Welcome to a new year in your natural hair journey. Hallelujah! Now is the perfect time for you to clean house and rid yourself of a few bad hair habits – even the ones you don’t want to admit that you have. Who me? Yes you, the chick who plays with your hair while you’re in class or a meeting. How about you, the woman who’s constantly stretching out her shrinkage to see if it’s grown. I’m not pointing any fingers, but it seems we’re all guilty of these unhealthy tendencies.
Some of you even confessed on Twitter your bad natural hair habits that you want to break:
@VestaHart: “Going to sleep without hair protection.”
@Afrodiziac80: “I don’t deep condition often enough, or regularly. Gotta love up on my hair more.”
@Yes_Natty: “Re-twisting my locks too often.”
@Jana2u: “Not properly moisturizing and co-washing my hair.”
@TatianaZamir: “Not Trimming more regularly.”
If you can relate, we’re going to explore seven bad hair habits to break this year. With the help of Felicia Leatherwood of Loving Your Hair who give tons of practical and realistic advice, you’ll be able to break these bad boys in no time. You may not be ready, but I’m sure your coif is. Remember, the first step to fixing the problem is admitting you have one. Let’s do this!
BAD HAIR HABIT #1 – CONSTANTLY HAVING YOUR HAND IN YOUR HAIR
You can’t go five minutes without touching your kinks and curls. I get it. You’re fascinated by your own hair texture. Or you’re bored and have nothing else to do but play in your hair. Maybe your scalp just keeps itching. Whatever it is, you’ve got to quit it.
Have you ever felt suffocated by someone and you just need your space? Well your hair feels the same way about your hands. Digging and picking at your hair are just no good. Your fingers contain oils and dirt that can contaminate your curls. Besides that, playing with your hair gives men the idea that you’re flirting. And you wonder why the weird guy at the bookstore has a crush on you.
“How to keep your hands outta your hair? It’s like trying to stop sucking your thumb or biting your nails. You just have to be aware of what your hands are doing when you are idled. So if you find yourself in your hair without knowing how you got there. Just send loving energy to your hair and tell it to continue to grow and be strong and tell your hair you love it! May sound a bit cheesy, but it works (cause the hair can hear you)!”
Always having your hands in your hair will eventually lead to another horrible tendency…
BAD HAIR HABIT #2 – RIPPING OUT YOUR HAIR
While you’re playing with your hair, you notice one of those testy single-strand double knots. You examine it and wonder how exactly this happened. Next thing you know, you’re ripping the darn thing out. WTF!
Here’s another scenario: work has you stressed out. You’re fidgeting at your desk when you start fussing with your mane. Next thing you know, there’s a chunk of hair missing from your head. Later you’re trying a comb over to hide your new bald spot. Honey, that’s not a good look.
For the women who try twists and braid outs, you’re guilty of ripping your hair out too. I like to think of it an impatience combined with frustration. Either way, you’re need to slow it down and appreciate what you’ve got. To rip literally means to tear something by strong force. Normally when something is ripped, its left in shreds. Is that how you want your hair to be? I didn’t think so.
“Two of the quickest ways to achieve split ends are improper combing and brushing techniques as well as mis-treating your twisted hair by removing your twist in a violent way(also known as ripping hair out). Meaning when it comes to untwisting the hair, I’ve notices that women start the unraveling process way to high up on the hair shaft. You should always start untwisting at the bottom. If you start untwisting on the base of the scalp or even halfway down, it will cause potential breakage, split ends and the HAIR WILL GET RIPPED OUT…not good! Be patient with your hair and take your time!”
If you’re guilty of this hair sin, then I’m sure you’ve done this next one too.
BAD HAIR HAIBIT #3 – DETANGLING HARSHLY AND HASTILY
It’s like when you were a kid and you’d sit down for your mom to comb your frizzy, knotted bird’s nest. She would be so bothered that you went and messed up your hair right before you’ve got to go somewhere. Instead of spanking you, she took it out on your tender head.
Just like mom, you’re taking your frustration out on your hair. Instead of going section-by-section while you’ve got conditioner in it, you’re just combing or brushing it dry and rough. Snap, crackle, pop goes your hair. Once you look down and see the damage, you try to say that your hair is just shedding. When you’re throwing away clumps of hair without an actual cut, that’s not normal.
