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?