This article was going to be called “dealing with natural hair.” But you only “deal with” things you don’t like, like a difficult boss, in-laws, or a cold. When you “deal with” something, you don’t care for it. So you blow-dry, iron, and relax. You use hundreds of products to make your hair surrender to what you are told is beautiful.
You shouldn’t hate your naturally curly or wavy hair. That relationship is draining on both of you. It’s also costly and time-consuming.
This isn’t an article about how you’re a bad person if you do those things. You’re not.
And it’s not about how you shouldn’t do those things. We all do.
Read this if you want to learn how to love your hair the way it is.
Growing up with Rebel Hair
When you’re a child or a teenager, you are perceptive.
You notice that posters at the salon almost always show women with long, silky hair. Many hairdressers don’t know how to work with waves and curls. So you end up with hair that’s been fried straight. And once you shower, the magic is gone.
When hairdressers treat your hair as a problem, you start to feel that way too.
You also notice that girls of similar age on TV have straight, smooth hair while you don’t. In the early 2000s, this was Reemi, Lizzie McGuire, and, a little later, Avril Lavigne. Even Raven Symone had straight hair.
Oh, wait. That’s a little unfair. There were some women with wavy, curly, coiled, frizzy, thick, thin or otherwise “different” hair. Here they are:
At a certain age, we all expose our hair to all kinds of ugly. Hair straighteners. Chemical hair relaxers. Curling tongs. Blow driers. The list goes on.
Your hair does not like when you force it to change.
7 Steps to Building Healthier Relationship with Your Hair
When you finally grow sick of straightening your hair, buns become your best friend. That’s okay – buns are perfect for learning to put down the straightener.
Let’s talk about ways of upping the fabulosity of wavy and curly hair.
People are hesitant to try this because they’re afraid they’ll smell like a Bounty chocolate bar. Mark my words: it is life-changing. If you have straight hair that is dry, this is good for you too. To your curly or wavy hair, coconut oil is like taking a sip of some ice cold water on a hot, dry day. It also decreases the drying effects of tap water on hair.
Here’s how to use coconut oil as a mask:
a. Rub a generous amount (about 2 – 3 tablespoons) on your dry hair, from the middle down to the ends. These parts are likely to be the most damaged by sun, heat exposure, and products. You can also use olive oil, which is another moisturizing oil.
b. Leave it in for as long as you want, from 15 minutes to overnight. If you can, wrap your head in a warm towel or tie a plastic bag over your hair to keep in the heat.
c. Wash it out with shampoo, but not the harsh cleansing type. Rinse twice if needed.
AKA Moroccan oil. This is another life-changing oil. Try to get your hands on the real stuff. Use either on dry or damp hair. Focus on the middle and ends of the hair. It will tame frizz, improve shine, and define your curls and waves. This is because it seals in moisture in the hair.
Be perceptive of how your hair is feeling. If it looks thirsty, moisturize it.
Limit hair washes
It’s not disgusting to wash your hair only twice or three times a week. Don’t be a clean-freak, because clean = stripped of oils = unhealthy.
Needless to say, you should still wash your body as needed.
End with a cold burst
End your shower with a cold burst all over your hair. This makes your hair shinier.
Stop tugging at your hair with that rough towel.
To keep waves long a loose, gently scrunch with a towel. Twist your hair either in one big twist or in several smaller twists and let it air dry. To keep waves or curls defined and not all-over-the-place, use the plopping method (please disregard the name). Hijabis, this is good for lifting your curls when they are flat on top.
a. Grab a t shirt or a thin towel or cloth and lay it on a flat surface.
b. Lower your hair slowly into a pile on the cloth. Your face should be facing your tummy.
c. Wrap the cloth around and secure. Wait however long you can, but at least until your hair is semi-dry.
It’s possible your friends will think it’s mind-boggling that you don’t comb your hair. But combing, and especially brushing, really isn’t for everyone. If you have tight curls, combing will break them into a frizzy mess. Consider just finger combing or using a wide tooth comb after showering.
Be easy on your hair. If you come out of the shower and it’s tangled, comb it with your fingers before combing it with a wide-tooth comb. Damp hair is susceptible to breaking. You can also finger comb it while you have conditioner in.
It’s worth learning how to braid and twist. This will save you, especially if you have rebellious bangs.
What about special occasions?
I’ll admit it. As an Arab, there aren’t many fancy wedding hairstyles that don’t involve heat or backcombing. Try to limit heat exposure to these instances. You might want to consider hairstyles that don’t require straightening. Braids are really in right now.
When you do have to style your hair with heat, remember to use heat protectant. Also try to do a coconut oil mask or your favorite deep conditioner afterwards to bring back life to your hair.