Nearly 10 years natural 4B, considering a process
This is my first post, but I've been doing research on this site for ages! I'm 24, and I've been natural for a long time. I attached some photos where you can see my shrunken hair, and my straightened hair (the straight one with the yellow shirt was just two days ago).
I'm extremely passionate about my hair--aren't we all? But after reading around, I've been noticing that many naturals or "new" naturals have been shutting down people thinking about texlaxing, or getting a Keratin. I understand that it's a damaging, permanent chemical process. But to tell someone who clearly has issues and difficulties with their hair to just keep on keepin' on, and to just use YouTube to find out more about how to take care of their hair, is just defeating the purpose of even commenting.
I've been natural for so long, and no, it isn't easy. It doesn't make me happy, or like I'm changing the world by being natural. My hair is LONG, I started from almost a buzz (I was "accidentally" big chopped at a white hair salon) and now my hair is to my mid-lower back after cutting off about 3 inches for evenness. I pride myself in the patience and care I've taken to achieve my length. I only apply heat once or twice a year to check my length, and have worn protective "tied-down" styles since I was born. Even after straightening, I tie it back down. (I am mixed, white/black, with 4B hair) And I'm not proud to wear a fro. It's been ingrained in me since I was a child that I need my hair fixed, relaxed, straightened, or covered up to go into public--and that's what I've done my entire life.
So, onwards from that, when my hair gets wet, it mats up. I have one pic with my hair wet that was taken 5 years ago, the last time I dared to get my hair wet, and leave the shower to take a pic without it being detangled, braided or twisted in the shower before getting out. Right after that picture, I tried to manage it and ended up getting back in the shower for 30 mins just to stop it from sticking, locking, and matting up (it's instantaneous).
There's another pic where my hair is long, and I'm wearing a red sportsbra. It's lightly curled-looking, but that was last summer (1-2 times a year!) after being straightened and tied down for week. I have a prepoo in there, of olive oil, and some light conditioners and butters. I wish my hair was like that ALL THE TIME. But alas, the moment water touched it, it shrunk the 75% and I spent the next 75 minutes trying to detangle it in the shower.
I just straightened my hair again, the protective styles (twists, usually tied down) tend to let my ends rub on fabric or just get dry from... well, not being touched. I hate touching my hair, for fear of messing up whatever's going on up there. But the moment I put the iron down I started counting the minutes before it would need to be washed again, and I'd have to wait another 6+ months to have manageable, non-matting, hair.
So I'm considering some sort of texturizer, some sort of ANYTHING to cut down my detangling time, my stress time, everything. I could CRY, I feel so ugly when my hair is in a fro, for the entire time it's wet and I'm trying to pull it back together. It's been 10 years of being natural, growing my hair long (no, I wont cut it) and I almost feel ashamed to want to go back to a process, like the last 10 years would've been for nothing. Though, without going natural and wearing protective styles, I would never have gained this length.
And when I say I feel ugly, I live in a very rural, very white area. I was the first black person to graduate from a high school in the entire COUNTY. My husband is white--Finnish, and I have no family left of my own. When I do twists, people think "cool!" but if I do anything else (big braids to get it tied down quickly before running out of the house, or trying to soak it with conditioner long enough to use a tangle teezer in sections to PULL IT BACK--ultimately ending up with a big solid mass of matted hair, and more hair breakage) I've had people look at me like... what's the black girl think she's doing?
I've had a male friend, walk up to me in public, where I WORK and ask me "What's going on with your hair?" I've had local white stylists parade me around to their stylist-students to check out black hair, and have had, by the same stylist, a walmart plastic bag thrown over my head in order to get me under the dryer because her hair caps didn't fit. I've had stylists make jokes about my hair, make me a spectacle, and just flat out walk away from my hair and send me on my way because it was past 3 hours.
It's like my hair is my main source of pride, but also the ONE thing that makes me feel terrible about myself, and embarrassed to go outside (thankfully, I work at home now).
I just need some sort of.. sympathy, support, please?
**Note, apparently I might not be 4B! I'm in there somewhere though... Suggest some other types... I'm the only who's seen and touched my hair since the bc, who knows some stuff about naturals!
Just washed hair
Here is my hair when it's just washed, though, this was over 5 years ago (the last time I dared getting out of the shower without having it tied down).
You and your hair are beautiful. if its taking you more time to do your hair than enjoy it , then do what makes you happy
Maybe you can make a day trip to a metro area and get a balance cut so you remove some of the bulk
If not , do what you need to do in order to manage your hair
I will say though, you have to feel beautiful yourself first no matter how your hair is. It is a learning process every day.
