago

I still believe that natural hair is any hair that is grown from your scalp…regardless of it’s virgin or chemically-treated. You grew it, it’s natural. I came up during a time when hair extensions were becoming so commonplace that if you had any sort of length to your hair, you could expected to be questioned about its authenticity. So when the fellas asked if that was my hair, I would always say this is my natural hair, but I relax it…or this is my natural hair but I flat iron it. The term “natural hair” had not yet been redefined… Read more »

Kinks ft. Curls
Kinks ft. Curls
6 years ago
Reply to  tinycurls

Love your comment (why all the down votes? *confused*)
Where I’m from, to some people, natural hair just means without extentions/weave/clip-ins.
So when I said I was going natural people just assumed I wouldn’t wear ‘fake’ hair anymore but continue to relax.

Natural hair’ is too open-ended a term to have ONE universal definition. So let’s stop trying to give it one.
Rather let’s ask each other what we individually define natural to mean.

This arti

Kinks ft. Curls
Kinks ft. Curls
6 years ago

[Sorry. Misbehaving fingers] cont.…This article is about breaking these set rules. But once you define something for yourself there are no rules to break.

tinycurls
tinycurls
6 years ago

Are everyone’s comments awaiting moderation or just mine?

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  tinycurls

It’s everyone’s. I hate waiting for people’s thoughts and ideas to show up, but I don’t think BGLH had much of a choice after that trolling fiasco. Applause for dealing with the issue! Also, I love how now there aren’t anymore spambots with jumbled English trying to sell apartments 🙂

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago

I don’t use water everyday either. Sometimes it just tangles my hair more. I use a little Shea butter but I don’t use Shea Moistures for some reason my hair just does not like that brand. I totally LOVE my ECHO GEL and my Aphoghee leave in spray when I need protein. Well I think as long as the hair is coming out of your scalp its your natural hair to a point. HOWEVER… is it the hair that was part of your original ethnicity no not all the time, but then I see “naturals” walking around with blonde hair.… Read more »

Cici
Cici
6 years ago

I love this article! I agree, do what works best for your hair. Honestly, I feel like many of the “Natural hair” brands are waaay too expensive. I’m sick of disrespecting my wallet, so I use whatever works for me and pay no attention to these so called rules. I know women who have been natural for years before many of these brands existed and they have very long hair. You just have to do what works for you. I do however stay away from heat. And yes the HUGE ad is annoying! I love this site tho!

Amanda
Amanda
6 years ago

I do not moisturize everyday, shea and my hair are not friends, and life is too short to let other people tell you what to do with your hair. Because returning to my natural texture was apart of my decision to “clean up” my lifestyle, I prefer for my products to be mostly natural, but give myself a price limit and a product limit. By keeping my stash small/simple, the extra price of these products works well with my budget. I tried to be cheap the past couple of months and my hair showed it. Do what works best for your… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago

1. Everyone should just moisturize whenever they feel their hair needs it. That could vary highly depending on your location and the season. Sure, some folks don’t need moisture everyday. But some folks also live in high humidity areas like the Caribbean 🙂 2. Naturals should use whatever works on their hair and scalp. My skin is sensitive, and my scalp (and face) breaks out in nasty cystic acne when I use products with a high percentage of mineral oil/petroleum. Those products just aren’t for me, but I bet there are some ladies who would die without the ORS lines. 3. I’m… Read more »

Deedeemaha
Deedeemaha
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I view going natural like going vegetarian. There are several “levels” of vegetarianism, or types of vegetarian. Starting from the most restrictive and working our way down to the types of vegetarian like: Vegan Ovo Vegetarian Lacto-ovo vegetarian Flexitarian etc. I am in agreement with the writer in regard to, going natural for me was freeing myself from the routine relaxers treatments. I did this for the health of “my” hair. Many people are making heathy food changes, and hair routine changes. The key is finding the group or lifestyle that motivate you to continue your journey. Knowing that it’s ok… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Deedeemaha

Hey, I really like that analogy! I really liked this article too…it’s always good to emphasize that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Lauryn
Lauryn
6 years ago

I agree with the other comments — do you, boo! I started out with “the rules” because they are a good guide when you’ve just embarked on the natural journey, but after a couple of months, I knew what my hair needed and didn’t need. I detangle from root to tip, sometimes I use my denman brush, and I don’t protective style a whole lot — yet I VERY rarely ever find a split end or SSK. With that said, I know I need to bonnet my hair every night, re-twist my hair at the nape of my neck where… Read more »

luminous
luminous
6 years ago

The rule that I break is I don’t sleep with a satin scarf or pillow case. I sleep on a regular cotton pillow case with my hair loose…

Cheryl
Cheryl
6 years ago

I say use what works for you. I make my own shea butter twisting cream, flaxseed gel, and oil blend. I also cleanse my scalp with ACV and homemade mud wash (thanks to Naptural 85). I also incorporate ECO styling gel to help hold and define my curls and twists. My hair is doing great…you just do what works for you…the only rules that apply are the ones that work for you.

