2009-08-02

Why Black Women Need To Learn How To Care for Natural Hair, Even If They Aren't Natural




In my opinion what I see in this video is abuse. That sad thing is that too many of us have memories of something similar. I remember hating to get my hair combed as a child. My mother like this mother didn't know what to do with natural hair, most black women in America don't. This is what I believe leads so many of us to perm or add extensions to our hair. The belief is that it's easier to manage. As a result of my mother struggling with my hair, I thought something was wrong with my hair, that is was a burden and something to be ashamed of in it's natural state.

No one taught this woman, like no one taught my mother or many other black mothers, that detangling dry hair with a brush is a huge NO NO. My mother used essentially a rat tail comb to comb through my hair as a child, never once thinking a wide tooth comb might be a better option. No one told her that it was easier to detangle hair when wet instead of dry. I didn't know until I was older how to detangle natural hair. When I went natural there were no natural hair care websites, there was no youtube, it was just me and my decision to quit using relaxer; something I had done since I was nine years old.

I don't necessarily blame black women in general for black women feeling the need to straighten or add extensions. We didn't really have the tools to adapt, when we came over as slaves there wasn't time for hair styling, nor were black women provided with tools to adequately care for their hair. When we did have hair tools, we used what everyone else used, and as we know, most of us don't have the same type of hair as other races of people, so it doesn't work as well. Not to mention black hair care products are some of the most vile things ever created. It seems everything has petroleum in it.

The funny thing is that now my hair routine I use is a routine developed by a white woman. Lorraine Massey changed my life, and her book was the most useful book I have ever read in regards to how to style my hair. Even worse is the fact that the two pages for African American hair care are no use to me. They don't help me at all, and use black stylists who appear to be more experienced in dealing with relaxed hair than natural hair.

I think that black women need to learn how to do all types of hair, because most of us don't come out of the womb with perm or weave attached to our heads. Especially those of us with children. We need to have our children feel they have the option to go natural or perm their hair. In my childhood I don't think I had the option to go natural, it was just assumed I needed a perm. Personally a perm for me is not an option anymore, and I don't find that naturally curly and kinky hair is a sign of laziness or being unkempt. I don't want my children to think so either. We really need to embrace the belief that ALL hair is "good hair", because as we can see in this video, that isn't happening.