Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Three Years Natural and Still Longing for Length?
Imagine every twist and turn in a hair strand to be vulnerable for breakage. So the most wiry, kinky, zig zag hair has the most possible break points. Right? So when you see people who have been "going natural" for three years and their hair is still not any longer than three years ago, you ask what is wrong?
Well, It is breaking. It is tangling. It may be shedding more because it is tangling. Then it is trimmed regularly to keep some shape to it and to keep it from tangling as much. It is a vicious cycle. For some women, only sections of the head may have a really kinky texture to it. For other women, they are dealing with a full head of "hard to manage" hair.
So what do you do to stop the breakage and start gaining length? Here are the choices that I have come up with:
1) Relax it - Pros: Relaxers, soft curls, and texturizers eliminate some of the break points by reducing the curliness of the hair. Cons: The scalp which is living may suffer damage. Also, chemicals plus heat styling could still weaken the already vulnerable hair. So you may gain length short term, but you may lose density long-term.
2) Lock it - Pros: The natural shedding of the hair drops down into the dreadlock and compacts so that you never lose length. You may still get breakage if the locks dry out, but otherwise, you are never combing out any hair as when you comb out loose natural hair. Cons: Dreadlocks are not always accepted by certain social classes, jobs, and work environments.
3) Hard Press it- Pros: Hard pressing will eventually permanently straighten the hair or train it to stay straight. Cons: Healthy hard pressing has become a lost skill set because of the relaxer/ creamy crack generation.
These are the only three choices for kinkier hair types who want to gain length.
If you have a loose natural curl pattern, then you should have no problems gaining length regardless of chemicals or NO chemicals. This topic really would not concern you unless you have a child whose hair is kinkier than yours.
So in hindsight, I wished that I had started my dreadlock journey a long time ago. My scalp was always sensitive to relaxers from my childhood days and continued into my adult life. I was always tenderheaded. My hair has always been very hard to manage.
I think that I and my mom have spent much of my forty something years trying to control my hair. If I only knew then what I know now, I would have chosen to lock my hair a lot sooner, but we are on God's time and ordered according to His plan for us.
I appreciate the journey and knowledge gained along the way.