“When it comes to detangling your hair, lots of patience is involved. So the best way to detangle is to use Kinky Curly?s Knot Today Detangling Conditioner or Koils by Nature’s Shealoe Conditioner and lovingly separate with your fingers or you can use what I call a detangling wide tooth comb and start at the bottom of hair and work your way toward the root.”
Chances are if you detangle too harshly then you’re a culprit of….
BAD HAIR HABIT #4- NOT GETTING HAIRCUTS AND TRIMS
When was the last time you got a little trim? Well if you can’t remember, then you’re long overdue for one. You especially know it’s time for a little snip-snip when you start committing Bad Hair Habits #1 and 2.
Split ends. Single strand knots. Damage ends. These are all great reasons for a haircut. Even if you have none of the above, snipping off a bit of dead weight will allow your hair to rejuvenate. I used to get annoyed by trims because my hairstylist would cut off more than I wanted. But now, I understand that my hair needed the cut because it was looking lifeless.
“To trim or not to trim, is always a question in ones mind! You should trim your hair at least 5 times a year or every 8-10 weeks, that way your hair won’t continue to split up the shaft and cause undo hair loss.”
Getting your curls trimmed on a regular basis is a perfect way to experiment with different styles and shapes. Don’t be afraid to try new things. If your hair grows like ivy, then you’ll be back to your tried and trusted hairstyle in no time. This leads me to our next habit…
BAD HAIR HABIT #5 – OBSESSING OVER LENGTH AKA ‘HAIREXIA’
You thought that once you went natural, your hair would be down your back in a year. You read all those long hair forums and you try every trick possible to get Rapunzel’s hair. Every day you’re tugging at your shrinkage to check the progress on your length.
My diagnosis: you’ve got Hairexia. You suffer from a condition that causes you to think that your crowning glory just isn’t up to par when it probably is. So no matter how far your hair has come, you’re never going to be satisfied with the length.
“When it comes to hair length everyone is already pre-genetically dispositioned to having a certain amount of hair on their head as well as length. So don’t drive yourself too crazy, if you never receive “Rapunzel” status with your hair. If you want to obtain a little more length than what you have now, either blow dry every now and then or do dry twist outs (instead of twisting the hair while wet, twist after it’s completely dry with a cream based product like Carol’s Daughter – Healthy Hair Butter ) or simply take a hair supplement (Biotin, Viviscal, etc.) to grow your hair. But remember, any hair growth treatment will take five to six months to show its true colors with growing your hair, so don’t give up!”
Always measuring your hair and obsessing over trying to get someone else’s hair length – tisk, tisk. Now for the next one…
BAD HAIR HABIT #6 – COMPARING YOUR HAIR TO SOMEONE ELSE’S
We’ve all experienced a little curl envy. You spot someone’s fro across the way and wonder why you can’t have her hair. Or you’re always looking at photos of Solange or Tracy Ellis Ross daydreaming about what you’d look like with that hair. Guess what – it may or may not happen for you (especially if it has not happened already). When I first did my big chop, I’d hoped my hair would be just as fly as my natural hair icons. Well, it is just as fabulous, but in its own way. You’ve got to learn to work with what you’ve got.
“Never be confused or too dreamy about having someone else’s hair. Everybody has different hair textures, types, genetics and more importantly diet! So you have to accept where you are and who you are and love the you that God and your parents put together. Rock your self where you are in your life right now and make it be the best life you have…”
Part of wanting someone else’s mane means that you’re definitely committing the biggest natural hair sin of all…
BAD HAIR HABIT #7 – NOT LOVING YOUR HAIR RIGHT NOW
All your life people called your hair nappy, ugly, dry, coarse, too thick and even too thin. Even though you’re trying to embrace your kinks and curls in their natural state, those abusive words are still in your head. When you’re having a bad hair day, you really take it personally.
Learning to love your hair is a long process. This is why it’s called a Natural Hair Journey and not just a day trip. It may take you years to fully embrace what you have, but you’ve got to do it.
“Love the you, that makes you, you! Find that one thing that you love about yourself and make that be your staple signature, then find 3 hairstyles that you like to rock that represent your attitude and love for yourself! It could even be a hat or a hair accessory(weaves not included). Smile.”
NEW HAIR HABIT #1 – SMASHING THE BAD HABIT BUCKET
Writing this piece has been a a bit of self therapy. I’m definitely guilty of always having my hand in my hair and ripping my hair out. I know it’s not healthy, but I’m making progress and doing better. My new motto? Embrace what you have. Love what Mother Nature gave you.
— Nikia Phoenix