2020 is right around the corner, and with that we say goodbye to another year, and another decade, and harmful natural hair myths and narratives that need to be left in the dust.
2019 was a great year for natural hair. We saw successful product launches and new blogs and socials dedicated to the beauty of natural hair, all of which have contributed to closing a gap regarding afro-centric beauty.
And not going to lie, The Curl Market had a great year too. 🙂
Still, there’s a lot of misinformation around natural hair and natural hair myths that need to be left in 2019. These natural hair myths perpetuate a harmful narrative around vulnerable hair textures and hair types that, frankly, just aren’t true.
Some of these natural hair myths also support false narratives about how to maintain and manage natural hair.
And some (if not many) of the natural hair products on the market further align with these natural hair myths (here's looking at you, No-Poo).
To that I say: we’re not here for it anymore!
Ready to find out which natural hair myths you need to leave in the dust this upcoming decade? Let’s go!
We’re not standing for negativity in 2020, and that goes for negative natural hair myths too!
Since the beginning of the natural hair movement, there has been constant debate about some of the below natural hair myths that are both unsupported and problematic AF.
The bottom line is, natural hair and tighter textures (3c and above) can do anything that other hair textures can do (3b and below).
Tight-textured hair may be different from a molecular standpoint, but at the end of the day, hair is hair, regardless of whose head it grows out from!
The goal of The Curl Market is to debunk these natural hair myths and let the world know that natural hair can grow, thrive and be just as beautiful as any other hair type (and, in our biased opinion, sometimes even better).
And that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.
Here are the top eight natural myths that cannot come with us in the new year.
Type 4 Hair Can’t Grow
This is my favourite natural hair myth that I love to debunk.
Why? BECAUSE IT’S UNTRUE!
There is no greater ignorance than telling someone that learning how to grow Type 4 natural hair is impossible. There is simply no basis for it.
Some of the most prominent and well-known natural hair bloggers have Type 4 hair. And their hair is long as hell.
With the right methods and techniques, learning how to grow Type 4 natural hair can be effortless and simple. The problem is that we haven’t been taught these methods and techniques.
Fortunately, we’ve outlined the tried and true method to learning how to grow Type 4 natural hair, which is easy to follow and centers around mainly two things: moisture and length retention.
Your Hair Type Is The Only Thing You Need to Know About Your Hair
There is merit in knowing your hair type, whether you fall in Type 3 or Type 4 natural hair, and using that to navigate through different natural hair products and techniques.
But what really matters, especially for those transitioning to natural hair, is porosity.
Natural hair Porosity
Natural hair porosity is the ability of your hair to absorb water and/products.
Low porosity natural hair has a low absorption rate, because the cuticles are stubbornly closed. It is difficult for this hair porosity to absorb moisture.
High porosity natural hair has a high absorption rate, because the cuticles are always open. It is difficult for this hair porosity to retain moisture.
Your porosity will indicate how well your hair absorbs water and products. For example, if you’re low porosity and you notice your hair is super parched and brittle, it’s because your cuticles are so tight that the hair isn’t absorbing any of the moisturizing products you’re using.
And if you’re high porosity, your cuticles are always open, so products and water evaporate just as fast as you put them on your hair. You will also notice dry, parched hair.
Once you understand these details about your hair, you’ll be able to create a personalized routine that works for you. Regardless of your curl pattern!
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Not All Chemicals are Bad For You
Let’s not get this one twisted. Some of the worst ingredients for natural hair are chemicals.
Shitty, low-grade, and harmful chemicals that have long-term ramifications on not only your hair, but on your various body functions as well.
But, some of the worst ingredients for natural hair are also "natural" ingredients, too.
And some of the best ingredients are synthetic.
Let’s be real here: a brand will never tell us which ingredients in their natural hair products for bad for us. That’s just not going to happen.
So we need to empower ourselves on which ingredients promote our natural hair journey AND are safe to use. 2020 is the year of self-empowerment, sis!
Shampoo is Bad For You
This is a myth that should have been left in 2015.