Folks in my family called me nappy and not in a good way from the time I popped out. Took me years to stop living behind my hair.
It will come.
I am not sure I can say that the poster above me hasn't, but I just want to say you have beautiful hair, and that I think this is about more than your hair. I am throwing good thoughts and vibes your way, and I hope you can come to terms with things (your hair and peole's reactions to it - because it's FANTASTIC!)
I am not sure, though, if it is 4b. You have a very clear curl pattern. I am not a proponent of the curl-typing system, but I said this because you said 4b and when I opened your pics I was surprised by what I saw.
I was mad for you and the people you call friends (and the hairstylist you trust your hair and money to) to be making a joke about your hair is unacceptable, especially considering they know you are sensitive (and even if you weren't, not cool)
Maybe it will help if you look into the tightly curly method. The woman on that site seems to have hair similar to yours and she has managed to make it work and grow, if you are willing to do the work she puts into it.
I wish I could say something more, insightful or exactly what you need, but again my best thoughts go out to you.
ETA: There is a straightening/relaxing forum on this site as well. It might be a helpful source of info if you go that route.
I think your hair is beautiful. I know the feeling regarding rudeness about the thickness of your hair. Stylists run away from me & over charge me. But I think if you feel better with straight hair you should blow it out & flat iron it from time to time. Relaxers & Keratin can be disasterous but flat irons, with heat protective products are a temporary release that won't hurt your curls as much. You will also get some versatility that way. You look great curly or straight though. Do what makes you happy.
I think you should look into your self and do what makes YOU happy. No one on this site can guide towards a better decision but yourself.
You and your hair are beautiful!
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I think we take things way too serious in the natural hair community! Do what best fits you & your life. You get one life to live & tomorrow is not promised.No sense living in confusion & frustration! As for those mocking & being rude... (Sigh)
Well, just realize your beauty & the beautiful head of hair can be intimidating to others and because they can not grasp it they rather mock what they don't understand.
Just know that for every person mocking you will find 10 other people willing to cut off a toe to have your thick, healthy, long beautiful hair!
I can only assume you have tried many methods so do what will make YOU happy! I wish you the best! Blessings to you!
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I found the tightly curly method a few months ago, got the Denman, the light conditioners... The problem there is that my hair shrinks. It doesn't lay down (the pic I have where it looks like her hair is on pressed hair that I put my prepoo in, just before washing) it shrinks into a matted poofball, from my back all the way up to my cheekbones like a mushroom. I got a few coils to stick, but they were literally 2-3 strands that turned into little corkscrews on my temples.
I need to hunt down more pics. You are probably right about not being 4B, I think I just have so much of it that I just assumed. But the curl pattern is very springy and not easily defined. I wonder if there's a way to lightly blog dry it to stretch out the curl pattern (I have a cold blow dryer) ... but that usually makes my ends go crazy. Hmm...
Something else about my hair, it takes heat well, soaks up moisture, and even in the harshest of overlapping relaxers and home treatments when I was little, NEVER fell out or broke of. It just doesn't break off. (heavenly dream, huh?) It takes twists very well, and will hold a shape for WEEKS. I have a pic up there at graduation, I just used water (no products, I rarely use products except for prepoos or random DTs before applying heat), made twists then bantu knots, then pulled them down the next morning before sticking my cap on. Water makes my hair happy, but also makes it look crazy.
Have you tried diffusing your hair until close to dry, and then shooting some warm air at the roots to stretch it a bit?
I see that you occasionally put your hair in twists; have you considered doing twist-outs? I do them sometimes when I want a more strecthed look without the blowdryer.
Now, I personally think that both you and your hair are quite beautiful, and I know plenty of folks who would likely give their first born for your thick head of hair. But I certainly understand that doesn't mean much if you don't feel that way yourself. You have to do what's right for you. Please don't concern yourself with folks who make an issue of what other people do with their hair. You will drive yourself crazy trying to appease everyone.
I will say that I don't care for the way your friend and the stylists in your area have responded regarding your hair. It's okay for people to be curious or want to learn more about hair that's different from their own. But there's a right and wrong approach to everything, and their curiosity can be satisfied in a more respectful manner. Making jokes and trying to call you out in front of people in your workplace is highly inappropriate. I hope you don't have to endure that type of behavior again, but if it does happen just remember that you have every right to set boundaries with these people. Don't allow their ignorance or lack of tact make you feel badly about yourself. Do you ever get a chance to visit a more diverse metro area? I was just thinking that perhaps every once in a while allowing yourself to experience an environment where you don't constantly feel like you're "the only one" may help improve your outlook and lift your spirits.
