October 19, 2009

Define Your Natural

Over the past four years of embracing my natural hair I have experienced every aspect of what 'natural' is. I have went from using products that contain silicones, petro-chemicals, and sulfates - you know all the ingredients we are told to avoid. Also, wearing weaves, wigs and braids. Than I have experienced the other side of the spectrum, being militant in my views of natural hair care. That meant no silicones, no petro-chemicals and no sulfates and avoiding extensions or wigs in an attempt to grow to love my hair without relying on extensions even though when I was relaxed I rarely if ever used any type of extensions. Within that I also wanted to avoid ingredients that I couldn't pronounce or had to crack my encyclopedia open to know what the ingredient was and how it would effect my hair. I have since settled in a comfortable medium. I focus on natural and simple products, and build my routine on that making sure to use chemical and synthetic filled products minimally, this is natural.

You may become confused as to what will work, what is making your hair dry, brittle or causing your hair to break. You want to know why your scalp may be irritated, dry and flaking, so naturally you eliminate products that you are unsure of. I did this and slowly I reintroduced some products that I thought at first may have been doing more damage than good to my tresses.
An important part of this is knowing proper techniques of installing weaves and braids and proper care for your wigs. Some of us cannot wear certain types of extensions because of scalp sensitivity, so to each their own. Wearing any type of extensions or wigs does not diminish your natural status, neither does coloring your hair.

It is a personal choice of how you style your hair and what type of products you want to use in your hair. I'm sure some naturals hate shea butter, avocado oil, Qhemet Biologics, TreSemme Conditioners, Nature's Gate Conditioners and Kiss My Face hair products, but my hair loves them. Just as my hair doesn't like some of the Aubrey Organics shampoo and conditioners I've used, it is individual just like our hair.

I saw a woman on You Tube saying that she uses Petroleum Jelly over her Qhemet Biologics Heavy Cream to seal in the moisture and she swears by this, and yes her hair is
fiyah, it's so thick, luscious and is mid-way down her back. If it works for her, than it works for her. We need to support each other and stop focusing on the products and hair styles our fellow naturals are comfortable with, looking down at a natural that uses 'questionable' products is not helping her. While she is in her daily routine whether at work, school, church, social settings and with friends and family their are people that will question her decision to wear her natural hair. We know the comments that we have received from people who are ignorant. It is at these times that she needs to know she has other naturals to lean on instead of having them pointing out the 'dimethicone' or 'mineral oil' in her moisturizer or questioning her commitment to the cause because she is wearing a weave.

Are their products that I've seen naturals using that I wouldn't use in my hair? Yes. Does the product maintain the health of their hair? Yes. So in my opinion if their hair is thriving and they are satisfied with the results than discouraging them from using that product is unwarranted. Let us support each other and not let small things like hair extensions and ingredients discourage us from this wonderful fulfilling journey.


NEA said...

Great post! I agree 100%, and I tell newbies the same thing: Don't let others define you.

The proof is ALWAYS in the hair results. Talk is cheap, and folks want great hair...bottom line.

I've seen too many "rule breakers", who have GORGEOUS hair, and many of their naysayers are struggling to achieve the hair they desire.

I use a combination of mostly natural, all-natural and unnatural products. Anything that stays on my hair and scalp, I keep it as natural as I can. Products that rinse out, I'm not as strict about.

Cayce said...

Amen! People should do what they wanna do to THEIR hair, and stop condemning someone just because they don't use the same techniques or products!

Derdie B said...

OMG- great post! I absolutely cringe when i hear the rules- and yes knowledge is power but dont condemn somebody just because they are approaching their journey differently from you...oh it gets under my skin. So again, GREAT POST!

Annetoinette said...

To me, being natural is about being true to all facets of yourself. Even though I have natural hair and I promote black women taking the time/effert to look at their hair as it truly is, in its honest beauty. I'm not agianst straightening hair or coloring it or whatever, as long as I understand that that is not what I was born with and I don't live trying to make everyone believe that's what I was born with. Everyone wants to try something different once in awhile, something unusual, and shall I say even *unnatural*, but my problem I guess with the whole perm/relaxer culture is that it is viewed as something normal. "This is what Black women's hair is supposed to look like--in fact, this is what does look like," and that's a flat out lie and a bunch of women trying to live a lie. It's not so much about wat you are doing as the attitude in which you are doing it, and that's what I love about your blog. You promote an attitude of respect to ourselves and our hair that is much needed these days.