Hair Growth Myths

July 15, 2014 in HAIR CARE, UNCONDITIONED ROOTS by mkabba

Lets Talk Natural Hair & Hair Growth Myths in the Black African Community

Hey Ladies!

It’s no secret that healthy hair is very important to me. And through the years I’ve educated myself on how to achieve healthier and longer hair. Let’s talk Black Hair Myths. Why?  Reason being many Black women spend hours on end on hair care, hours of our time in salons and devote much of our hard earned money to hair products in pursuit of “Dream Hair” so all this time, effort & money should at least be exercised on GOOD CORRECT hair care practices. There are a number of hair myths which circulate the black hair community most of which prevent people of ethnicity from cultivating their minds and obtaining true knowledge and factual information regarding Black Hair. If you ask most Black women about their hair care regimen, there’s usually often someone that will swear by at least one Black hair care myth.

Unsurprisingly many Black hair care myths have been passed down from generation to generation, from our grandmothers to our mothers to us. Below I have compiled a list of common black hair care myths.

true or false

Myth 1: A dirty scalp will grow your hair.

A lot of these myths we are all accustomed to and have been subject to at some point in our lives, for example the TOP NOTCH Myth of them all being “a dirty scalp will GROW your hair” LADIES NO STOP THIS! Somewhere along history there has been a misconception whereby people have perceived that a dirty scalp makes your hair grow. IT DOES NOT! It in fact blocks your pours preventing healthy hair growth so always ensure to maintain a CLEAN scalp. To address this misconception, ladies it is actually the natural sebum that the scalp produces which is healthy for your hair. Therefor constantly stripping it by over-washing is damaging and drying to your hair. However cleansing your scalp regularly to rid the dirt, product build up is NECESSARY! Ways in which you can cleanse your scalp without stripping it are by using an ACV rinse, sulphate free shampoo, regular co-washing, and adding oils to your shampoo to soften its harshness on your hair.

Myth 2: Black Hair cannot grow long.

MYTH!!! There is a common misconception in the black community that African Black hair cannot grow long in either its natural or relaxed state. Ladies with a generous amount of GOOD hair practice, PATIENCE, Consistency your hair will THRIVE! If you care for your hair properly, listen to, LOVE & LEARN your roots, your hair WILL grow long and healthy. Your hair will grow long with the appropriate TLC. Good hair practice will see the fruits of your labor THRIVE such as; using protein and moisture treatments, using water based moisturisers correctly, daily moisturising and sealing your hair, limiting the use of heat, follow a suitable regimen that works for you, and treating your hair like a delicate flower. Ladies hair grows an average of ½ inch per month; yes that includes Black African hair too! Your is indeed growing however you may not be retaining the length due to chemical abuse, dryness, bad hair practice, frequent cutting, tight and over styling, excessive heat styling and general lack of proper care.

Myth 3: Cutting hair makes it grow faster.

Ladies please understand that your hair is dead. Therefore there is nothing you can do to your hair strands to speedup hair growth. Cutting your hair does however improve the health of your hair and makes way for healthier strands as you will be trimming away the damaged ends and removing split ends etc. make it appear healthier since damaged ends are being removed. For those ladies whose goal is LONG hair, be weary as cutting your hair frequently slows down your length retention.

Myth 4: Black hair is stronger than other hair types.

Ladies Ladies LADIES! Although our Kinky Curly Coily hair may seem “tough”the internal structure of black hair actually makes it more susceptible to breakage than any other hair type. Do not be deceived although the texture may seem “harder” than your average sleek European type hair our hair is fragile and needs TLC. Protein and moisture retention treatments should be used to strengthen the hair and minimise breakage. Additionally Carrier Oils and Essential Oils are excellent for moisturising and strengthening the hair. Oils such as Organic, virgin coconut oil penetrate the hair shaft to moisturise inside the hair, unlike most oils which only coat the hair. Also be very careful when grooming the hair. Fingerb detangling is the BEST form of care when detangling your hair however tools such as wide-tooth combs and boar brushes can be your hair’s best friend.

Myth 5: Grease is necessary for Natural hair/ Greasing your scalp is good for moisture.

