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FEATURES Oct 16 2013 6:45PM

5 Things Being a Veteran Naturalista Taught Me

by Mojo of NaturalHairMojo.com

While I by no means consider myself a “guru,” I have fallen victim to thinking I know everything about my hair on several occasions. After 4 years in, I had whittled down my product stash to 5 or 6 must-haves. I was over the “fad” hair growth products and techniques and learned that a watched pot truly doesn’t boil. Now that I am approaching five and a half years as a proud naturalista, there are still a few important things that I need to be reminded of from time to time.

1 -- The Importance of Sealing

For the first three years of my journey, I didn’t make a regular habit of sealing. It wasn’t until my hair growth stagnated after I reached armpit length (APL) that I decided to revamp my regimen and try sealing with a blend of coconut and olive oil. The proof was in the pudding when I saw fewer split ends, less breakage and achieved longer lengths.

2 -- Downsize that Product Stash!

It’s easy to run to the store and buy everything that our latest hair crush swears by, but this means NOTHING if the products aren’t optimal for your hair. In short, a solid regimen, complete with proper cleansing, moisturizing and detangling, means much more to the health and length of your hair than what brand of conditioner you purchase. Researching why a specific product works or doesn’t work for you – learning what the ingredients are, trying a conditioner as a deep treatment vs a cowash, etc – is maybe the single most beneficial thing a new natural can do for the future health of her hair.

3 -- It's OK to be a Lazy Natural!

We all are familiar with that one blogger, vlogger or friend who seems to do a lot to take care of their hair. The pressure to do everything you can to achieve the ultimate head of hair can frankly be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been caring for your own hair for very long. The truth is that hair care is very simple: keep it clean and moisturized and for the most part, it will grow.

4 -- ...but not TOO lazy!

While we don’t all strive to be a master natural hair stylist by our first natural-versary, it is important to remember that breakage and matting are very real and can wreak havoc on your entire journey. Hair grows in cycles, and regardless of whether we rock a super sleek high bun or long luxurious box braids, it WILL shed. On top of that, too much moisture can do as much damage as not enough, and must be balanced with the proper amount of protein for your particular strands.

5 -- We still have a LONG way to go!

One thing I love hearing from other naturalistas is how many friends and family members cite them as “inspiration” to go natural. However, we can’t let the increasing number of naturals in the public eye fool us into thinking we live in a utopian society where everyone accepts our hair in its natural state. Some ladies are perfectly fine with relaxing their hair, and it’s not up to us (or anyone, really) to dictate how someone else should care for their hair. In that same vein, recent news stories such as 7-year-old Tiana, who was sent home from school due to her “faddish” dreadlocks, and Sheryl Underwood’s unfortunate comments on “nappy, nasty” natural hair struck a nerve. Ultimately, all we can do is attempt to set the standard for how those with natural hair should be perceived: no better or worse than anyone else.


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