Ash
Ash
6 years ago

A lot if the naturals who follow all of these rules and are strictly natural are bald headed though. I mean you have these strict naturals documenting their hair journey on blogs and they boast about collecting rain water, grinding berries, mixing natural butters, no heat ever, etc. and they still have short hair with chewed up ends that hasn’t gained any length in the course of a year. Moisturizing everyday might be too much manipulation or all of those strict rules are ultimately futile, I don’t know…

ziggy
ziggy
6 years ago

Who said that these are rules in the first place? Many bloggers, youtubers and people on hair boards share their regimens but do they actually say it’s a rule that all naturals should follow? If something works for someone it’s up to us to apply common sense when we attempt to experiment with different products and hair care practices.

silkynaps
silkynaps
6 years ago

Hair rule or not, two are just good ideas. The other two are whatever. 1. Naturals should moisturize every single day. most of us do require daily moisture for our hair, but it doesn’t have to be deliberate moisturizing. I have chronically dry hair; so, I moisturize every day and condition every 2–3 days. Others may live in humid areas, some use shower steam, etc. etc. 2. Naturals should use natural products like shea butter, olive oil, etc. Everyone should be concerned about ingredients. We are being poisoned with parabens, phytoestrogens, and petrochemicals. Black women are more susceptible to illnesses because pre-market… Read more »

Deedeemaha
Deedeemaha
6 years ago
Reply to  silkynaps

I totally agree with #2. I’m about being as healthy as I can if it’s in my power to do so. I use to think to go healthy was costly, until I start noticing that once I eliminated and stop purchasing the bad stuff I noticed a balancing effect in my budget. Example: coming off sodas and all carbonated drinks, red meat, pork : (, made room for natural hair products. Lol

.T.
.T.
6 years ago

Most of these rules never worked for me. When i first started taking care of my hair, i used raw shea butter on my twist outs and braid outs, like i saw many other naturals do. I just ended up looking like a big grease ball and my skin broke out. Not for me. My hair appreciates silicones and i use a sulphate shampoo when i wash and flat iron my 4bc hair on a low heat setting, weekly. I’m curious about how much length I can retain and i find heat works for me. My hair still reverts just… Read more »

DestiniUK
DestiniUK
6 years ago

You should do what is suitable for your hair. My hair doesn’t like coconut oil-it leaves it tought. I tried the whole apple cider vinegar rinse-hair hated that. Also tried to get with henna-left my hair hard and dry. It’s all trial and erro but eventually you will find what YOUR hair likes.

ME
ME
6 years ago

I find pure mineral oil to be one of the best sealants around!

Vera
Vera
6 years ago
Reply to  ME

One of my favorite pomades has mineral oil, and it does my hair well.

CJ
CJ
6 years ago

I don’t protective style and I’ve still managed to grow my hair to waist length.

Miss T
Miss T
6 years ago
Reply to  CJ

You 3c girls always showing off! I’m just playing around 🙂

ja
ja
6 years ago

I think going natural just means your hair is chemical free. Using heat on your hair doesn’t mean your hair is not natural. The bottom line is do what works for your hair. Who cares what other people think.

Alycia
Alycia
6 years ago

Most of these rules, I have broken too. Especially straying away from natural products. Don’t get me wrong, I still FAITHFULLY stand by shea butter & olive/coconut oil. But I no longer spend time making my own conditioners and shampoos anymore. Yes, they’re natural and I know exactly what’s going on my hair but any of the natural conditioners and such I’ve tried, don’t get my hair as soft as some store bought conditioners I buy. Which in turns causes more breakage for me when it comes to detangling and such because my hair is stiffer. I still use homemade… Read more »

Jumoke
6 years ago

hmmm I had a different experience when it came to moisturizing. A lot of advice I see for kinky hair naturals is to NOT moisturize everyday due to the high level of shrinkage and tangling. I believe that this piece of advice set me back in my journey because after a year I started experiencing major breakage at the ends of my hair and my length stayed stagnant for a while. Then it hit me that kinkier hair would require MORE moisture due to its naturally dry state. When I see people’s hair outside 4b/4c it’s a DRASTIC difference. The… Read more »

nappy headed black girl

I’ve been breaking these rules for years lol

The natural hair “rule” is shea butter as the holy grail/perfect product for every natural. It’s heavy and greasy and I don’t particularly care for it.