Oil is a SEALANT! Ladies if you have dry hair using oils alone will ONLY seal in the dryness. These types of products should only be used to seal the hair and add shine. Water based moisturisers and virgin coconut oil effectively penetrate and moisturize the hair. ALWAYS aim to add water as a base to seal in the moisture. Spritz your hair with water and use the oils as a sealant. Some examples of water based moisturisers include; Elasta QP Mango Butter, Mixed Roots Kinky Curly Leave In Moisturiser, Shea Moisture Conditioning Curl & Style Milk and Cantu Shea Butter Leave in.

Myth 6: Relaxing your hair makes it grow faster.

Natural hair has a curly pattern, when the hair is stretched it may seem to appear longer, but in fact it is not. This is what happens when hair is relaxed as well. The hair is stretched out to its maximum, like stretching a rubberband. However, this leads to reduces elasticity, which is the hair’s natural ability to go back to its original shape without breaking. Hair that lacks elasticity is very susceptible to breakage.

Myth 7: Black Hair grows slow.

Hair grows at an average rate of 1/2 inch per month. Black hair can sometimes grow a bit slower than this, but not much. Actually the natural curly pattern of black hair can make it seem to grow slower because it is not stretched. Also, use of relaxers and other products can cause breakage. If breakage is equal to growth, hair will seem as if it is not growing at all. One of the reasons why Black hair appears to grow slower is a due to Natural hair “appearing” shorter due to its curly, un-stretched nature. However DO NOT let the shrinkage fool you #TeamLongHairDontCare!

Myth 8: Black hair requires grease.

Ladies this is yet another misconception amongst the Black African Community. A misconception that many of us have grown up on based on our childhood experiences e.g. mother’s being over friendly with the distribution of Dax, Blue Magic, Vaseline etc in our scalps prior to styling LOL *sigh* This common belief is yet another MYTH! Many grease products contain petroleum and mineral oil which are bad for our hair as these ingredients block and clog up the pours in your scalp, attracting dirt which prevents healthy hair growth. Ladies a better way to beautiful hair is by using alternative natural hair oils and butters to moisturise your hair!

Myth 9: Braiding your hair makes your hair grow.

Ladies the braids themselves do not make your hair grow! They are simply a means of protective styling whereby your ends are tucked away and thus promotes length retention not necessarily hair growth. Braids protect your hair against the elements such as harsh winter weather, heat damage, over styling and other potential damages. However braids can also have an adverse effect on your hair particularly your edges/hairline if done too tightly. The key ladies is to take care of your hair PROPERLY whilst in braids and or a protective style so maintain you daily moisturising and sealing regimen, scalp cleansing and loose styling.

Myth 10: Natural Hair is not versatile.

MYTH!!! Natural hair is (in my opinion) the most VERSATILE hair type there is. Ladies embrace and wear your Afro’s with pride as it is a gift that not everyone can have! This myth is far from the truth, the versatility of natural hair knows no ends ladies. Natural hair can be glamorous and is gorgeous when styled in the following; twist outs, braid outs, finger coils, cornrowed, worn in its afro state, in a puff, flat twist updo, braided updo, side puff, bantu knot out, straight, dreadlocks, sister locs, wash and go’s and many more! If you can conceive it you can achieve it, with these different techniques you can create endless different styles, be creative ladies! Ladies there is NO limit to what you can do with natural hair, just as long as you are willing to love and learn your hair!

Myth 11: You can repair/replenish split ends.

Ladies once the ends on your hair are split they CAN NOT be repaired. Yes there are a number of repairing and replenishing products on the shelves however they are over hyped and I’m sorry to break the news to you, they do not work if anything the help delay the damage rapidly traveling further up the remainder of the hair shaft. They can temporarily be mended but NOT repaired. The only way to get rid of split ends and prevent further hair damage is by CUTTING your split ends right off! It is advised to trim your split ends as soon as they are notices otherwise you will simply end up having to cut off more than you intended, which will delay length retention.

Myth 12: Natural Hair Is Hard to Manage.