The act of clarification and cleaning natural hair is IMPERATIVE for natural hair, regardless of hair type. Product buildup, especially at the scalp, can lead to clogged follicles that can cause some serious damage.
This is especially true for low porosity natural hair, where product buildup is always imminent without a weekly shampoo session.
Read our guide on the best shampoos for low porosity naturals to know which one is right for you.
Your wash day routine is imperative to grow long natural hair. Having a solid wash day routine for natural hair can be the difference between having healthy hair and hair that is brittle, dry and lifeless.
Now that we got that out of the way, the question is: how should natural hair be clarified?
For most naturals, two different shampoos are needed: a moisturizing, gentle shampoo that contains gentler detergents such as cocamidopropyl betaine, and a clarifying shampoo for a deeper clean with ingredients like tea tree, African black soap and possibly sulfates (if you're hair can handle it).
Depending on your hair porosity and texture, you may find that weekly shampoo, which is recommended for most naturals, is too harsh. This is normally seen in Type 4 natural hair.
If using a gentle, moisture-rich shampoo is still too harsh for weekly use, try shampooing biweekly and doing a co-wash in between. As long as your scalp remains clean and free of buildup, you can cleanse on an as-need basis.
Natural Hair Should Always Be In Protective Styles
Protective styles are wonderful for natural hair. It retains moisture throughout the entirety of the hair, which in turn helps naturals retain length.
But too often we see naturals abuse and neglect their hair once they are styled and tucked away.
Styles that are too tight will stress the hair and follicles, leading to increased hair shedding and subsequent hair thinning, and possible irreversible conditions like alopecia.
Styles that are left in too long are also not good for natural hair. Neglected hair in a style that’s been installed for more than 8 weeks will cause dryness and product buildup, also damaging the hair and scalp.
Take protective styling with you in 2020 so long as your style meets the following conditions:
Oils “Moisturize” Hair
Yet another example of deceitful advertising.
Oil is not a hydrator because there’s no water in it. Oil is a sealant. This means that, when you add your moisturizing products such as leave-ins, using an oil will seal all that good moisture in.
Examples of such sealants include grapeseed oil, castor oil and sweet almond oil.
There are three oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft, similar to how water can. Although this isn’t technically “moisturizing”, it works in a similar function to heal the hair shaft from the inside out. These are coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil.
Be sure know which natural hair oils are best for your hair. As a general rule of thumb, olive oil and avocado oil are good for both low and high porosity hair, while coconut oil is good for high porosity hair.
You Can Repair Split Ends
This is a myth that applies to all hair types.
Many natural hair products claim to “repair and restore split ends”, and upon using that product, you will magically see your split ends fused back together.
This is entirely untrue.
No product can glue split ends back together. That’s just another example of how cosmetic brands are able to deceive the general public with good branding and great advertising.
Now, what products can do is stop any further breakage in its tracks. Moisture-based products can keep the split end from creating a deeper split. Protein-based products will strengthen your hair to ensure that no further split ends will be made on other strands.
So, remember that if a product is claiming to repair split ends, it’s most likely a hoax. The only way to fix split ends is to cut them loose!
Black Hair is "Harder" Than White Hair
There is literally no basis for this claim. This is one natural hair myth that stems from a place of racism and ignorance, framing white people as "delicate" and "fragile" and black people as "tough" and "barbaric".
But to address it, studies have shown that black hair is actually more sensitive than white hair because of all the kinks and bends in our hair that are points of potential breakage.
Natural Hair Isn’t Beautiful
Natural hair is gorgeous, beautiful, effortless, resilient and out-of-this-world. With the right tips and tricks, your hair will flourish, shine, and prosper in 2020!
The Bottom Line
The above natural hair myths are common in the black and natural hair community, and it's unfortunate that many of these stem from racist, ignorant perspectives.
Black is beautiful, and natural hair is an exclusive link to blackness.
Bring the new year in with healthy, natural hair tips and disregard the natural hair myths outlined above. Your hair will thank you!