Journeys are about growth, exploration, and all the experiences that come with them. My hair journey is no different. It has been an amazingly fun ride with ups and downs, but what is most important, is that I’m able to learn my hair along the way.
Each of our hair is different (even within a hair-type!), so I think it’s completely okay that what works for someone else completely does not work for me, and vice versa.
So here’s what I learned definitely DOES NOT work for me. Enjoy 🙂
1. Pineapple method – a nighttime routine many naturals use to keep volume and definition of twist outs. You typically pull hair into a loose ponytail on top of your head, and in the morning, fluff it out.
Why not for me?: I don’t know what the technical term is or what the culprit is (lack of moisture, protein, etc.), but my hair stays in WHATEVER form I put it in (especially if in that style over night). So pulling my hair into a loose ponytail on top of my head just leads to wild hair in the morning that won’t lay downward (think Don King!). Maybe with more length this will work better for me???
What I do instead: I’ve resorted to just sleeping with a bonnet when I want to maintain a twist out. I pull my sides back (like Eddie Murphy in Vampire in Brooklyn, haha!), but I don’t secure it with a ponytail or anything. In the morning, fluffing works out much better for me.
2. Dry detangling – This label can be misleading. I am not referring to detangling without any type of product ( I definitely detangle with product), but detangling without any water is another story. In other words. I need water to detangle these tresses!
Why not for me?: My hair is tightly, tightly, tightly, coiled, and it catches on itself ALL OF THE TIME. Because it’s always tangling, not only do I need product to help the strands slide past each other, I need wet hair that is a little more elastic and can hold a little more weight. There are debates about whether your hair is stronger wet or dry, but I know my hair responds as if it is stronger when wet.
What I do instead: I only detangle on wet hair and under the water stream. It’s almost as if the water pressure helps to push my hair downward, keeping it from re-tangling (totally not scientific…I made that up!)
3. Wash and go – Just like it sounds, many naturals wash their hair, apply product and typically finish with minimal manipulation/styling. Some of the best wash and gos I’ve seen incorporate some type of finger-combing with a light, natural gel for best results. I tried it…once.
Why not for me?: This is one of the styles I dreamed about doing when I was transitioning. I tried it early on after becoming completely natural and…well, it was a hot mess. I tried the finger-combing method described above because that was recommended for 4c hair. 1. It took me an hour to do a small section in the back of my head because my hair is so thick. 2. It still just looked like an afro with very little to no definition. Nothing against afros of course. I love ’em, it’s just not the look I was going for then. I decided the effort was not worth, and moved on, sadly.
What I do instead: At the very least, I dry in twists. That’s as close to washing and going I’m going to get. I do love the idea of it though. It’s a hair fantasy for me 🙂 But I have learned that my hair loves me more when I keep it in stretched styles. This really helps my detangling sessions.
4. No-poo (shampoo): I actually really like this method in theory. I can definitely tell how shampoo strips my hair of its moisture. So I attempted a no-shampoo regimen for about a month. Yea, not a good look.
Why not for me?: I blame my scalp issues mainly. I have a scalp condition that requires my scalp be cleaned with a medicated shampoo as to not cause flare ups of scales, itching, and burning (sorry if TMI). This is probably exaggerated by my “6 days a week” work out schedule. All of that sweat can’t possibly help, right?
What I do instead: I’ve been sticking to my doctor recommended weekly washes with shampoo, and it seems to be keeping my scalp condition under control. I’m thinking about trying a “week 1, shampoo”, “week 2, cowash” routine. I used to do this while transitioning. We’ll see how that goes.
5. The Denman – I think this was the most talked about tool when I was transitioning. Everyone was detangling with the Denman. My girl from back home made it looks so easy, and her hair texture is pretty close to mine. So I tried it…kind of.
Why not for me?: I actually didn’t get far with the Denman. I tried detangling from the ends to the root and got about 4 strokes in before I couldn’t take it anymore. There were just so many bristles, so close together, raking through my hair and pulling my sensitive strands out. The sound alone made me cringe, haha. I caved and went back to my wide-toothed comb.
What I do instead: Some naturals manually tweak their Denman so there aren’t as many bristles. Completely makes sense. For me, I just need as few bristles/teeth as possible. Again, this is because of tightly coiled my hair is, and how it’s just so attracted to itself that it tangles every chance it gets. That’s why I stick with the wide-toothed comb. I’d do 100% finger detangling if I had the patience, but until then, I’m sticking by my comb.
That’s all I have! I look forward to the other experiences and lessons to learn throughout the future of my hair journey.