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5 Myths About Natural Black Hair

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Before relaxers became easily accessible, black people straightened their hair through a variety of means, many of which were very harsh and damaging. Although the majority of black women still prefer to wear their hair straightened, there has been a steadily growing movement toward wearing natural hair. However, there remains a lot of misinformation which prevents some people from accepting their hair as it grows from their scalp. They choose to straighten their hair because they still believe these myths about natural hair. What are the real truths?

1. Natural Hair Isn't Versatile

Woman holding her hair
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If you think Afros are the only style for natural hair, you're missing out on a ton of unique hairstyles that are beautiful and healthy for your hair and scalp.

    Some of the many natural hairstyles you can wear include:
  • Two-strand twists
  • Bantu knots
  • Braids
  • Cornrows
  • Flat twists
  • Coils
  • Locs
  • Afro puffs

In addition, you can combine these styles to create your own one-of-a-kind hairdos. If your hair is short, that may limit your versatility somewhat, but the longer your hair grows, the more styles you can experiment with and enjoy.

2. Natural Hair Doesn't Grow

Black hair in its natural state has a tendency to shrink up, preventing you from seeing its real length, leading to the popular belief that it doesn't grow long. While everyone has a predetermined hair length that's due to genetics, with proper care, you can grow your hair as long as it is destined to be and you don't need a relaxer or perm to do so! A relaxer straightens your curls so that you can see length more easily, but the chemicals in it do not promote hair growth.

Hair grows an average of 1/2 inch per month, including black hair. Your hair is growing, but you may not be retaining the length due to chemical abuse, dryness, excessive heat styling and a general lack of proper care.

3. Natural Hair Is Strong

Natural hair looks strong, which is why so many people accidentally abuse it with rough treatment. In reality, black hair is fragile and needs to be treated with the gentlest of care in order for it to flourish. Wide tooth combs, natural ingredients and your own fingers are the best tools and products for natural hair.

4. Natural Hair Needs Grease

Many products you'll find in the ethnic hair care section of your local stores are full of ingredients that aren't the best for black hair. Ironic, but true. Petroleum and mineral oil make up a large percentage of black hair products and all they do is clog your scalp and attract dirt to your hair. You do not have to "grease" your scalp for it to be healthy.

A better approach is to apply natural oils directly to your hair, paying special attention to the ends, which tend to be dry.

5. Natural Hair Is Hard to Manage

Natural, textured hair can seem hard to manage if you attempt to treat it like straight hair. If you use the same tools and expect the same results that you would on straightened hair, you're going to be disappointed. However, once you learn to treat natural hair in a way that doesn't try to change it or alter it, it can be as manageable as any other type of hair.

You'll have to use different tools and different methods of styling. Your fingers, a wide tooth comb, natural boar bristle brushes and natural oils are all good ways to treat black hair. If you're used to dealing with straightened hair, learning new routines and techniques that work with your natural texture instead of against it will yield the best results.

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