Despite our differences in curl pattern, porosity, length, or density, there is one thing that I’m pretty confident all naturals can agree on: being natural ain’t easy!
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my natural hair and would never go back to life without my curls and kinks, despite the convenience that my relaxed hair gave me. BUT, #thestruggle is so real sometimes. 😩
As real as it is, the natural hair struggle is not impossible to overcome! I’m sharing my 3 biggest natural hair struggles along with a few tips I’ve learned that can help you deal with the struggle, too!
Yes, detangling can be very intense sometimes! Especially if it has been several days since the last time you detangled, your curly/kinky hair can become very knotted and even matted, making it difficult to run a comb or fingers through your tresses. Detangling your hair is also an extremely important part of your natural hair regimen because the process can either help you maintain your hair’s health and retain length or lead to excessive breakage and shedding. (See my post here about length retention and the importance of detangling gently on wet hair.)
My tips: I’ve learned to only detangle my hair when it is wet and saturated with conditioner to add slip and minimize breakage. I utilize low-manipulation styles that don’t require much detangling in between wash days so I am not forced to detangle on dry hair that is more susceptible to breakage.
2. Managing the Thickness of my Hair
When I say that my hair is thick, what I really mean is that my hair is high density, or that I have many, densely packed individual strands of hair. Thick (high density) hair can be challenging to manage for many reasons, including a longer hair drying time (sometimes it takes 2 days for my hair to air dry!), difficulty in accomplishing certain hair styles, difficulty in finding products that work well, and, as I just mentioned above, difficulty in detangling.
My tips: The best way to manage thick (high density) hair is to do everything in small sections. I would recommend at least 2 sections, but 4 to 6 is best. This includes washing and conditioning, detangling, and styling. It can seem tedious to do everything in small sections, but it makes managing a lot of hair MUCH easier. Patience is also very important here. If you have thick (high density) hair, understand that doing anything to your hair will be a process and set aside the necessary time to manage it properly. Trying to rush through it will not only lead to undesirable results, but can also cause damage and breakage.
3. Single Strand Knots
Single strand knots, also know as “fairy knots,” occur when a single strand of hair loops around itself and causes a knot. In my experience, single strand knots typically develop near the ends of the hair. There have been points in my natural hair journey where I would run my fingers through my hair and feel what seemed like thousands of tiny beads (single strand knots) at the ends. It can be very frustrating because these knots can lead to breakage and they also give the ends of your hair have a “shabby” look.
My tips: Although single strand knots cannot be avoided as a natural, they can definitely be minimized. First, if you notice that you have many single strand knots, you should get a trim, preferably by a professional but you can also “dust,” or very slightly trim, your own ends with a pair of hair shears. Your hair is also less likely to form single strand knots if you keep it in a stretched style. Wash and go’s are notorious for causing single strand knots, so I would suggest twist outs or braid outs as an alternative if you are being mindful of your ends. Finally, keep your hair moisturized. Dry hair is more likely to get knotted, so it is ideal to deep condition regularly and keep your hair moisturized between wash days in order to avoid single strand knots.
What are some of your biggest #naturalhairstruggles and what are your tips for dealing with them? Share below!