I hope you are able to find a solution that makes you happy, regardless of whether it involves using chemicals or not. All the best to you on your journey.
But when I do make really nice, pretty twists, I leave them alone! I haven't done a twist out and actually worn it out but ONE time, last summer. Within an hour it was anything but pretty and defined, and instead tripled in size. The sections held their shape, but just... got bigger. And I can't handle big hair without just tying it down again. And then, after pulling it back and having pretty twist-out waves for a few days, my head was frizzy, fuzzy, and just dull-looking (I pineappled and wrapped it).
When it isn't tied down or coiled/twisted/braided, and instead loose, I get breakage, and crunchy hair. And it just looks like it wasn't 3 days ago that I spent 40mins in the shower detangling. And when the hair isn't in twists, or in a twist-out, the sections start sticking and matting, even when dry. So I end up losing more hair... if that makes sense?
I'm really low maintenance, so I try to stretch styles as long as possible, so that I don't have to touch it, or spend another hour in the shower detangling. I honestly can't stand doing that more than once a week. I could have the sharpest natural style (I've done tons!) but once it's wet, it scrunches up again like I didn't just slave over it.
I had a summer there where I just co-washed every other day (I swam a lot). And every other day it would be an hour detangling in the shower. Which is great for some people, but I just felt a bit rotten with all the tugging, pulling, and whatnot with a shower comb to get it back to where it was just yesterday.
At this point, I just need... to move. Get out of here, and maybe find some of this "Curls" product that's flashing in a banner next to this text box! :confused2:
First off, ditto on what everyone is saying about how gorgeous your hair is. I'm sorry that folks in your town how made you feel like your hair is freakish or strange because, honey, your hair is bomb.
Anyway I was going to ask what products other than conditioner you are using. I definitely recommend going experimenting with products before you experiment with a permanent chemical process. Have you tried medium hold gels? My hair looks similar to the picture you posted of your hair wet. I find that if I use a leave in conditioner and then shingle in a gel my roots do not shrink and I don't have problems with tangles.
Also I think that wetting your hair frequently (like once a day or once every other day) and reapplying conditioner and gel may help you with tangles/shrinkage/matting. Basically I wet and finger-comb my hair every day and I use a cleansing conditioner every other day. After wetting I always reapply and leave-in and then gel. I've found that this keeps my curls elongated, defined, and tangle-free.
P.S. Do you have a target in your town. There are some great gels there.
I'm not really a products buff, but this is what I use:
Suave Conditioner, Arbonne Tea Tree Shampoo (rarely), Carol's Daughter Vanilla Spray, sometimes the Elixir in DTs and prepoos... some homemade avocado butter that a friend gave me... I have a heat protectant spray for when I iron, BEDHEAD I think... I have also used that Aussie Moist, but I ran out months ago, and haven't bought more. I love it, but I just don't ever remember.
That's about it!
There is no Target, but there is one a few hours away...
Here's my experience with shingling (it's like the Tightly Curly method, no?) Using conditioner, aussie moist, and any kind of butter I've devised, (and I do have a garnier creamy gel that I bought just for the shingling) I sectioned the hair further after my shower. I loaded up each section with product, brushed with the denman, then started pulling it apart and working towards the clumping part. I get some pretty clumps, but they don't dry pretty... And I never finger detangle, it takes crazy long, and as the strands pull across and rub on each other, they catch more hairs causing it to just get tangled up on the other end anyways. And again, I don't like touching my hair.
I got it all denman-ed and teezer-ed and half of it had shrunken up (where I started) and the other half was slowly crawling upwards. It also had swelled outwards (I like my hair against my scalp if loose, otherwise it just turns into a fuzzy mess as soon as it dries). So, i worked towards pulling it together, back, and getting it into a poof (which I don't do anymore, too many scraggly ends, too annoying to wrap). By the time it had dried, it was stuck. I think my strands do something with product that turn it into tacky glue, so that the next day, or once it dries, trying to undo it and "refresh it" is just starting all over again.
I'm lazy. I'm sure all of this would be better if I had someone doing it for me, or if I could drive somewhere on a regular basis. But loose natural styles, not twists, braided, or sectioned hair, dries into a lifeless, dull mess and breaks along the shaft.
I'm thinking of trying the "diffuser" idea! I lost the attachment for my dryer ages ago, but I'll come up with something!
It sounds like I'm throwing a pity party here, but I'm really interested in more ideas, products, whatever it is you got. I need to figure out how to flesh out my profile, but after all this time this is the first instance that I've gone online to share what I'm going through. Seriously, no one else deals with it because I'm so remote. Mama was white, and as soon as she noticed that my baby pretty hair got crazy, she started giving me kiddie perms. I think I was 4.
