I’ve been wearing my hair fully natural since September 2008 and I have learned — and keep learning — so many great things. Today, before I fill my belly with my sister-in-law and go to the spa, I am going to share the top 5 lessons I’ve learned in 2009. (I’ve been instructed by my foolish sister-in-law to say that I’m writing this blog from her couch and on her computer. Chupse.)
- It’s all about confidence. Wearing your hair naturally requires a certain amount of self-confidence. You no longer are part of the crowd — you stand out because you look different. Either you can embrace that and run with it or you can become self-conscious. I don’t know how many times I’ve stood on the subway or train platform and was the only person with hair that looked like mine. I could have either started to feel uncomfortable or say, “screw it, I’m cute.” I did the latter. Some days when my hair doesn’t look like what I expected (see here), you just have to rock it like it was meant to look like that. So, the lesson was: be confident in yourself and how you look. You may not look like everyone else, but you look cute doin’ you.
- Shampoo is NOT my enemy, sulfates are. At first, I was convinced that all shampoo was evil. LOL, yeah, I’ve learned. What it comes down to is you have to do what works best for your hair/scalp and not what everyone online is saying. I tried to go without shampoo and just co-wash, but that led to build up and a danged miserable scalp, so I had to go back to what I know. My sulfate and coconut-free shampoo has done my scalp very well. I’m still co-washing regularly — well, as regularly as I can in the cold Canadian winter — as part of my regimen, but shampoo is no longer on my bad list. Sulfates, on the other hand, are still the spawn of the devil and will not be used in my hair.
- Don’t be surprised by what your hair can do. Every day, every week and every month I am surprised that my hair can do things that I didn’t expect that it could. Just yesterday, I realized that my hair is long enough to do a ponypuff! Yay! Who would have guessed? In September that could not be done. I totally love playing around with my hair and figuring out what it can do. I’m enjoying playing with my hair so much, my hairdresser is complaining that she can’t find me. Love ya, girl, but I love playing with my hair, slapping on my wig and just having a good ol’ time with my hair.
- Moisturizing is key. It really is. If you think that you can rock natural hair without moisturizing it, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. Dry, split, knotted and miserable ends is what you’ll get. Moisturizing is essential to growing your hair and keeping it strong. If you don’t do that, it just isn’t going to work. Since joining the Hairlista Healthy Ends Challenge, I’ve seen a definite change in my ends thanks to moisturizing and sealing my hair daily (or almost daily). If I can keep that up for 2010, my hair will be on FIYAH this summer!
- Get to know your own hair. As great as researching online and on YouTube is, there is nothing better than figuring out what your hair wants and working with that. I know too many people who depend solely on the knowledge of their hairdresser and know nothing about their own hair. Really? Once you get to know your own hair, you are in charge of its care. No one knows my hair better than I do. No one knows what products work best on my hair than I do. I know how my hair will react to certain things and if I don’t agree with how someone is dealing with it, I can let them know. If you’re going to do one thing for the new year, make sure that you get to know your hair — whether it’s relaxed or natural. You’ll see a huge difference.
Ladies, are there any lessons that you’ve learned this year that have helped you along your hair journey? Share!