Natural, textured hair can seem hard to manage if you attempt to treat it like sleek European 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. Put simply LOVE & LEARN your roots just as you did your relaxed hair and or weaves and wigs. 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. I believe your mindset will determine how unmanageable something is. Before I went natural the natural kinks were the enemy because they always ruined my ‘perfectly silky’ relaxed hair. When I decided to go natural, and actually paid attention to my natural hair instead of hiding it, I realised that it wasn’t hard at all. You should not compare what it takes to manage straight hair to what it takes to manage natural hair. They are not the same, once you stop trying to treat your hair in a way that was not made for it, you will see how easy it is to manage and learn new things about your hair.  You’ll establish golden rules about how to treat your hair and they’ll become second nature.  Natural hair isn’t hard to manage once you change your mind set.

Myth 13: If black women cut their hair, it will never grow back.

MYTH!!! Ladies just as any other race, black women are not exempt from healthy lengthy hair growth. We do not possess a special gene which restricts us from hair growth that isn’t present in black men, white men, white women, Asian men, Asian women, biracial men, or biracial women…Of course not! Your hair is always growing, ALWAYS!
Myth 14: Natural hair is unprofessional.

Nope! Wrong again!  Natural hair is often seen as messy and unkempt and unsuitable for a working environment.  This is a misconception that needs to be dispelled.  It can also often be seen as a distraction but this is not then equivalent to “unprofessional”.   Naturals work in many professions ranging from teachers to lawyers. As long as your hair is “tidy”, it’s professional. Try to step away from the mentality that straight hair equates to neat & acceptible, presentable, and professional. ALL hair types can be this way, but they all require work, good hair practice, patience to get there and knowing your hair.

Myth 15: Natural Hair cannot be combed.

You CAN comb natural hair, but it’s best to start combing from the bottom of the hair strand to the top. Actually this applies to relaxed hair as well. This makes working the knots out a painless, much easier process. You also get to keep more hair on your head, instead of losing it to the comb. I personally finger comb because my fingers are gentler than a comb’s teeth. However when I do comb my hair I use a wide tooth plastic comb combined with finger detangling. Spraying an oil mixture water combo on your hair also works wonders.
Myth 16: Natural hair is bad hair, like Africans have/had.

Those Africans are your ancestors, so how can you insult your ancestry by calling them ‘bad’? Slaves had more important things to think about than hair i.e. being ripped apart from their families, whipped daily, drowned, raped, etc. Anyone who was strong and lucky enough to survive all of that and more is not ‘bad’. Let go of the ‘bad’ and ‘good’ hair concepts from the slave plantation era. Natural hair comes in all shapes, textures and sizes, which makes it all the more beautiful.

Myth 17: Natural hair is prone to be dry.

This is only the case when you do not care for your hair! My hair was dry when I initially went natural and was not as educated on appropriate hair care practises, but now that I’ve found my staple regimen, favourite hair products, and good hair practice it’s extremely soft, retains moisture and manageable. Ladies just like with weaves and relaxed hair, you need to dedicate time to finding the correct hair practice to sustain the demands of that hair type and products that work well with your hair and lifestyle.

Myth 18: Natural hair is unmanageable.

Remove the kinks from your mind not your hair! I strongly believe one’s mind-set will determine how unmanageable something is. Educate yourself, learn your hair and devote time to establish good hair practice applicable to your natural hair and your hair will always be manageable. When you decide to pay attention to your natural hair instead of hiding or fighting it, you will realise how manageable it is!

Myth 19: Men do not find natural hair attractive.

MYTH!!! Ladies do not let the myopic, ignorant minds of others make you view your gorgeous Crown of Kinks, Curls & Coils as a man repellent. Rather many natural women have confirmed their Natural Tresses to be the complete opposite, a man magnet! They say that they attract MORE attention since they’ve gone natural. Men generally prefer women to embrace their natural hair. Yes, some women have experiences with partners who were against or sceptical towards the hair change, but many of these men later accommodated for this change and now find the natural hair irresistible.

Myth 20: You cannot enjoy natural hair.

*Drum Roll Please…* MYTH!!! Ladies of course you can enjoy have fun & be content with your natural hair! Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!

 

I hope this has helped. Ladies make an educated decisiononly YOU can know the truth about your natural hair! LOVE & LEARN your roots and your hair will forever be perfect and manageable! Happy Healthy Hair Journey XOXO