Once she was told by a stylist not to continue, 5 or so years later, it was a hassle. It'd take her 3 days to blowdry my hair, then she'd put it in really terrible, messy and already fuzzy cornrows (she really couldn't braid, she had the 1-2 hair type).
But I've been doing natural all on my own, and the first time I went down state to visit my distant relatives (hadn't seen them in... maybe 10+ years) my aunt had called her hairstylist to get me in immediately to "fix" it. It was in 2010, I had just made it to BSL (after trimming). I think it was because it was natural, though pulled back. They are all a big southern black family, and where I get my hair type from. They also all have weaves, processes, and relaxers.
I know my hair, and I like to think that I know what I'm doing, but I don't. I watch videos, and try whatever products I can afford or get at Walmart.
Products: Suave Conditioner (regularly), Carols Daughter Vanilla Spray (sometimes), CD Elixir (Dts and prepoos), heat protectant (1-2/yr), avocado butter (Dts and prepoos), Arbonne Tea Tree Shampoo (sometimes).
I have a Tangle Teezer, a Denman, and a wide-toothed comb. Also a fine comb for pressing.
Methods/styles I have tried: Tightly Curly, shingling, twist-outs, rollers (impossible), banding (only once), Curlformers (didn't dry all the way), braid outs, bantu knots, poofs, 1 big poof, plaits, flat twists and braids.
I'll keep looking around this site, but keep suggesting things (and products) for me :). I really appreciate it!
I also don't know anything about porosity, and the other hairnglish y'all put in the signatures. But when wet my hair is springy, soft, and very pliable--loves water. I don't think it likes protein (I've only used that Cholestrol stuff) but I only used it to condition a few years ago..
Letting you hair shrink up at a length like that is not the best idea. Maybe washing it loose [try washing in large twists or braids] or doing wash-n-go styles are not for you (Don't feel bad, many of us don't do wash-n-goes past a certain length).
Cutting your hair to a shorter length would lessen detangling time as would starting locs. These are other options that a damaging, texture-altering chemical.
You should not allow white stylists--or stylist of any race for that matter--mistreat you or make you a spectacle. You should not put yourself in a negative environment let alone pay for the services of those who mistreat you.
"I live in a very rural, very white area."
Maybe you could move to a more diverse area--being around people like yourself you would help. You also said you are away from family--Do you visit them often?
"I do anything else (big braids to get it tied down quickly before running out of the house, or trying to soak it with conditioner long enough to use a tangle teezer in sections to PULL IT BACK--ultimately ending up with a big solid mass of matted hair, and more hair breakage) I've had people look at me like... what's the black girl think she's doing? "
Who? Family members? Friends? Do you confront these people about hurtful things they've said to you about your hair?
"I feel ugly" I understand that this must be hard for you. With that said, the only way you'll feel beautiful is if you believe you are beautiful. Do what ever with you hair (and life) that will help you feel that.
What?! Your hair is stunning! And it's super long. I would kill for that much pretty hair. Lol. But it just looks like you may need some gel if you want your hair to not mat/shrink/tangle as much. You don't have to gel it down to where it doesn't move, but that will at least help it from shrinking up. I know my hair is fine-textured, so gel helps it by giving it weight and hold. Also, I know that my curls act weird when I wear braids/twists or flat iron too much back to back... it's like they forget how to behave. You are beautiful and so is your hair! I know I went through the same thing when I first went natural, but I eventually stopped caring what people thought because I knew that my hair looked good and was healthy. Maybe you need to move to an area where there are more people who *look* like you - I think it will help tremendously with you feeling "ugly" when you wear a fro. I had to get over that too. I never wanted to go out for special occasions unless my hair was pressed. Let go and do you!!
I think they covered it all. From you and your hair being beautiful to hanging with some black folks. :p I have nothing to add to that except maybe some products would liven things up. Some curl enhancers. Some nice butters. A few gels. Just to see what happens. Get your twist out on! And, yeah. Even take a break and flat iron it. I'm just not into chemically altering one's self. But I imagine flat ironing would be a nice vacation. :)
You look GREAT!
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Well Miss, as a human being you can do whatever the heck you want with your hair..do chemicals, straighten without chemicals...why with that length, there really is no need to big chop again as your hair is healthy...however, you do run the risk of damage, which you may or may not experience. Russian roulette. And you have lovely hair,my dear.
As RuPaul would say,"Do NOT f*** it up."
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