As the natural hair movement and community has grown, so has the access to information. There have been a ton of videos, guides, and more all about natural hair care describing what to do and what not to do. While this information may be helpful, it can cause some to not want to branch out or experiment with their hair for the reason they may break one of the “natural hair commandments”. There are even stigmas surrounding natural hair and other misbeliefs. But, our natural hair journey is supposed to be one of fun, learning, growing, and experimenting. Here are 10 of the top natural hair myths:
1) Natural hair is too much to manage
While natural hair takes more to manage compared to other hair textures, it is far from unmanageable. Many start their journey coming from relaxed hair, or hair that has been straightened for most of their life. So, transitioning to natural hair is essentially starting a whole new set of ways. It can feel overwhelming at first since we are just learning what does or doesn’t work for our hair in its natural state. But, as you start to learn more about your hair it becomes routine. Natural hair just requires a little more TLC, but the end result is always worth it.
2) Water can dry out hair
There have been claims that water can actually dry out natural hair, and this is usually false. Some may experience dry hair after applying water or washing their hair. But the reason it may feel dry isn’t necessarily because of the water, it can be because there hasn’t been a proper leave-in product to lock in that moisture. If you only apply water to your hair, it will eventually dry up and evaporate because there hasn’t been any type of holding product applied to seal the hair cuticle. Using water that is too hot can also cause drier hair as the hot water can further strip the hair of its natural oils.
While experiencing dry hair after washing your hair is typically a simple fix, if the problem persists it may be that your faucets produce hard water. Hard water contains high levels of minerals that may cause build-up on your strands. To fix this temporarily, you can try a shower filter.
3) Laid edges are a must
It is completely okay for your edges not to be laid with every style or even laid at all. In fact, by doing so can cause tension and pulling on the fragile hairs at the perimeter, leading to breakage. Wearing your hair naturally means embracing all its aspects in its natural state.
4) Natural hair just can’t grow long
The notion that natural hair cannot grow long or past a certain length is another myth. Although shrinkage can give the appearance of shorter hair, our hair is always growing. There are many naturals who can have waist-length hair, but shrinkage may give the appearance of shoulder-length. But shrinkage isn’t a bad thing, and in fact can be a sign of good hair health. As long as you take good care of your natural hair, growth is a given.
5) Oils can moisturize hair
While natural oils provide numerous benefits for our natural hair, not all of them can fix any problem you may have with your natural hair, specifically moisture. A misconception about oils is that they are moisturizing. Most oils cannot moisturize the hair as they cannot penetrate the hair shaft entirely. Instead, most oils serve as sealants. There are only a select few moisturizing oils (avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil) that are able to penetrate the hair shaft with the aid of water.
6) Wash and go’s are damaging
Many naturals feel that wearing a wash and go all the time can be damaging. While this can be true as far breakage from the constant friction of your hair rubbing against your clothes, for some naturals their hair actually does better while in a wash and go than a protective style. For myself personally this is true. I’ve noticed better results as far as maintenance, detangling, & moisture wearing my hair in a wash and go than in certain protective styles.
There can be multiple reasons for this. One being that you are putting moisture in your hair more frequently than when in a protective style. Regardless, wash and go’s can be very beneficial for natural hair as far as moisture retention and aren’t always damaging. But protective styles are also good for natural hair – length retention, less manipulation, etc.
7) Natural hair grows faster with protective styles
While protective styling can certainly help with length retention, they don’t necessarily make natural hair grow faster. Because they require lower manipulation, it is reducing breakage/shedding which can give the appearance of faster growing hair. In actuality, you are retaining inches that you may have otherwise broke off if wearing it down through combing, etc.
8) Hair type is most important
Hair typing 1A-4C has been pushed as a determining factor anywhere from styles to products. It has actually caused some divide in the natural hair community. While it is true that say wavy hair and coily hair may react differently to a certain product, hair type is not the end all be all.
Hair typing is not always accurate because even if two naturals both have type 4c hair, a product or style may turn out completely different because no two heads of hair are the same. This all goes to say not to be too caught up in hair typing, and just find what works best for you regardless of what is seen as the norm.
9) The thicker the hair the stronger it is
Some may feel that because natural hair is thick and coarse, that it is stronger or tougher to break. Actually, it is the opposite. Natural hair in nature is quite fragile because of its wiry-shaped strands. The bends in the shaft make it more difficult for naturals oil to reach the ends, making natural hair more prone to dryness and breakage.
10) The more expensive the product is the better it works
This point of natural hair myths can be debunked not only with natural hair products but with the majority of retail products in general. There are so many DIY natural hair deep conditioners, leave-ins you can make that work just as well as that $30 leave-in.
What are some natural hair “truths” you have found to be myths?