1. Focusing mainly on hair texture.
Since childhood, I thought my hair was “thin and see thru,” once it was pressed ! Before a good pressing, you could pull a truck with my thick hair strands and nothing! I thought that I needed the heaviest products to be effective. I would’ve never used a thin conditioner or lighter oil, like jojoba. Later, I figured out that my low porosity hair didn’t like heavy products; they’d “sit” on my hair, which isn’t effective. Once I listened to my hair and learned about porosity, I could select products and follow a regimen that allowed my hair to thrive, not suffocate.
2. Participating in too many hair challenges at once
When I first stopped getting relaxers, I was in awe of all of the cool challenges I saw other naturals doing. Deep conditioning, hair growth shakes, vitamins, detangling, conditioner wash and gos, and Ayurveda challenges were all over the hair forums, and they all looked so fun and anything good for my hair couldn’t be bad, right? Maybe not bad, but all at once? Excessive. I think I confused my hair with everything I was doing. Simplifying my regimen allowed me to better determine what works and what doesn’t.
3. Saying yes to every product
All products are NOT created equal! Simple as that! What may work on Keisha hair, may not work on Doris’! The same product that gave Linda the bomb twist out, may leave Kim’s a hot mess! Trial and error leads us to a Happy Hair Place. For instance, I look for products with glycerin, because chile I’m tellin you, my hair shows out for glycerin! Loves the stuff! LUVS it! However, I have friends whose hair runs for the hills from it!
4. Not changing my relaxed hair routine
One of the worst things I did after my transition in the summer of 2009, was deciding to treat my natural hair like my relaxed hair. Using the same tools, similar products and techniques only led to breakage and stunted growth. For example, I thought I could comb my tightly coiled hair without moisturizing the way I could comb my bone straight relaxed hair. Moreover, when my hair was tangled and matted I raked the comb through my hair, rather than gently and carefully combing from the ends to the roots of my hair. Such mistakes caused my ends to break, which meant that no matter how much my hair grew I was unable to retain any length. Now, I’m not saying that there will be no similarities between how you care for your natural hair and your relaxed hair. However, there should be some key changes in how you comb and detangle your hair and, if you’re used to washing your hair unsectioned as I was when relaxed, your washing regimen should change as well. Consider how different your straightened hair is from your naturally curly hair. It stands to reason that your weekly hair care routine should be different as well.
6. Fixing what anit broke
After digging my way out of the abyss of heat damage and getting the hang of my hair routine I began to see improvements in my hair’s health. No longer was my hair stuck at one length and I saw regular and consistent length retention. So, what did I decide to do in 2011? I changed what had been working so well. There’s nothing wrong with trying a new shampoo or style but if you know your hair routine works then it is unwise to change the fundamentals of your hair routine. In my case I stopped wearing protective styles during colder month and, while I didn’t experience breakage, my length retention plateaued. If I was only trying to maintain my length then my change in routine wouldn’t necessarily be a problem. However, because I was still actively trying to grow my hair from arm pit length to mid back length changing my proven length retention routine ultimately slowed down my progress.
7. Prioritizing curl defining products over moisturizers leading to severe lack of moisture
If you’ve been following my posts for a while, then you know that my hair is extremely dry. When I had a TWA, I thought that lots of products that claim to produce curls was the best thing for my hair. I would pile on curly, twirly, wavey, coily, creams and gels, but not a drop of moisture. The more a product claimed to enhance curls, the better – is what my mind told me. I did this on top of washing my hair daily. Needless to say that my hair would look fine after it was just washed and product was applied, but looked dry and hard at the end of the day. I learned that I was stripping my hair and depriving it of something it craved – moisture. I changed my regimen when I realized that it wasn’t my hair that was causing me grief, but I was mistreating my hair and it was simply reacting.
8. Comparing hair journeys
This has to be the biggest mistake that I’ve ever made during my natural hair journey. I initially went natural because I was tired of having relaxers burn my scalp and cause sores. However, after I went natural, I started following other’s natural hair journey and compared their journeys to my own. Why wasn’t my hair growing like her hair if we’ve been natural just as long? Why is my texture different from hers? Why can’t my hair do that? These are the questions that I would ask myself often. This was a major mistake. You can’t compare your hair journey to anyone else’s journey. There are too many variables when it comes to hair to try and compare. You may think your hair isn’t growing because it’s not the same length as someone else’s who has been natural just as long, but their hair may just be giving off the illusion that its longer because of their texture. My hair draws up and grows up and out, while someone else’s hair may grow down and hang. Those two very different heads of hair may be close to the same length when straightened. Your hair is your own and it’s unique to you. One I accepted that, my hair loved me for it.
In other words…Listen to your hair! The kinder you are to it! The more it will obey!
Peace! Love and Blessings!How