Brittany.L
6 years ago

I’ve never heard the 4a/4n’s shouldn’t wear wash n go’s after a certain length interesting.

Check Out http://www.curlskinksfashion.com for Fashion & Natural Hair Fun!!!!

Tissa
Tissa
6 years ago
Reply to  Brittany.L

I have 4z (looool) medium size hair and the last time I attempted a wash and go resulted in lots of breakage.In order to keep length I need to constantly keep my hair stretched.Wash outs = shrinkage = breakage !This is my hair.

Thetruthisoutthere
Thetruthisoutthere
6 years ago

I just wanted to put my two cents in on Number #4. If someone reads my post and gets something out of it — I will be happy. 🙂 I use GEL on my WNG. I have tried many puddings and crèmes and they DO NOT WORK for my tightly coiled TWA. I have 4c (L‑O cottony) hair, fine strands with medium density. I WNG my TWA with GEL. I don’t use leave ins because they leave a cloudy ‘cast’ and flake when dry. I apply oil or shea-coconut butter daily after my hair is dry. I mist in the morning to… Read more »

lockstress
lockstress
6 years ago

I CANNOT keep my hair tied in a silk scarf. I sleep like a wild bangee and the scarf is off my head. I done tried it all. Pillows on the floor…just fighting in my sleep…lol

ChaNita
6 years ago

I’m so glad you wrote this article. I’m so sick and tired of the “guru” rules. Just because something worked for you, doesn’t mean it will work for me and vice-versa. People need to learn to do what works for them and their hair.

Skye
Skye
6 years ago

Not saying it’s wrong to break the rules. But the rules are around for a reason. It’s because many women made similar observations and over the course of time, these observations were to be held true for many people (read: not all people). As with anything in life, not just hair care, it’s always good to figure out what works for you, but it doesn’t hurt if you have some idea of what works and doesn’t work for a lot of people. That said, I’ve always felt the “rules” were meant more for newbies to help guide them as they… Read more »

DeeFlowers
DeeFlowers
6 years ago

This is a good article. I moisturize twice a week maybe…depends on the style. I use a combination of natural and regular products. I use a regular conditioner, with some oils added in. I do not have time to make my own concoctions sometimes, but they work just fine for my hair. As for the wash n’ go…if it works, go with it. I haven’t tried a wash and go in about a year and I have 4b/4C hair but its hit or miss for me depending on the gel, weather, and products used.

Do What Works For Your Hair!

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

I don’t moisturize daily either. My hair just doesn’t require moisturizing more than once a week, other than wash day. I’m also #teamsilicone. Without my cones, my hair would be a tangled mess. I love them and I’m not giving them up EVER. And they love me too. That’s why they don’t build up and block out moisture 🙂 My cones and my moisture play nicely woop!!

Seriously though, everyone needs to find out what works for their own hair. While some naturals may not be able to tolerate certain ingredients like silicones, it’s certainly not written in stone for all

Danielle
Danielle
6 years ago

I don’t use shea butter at all. I tried to when I first start transitioning it didn’t do me any justice thought so I left it alone.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

I am 24 & have had my hair chemically straightened since I was about 6.. I feel like I am becoming a different person on this journey and it’s scary. I was told if I wanted to wear my hair curly it had to be in braids or other styles similar. It’s pretty devastating cuz I never learned how to braid my hair. So far it seems like I have what seems to be the dreaded 4c so I’m struggling. But I’m finding that coconut oil keeps my hair hydrated and I only need to do it every other day… Read more »

Imani-Ife
Imani-Ife
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

Dreaded 4c”? Please tell me you are trolling and you aren’t serious?

Sibo
Sibo
6 years ago

I started my natural journey as a youtube addict, then I saw my hair start to drastically shed and I decided to take it back to ol’school, I do make my own hair oil which I use daily but I pick my hair out and it works for me while I rehabilitate it. I used henna the first time and it was amazing but the second time really dried my hair but because the henna feels nice I will just reduce that process to once in a blue moon! Now I also embrace my shrinkage and do not pull on… Read more »

nise
nise
6 years ago

I’m glad I read this article because I am 18 years old and have only read articles that state the only way I can have natural hair is if I do the big chop. For me, I thought going natural was just saying no to getting perms. Its nice to know that someone else agrees with this mentality as well for once!

Fo
Fo
6 years ago

Cynthiarf is a God-send. I’m so happy I found her when I first started out.

Yas
Yas
6 years ago

Girl, s‑curl and I are tight. I don’t care what nobody say. I put down the $17 devs curl spray, picked up the $5 s‑curl and my hair is happy.

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