6 Undeniably Frustrating Things About Natural Hair

Great post found at Black Girl With Long Hair! A lot of truth to it!

1. Protective Styling

Protective styling (or low manipulation styling) is one of the cardinal rules of natural hair, and although many naturals come to appreciate it, it is certainly an acquired taste. I mean, who doesn’t want to show off their curls, coils and kinks?? Plus, we live in a non-protective styling culture. From movie stars to street fashionistas, wearing your hair out and long is the name of the game. While protective styles like turbans and headwraps have gained some traction, the average American woman doesn’t have her hair tucked away. Still, in the name of hair health, many naturals hide their ends for days or even weeks at a time. The end result is beautiful, luscious hair, but Lord knows it can be frustrating.

2. Growing Out the Big Chop

I’ve never seen a big chop I didn’t like. The low cut style works wonders for highlighting a woman’s eyes and bone structure. Not so much the awkward 4 and 5 inches that follow. It’s a weird length where your hair is not short enough to be a fade, but not long enough to be the curly mop so many of us crave. The best way to get through the awkward phase? Figure out at least 2 styles that look good at that length (twist outs and flat twisted updos are good options) and stick with them. Also, buy copious amounts of headbands, flower clips and hair accessories.

3. The Product Chase

While there are some natural products that are almost universally effective (coconut oil and shea butter in particular), beyond that there are seemingly infinite variations; water-based moisturizers/spritzes, leave in conditioners, hair butters, deep conditioners, styling products. They’re everywhere! While products aren’t the primary determinant of hair health, and they certainly won’t make or break your regimen, it’s nonetheless important to find a set of products that work well together, and leave your cuticle feeling smooth and soft. And the time it takes to test out various combinations of products can be undeniably frustrating.

4. The Styling Learning Curve

It’s not so much that natural hair is difficult to style — most anyone can do a puff or a set of twists — it’s that it can be challenging to learn styles for a variety of scenarios. How do you style your hair for a date? A casual weekend? A work conference? A formal event? It can take months to figure out a set of basic looks that can work in a variety of situations.

5. The Regimen Tweak

There is a wealth of knowledge about natural hair online — and while that’s mostly a good thing, it can also present a challenge. Every day dozens of naturals give haircare advice — on blogs, in forums and on YouTube — and they’re all right because they’re all speaking from their own point of view. One might recommend co-washing, while another recommends using shampoo. One might recommend low manipulation styles, while another recommends heavy protective styling. One might recommend a daily spritz while another recommends a full sealing regimen. It’s all relative. Part of going natural is trying out these different bits and pieces of advice until you find what works best for you. It can be frustrating, but it’s an inevitable part of the journey.

6. The Temptation to Compare

For every natural who grows out a gorgeous, full head of hair in no time flat, there are plenty others that are struggling. But with blogs, Pinterest boards and Tumblrs providing a constant stream of “natural hair porn” it can be tempting to compare and become subsequently frustrated with your own progress. Be sure to view hair porn as inspiration ONLY and not a timetable or template of what your hair should be like. It’s also good to draw inspiration from all kinds of naturals. All your natural hair idols don’t have to have waist-length hair. There are plenty of gorgeous naturals with short, fine and mid-length hair to die for.

So what are some frustrations with your own hair?


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  1. My personal battle is styling and manipulating my natural hair. I didn’t style my hair when it was straight, and now that I’m natural, I’m excited to break that trend. TWA aside, I’m at a length were I do have SOME, although few, styling options. My issue is just getting used to manipulating my natural texture. I’m not great at braiding,flat twisting, where to place a bobby pin or hair comb to hold my hair in place, the mix of products to use to get the desiered look, UGH! I just have to get used to the feel of my own hair and what it does all over again. I’m still not sure what my hair does if that makes sense lol. It’s a battle, but I’ve always loved a challange 🙂

  2. I would love to do a protective style but every time I take them down my edges are thinner. I am trying to grow them back and when you have that 4-5 in hair you don’t have many options for protective styles weaves, braids and yarn braids all place strain on my edges that I am trying to grow back I have to settle for flat twist covered by a beanie I wear it like that for a week take it down deep condition and put them back in but I would to be able to get another set of yarn braids I loved those things!

  3. Shrinkage! My near bra strap twist out transforms into a TWA by the end of the day. With the shrinkage comes tangles and single strand knots.

  4. cheri lyday says:

    I love natural hair. I grew out of my perm two years ago. I am trying to learn to manage my hair myself.
    I live in a small city that has a limited number of salons and getting an appointment is a nightmare. I am learning to manage my hair myself. I live in Texas and the hot summer is rapidly approaching and I would just love to have a manageable protective style for the season. I need help with my 4C mane.

  5. One thing about natural hair that drives me crazy, is shrinkage!! UGH . I don’t know if I’ll ever get over shrinkage.

  6. One of my greatest challenges was learning to style my hair on humid days. My hair becomes a tight shrunken fro when the humidity is high and I can do nothing except pull it into a puff. However, I’ve learned to love my hair and just ‘ go with it’ no matter what She decides to do.

  7. NaturallyNette says:

    I’ve been natural for 15 months and love it!! But I have lots of frustrations from shrinkage to styling! I never styled my own hair EVER!! So now that I am natural and my hair is growing fast I have no idea how to style it!! I cannot find a deep conditioner, have no idea how to categorize my hair, and there are way too many videos n blogs to read!! I’m about sick of two strand twists!! Overall I love my natural hair but it can become too much at times!! I have a wedding tomorrow n have no idea how to style it!! :((

  8. Single strand knots 🙁

  9. multiple textures that have various shrinkage (front doesn’t shrink, back draws up; front is loose and wavy weird frizz, back is cute coils)single strand knots and lint, arrrrghhhhh

  10. I have a solution to the single knots and protective style dilemma. KinkyCurlyYaki sells only textured extensions like kinky curly and afro kinky curly. I can show off my curls without the dreaded shrinkage. Here’s their face book page http://www.fb.com/kinkycurlyyaki

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