As the natural hair movement continues to gain momentum and surge into mainstream society it’s critical to address and dispel myths that leave the wrong impression and discourage other women from abandoning chemically straightened hair. Here are five misconceptions natural hair is tangled up in from those in and outside of the black community:
Fact or Fiction: Natural hair is unmanageable.
Fiction. Although natural hair is time consuming and demanding, it is certainly not a lost cause. Natural hair can be tamed, but it takes work. It requires extra time spent on detangling properly, conditioning, sealing the ends with moisture and styling on a daily basis. Our coiled tresses need a little TLC. Going natural is definitely not for the lazy at heart.
Fact or Fiction: Natural hair is very strong.
Fiction. Natural hair is the exact opposite, it is frustratingly fragile. The slightest wrong move can cause breakage, such as lack of detangling, over-manipulation, and excessive use of heat from blow dryers. Black women must handle their natural hair delicately to avoid cuticle erosion and snagging coiled strands.
Fact or Fiction: Natural hair doesn’t have to be washed every day.
Fact. Natural hair is not required to be washed every day because it does not preserve moisture as well as other hair textures. However, contrary to popular belief, it is required to be washed. Naturals tend to slap mounds of moisturizing products on their hair which can inhibit the scalp’s ability to breathe and block moisture from coming in. Cleaning your hair once a week is important to remove excess build up.
Fact or Fiction: Greasing your scalp makes your hair grow faster
Fiction. Most black women share the kindred experience of getting their scalp greased by their mother as a little girl. I recall sitting in a chair in front of my mother’s bathroom vanity as she slathered grease all over my scalp, promising it would lead to hair growth. However, most of the greasy products were composed of petroleum oil and mineral oil which clogs the pores of your scalp and hair follicles, according to Nicole Hollis, founder of Hair Liberty. Clogged pores impede hair growth.
Fact or Fiction: Natural Hair is Unprofessional
Fiction. There are plenty of beautiful, natural styles that are professional and appropriate for Corporate America including coils, twist outs, spiral curls and high buns. Contrary to stereotypical beliefs, natural hair can be well-groomed and elegant. Natural hair, like all hair, only appears “unprofessional” when it is disorderly and shambolic, due to lack of proper styling.