Natural Black Hair

Articles and features on black hair care and black hair styles.

Natural Black Hair

Natural Black Hair
By Locks&

Since antiquity, women of African descent have had a love affair with their natural hair. And in recent years, Black women and men are proudly asserting a renewed affinity for their African ancestry by wearing natural hairstyles. Truly “virgin” hair – having no chemical or thermal based processing – brings out the unique quality of Black beauty while providing a myriad of styling choices and freedom from harsh chemicals and hot irons.

From close-cropped, neatly clipped Afros and fades, diminutive twists, and Rastafarian-inspired dreads, to intricately crafted, cascading braids, Black women are redefining beauty and expressing their ethnicity in creative and distinctively explicit ways. Natural hair virtually shouts, “Black is beautiful!” No longer a crown of shame, it’s a declaration of independence from years of servitude to societal norms.

Thinking of going natural? First, visit your stylist and have an assessment of your hair’s overall condition. Going natural takes time and patience. If you have a chemical relaxer, or thio (soft-curl) perm, you’re going to have to give your hair time to revert back to its natural state. Don’t believe the old wives’ tale about rinsing your hair in milk to cause reversion. The only thing that will reverse the effect of chemical processing, which has altered your hair’s natural wave pattern, is time. Your hair will have to grow out from the roots into what is termed “virgin” hair. In other words, you’re going back to the hair you were born with. Some prefer to just cut off the relaxed or chemically processed hair, rather than wait for the hair to grow out completely to the end. But if you don’t want to take those drastic measures, consider the following hair growth options:

1. Thermo Pressing -- Have your stylist give your hair a soft thermal press only at the new growth. Done properly, this will prevent the hair from breaking badly as it gradually grows. Your stylist will gently shampoo and condition the hair and scalp at least every two weeks, until the new growth can get stronger.

2. Braid Extensions – Human or synthetic hair braided into your own natural hair helps keep new virgin hair growth under control and prevent excessive breakage. Make sure to remove the extensions and have your hair treated and conditioned regularly; and avoid excessively tight braids, which may place too much tension on delicate hair.

3. Wigs and Falls -- If you want to look presentable while your natural hair grows out, go undercover and wear a wig. Available in human and synthetic hair, wigs come in flattering styles and can be cut to compliment your face. To avoid damage from wearing a wig over a long period of time, be sure to shampoo, condition and neatly braid your own hair first and wear a stocking cap. Avoid wearing wigs too regularly, or they will cause thinning at the temples. As often as possible, remove the wig and let your own hair breathe. Massage your scalp, especially at the temples, with a light, herbal oil or cream. Wear a silk scarf or use a satin pillowcase at bedtime to avoid breakage from friction.

Whatever your natural styling choice, one thing is certain – natural hair is a beautiful expression of your African ancestry!
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