The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Longer and healthier hair - some thoughts and suggestions (Part 1)

Long Hair!
Long Hair!
My kingdom for long hair!

I have heard that black people cannot grow long hair. I have also heard that black people with long hair are not full black and must have their blood/genes mixed with other races. This is bollocks! It is untrue therefore it is a lie. Black people can and do grow long hair. Black women who keep their hair natural can and do grow long hair. There are so many examples of this around us -  open your eyes and look around. My sisters are daily examples of this.

 Trust me, they are FULL BLACK NIGERIANS with no mixed blood what-so-ever. That's my sister (above) showing the current length (as of yesterday) of her hair.

At some point, I also thought that I could not grow long hair. It was brought to my attention that if I stopped chopping off my hair annually I would have longer hair. Who knew! ;p I do have longer hair (longer than it was before) but it does not show like some other hair textures. So if you want to keep your hair natural and have it cascading down your back you may want to get some form of dredlocs (see pictures) or put your hair in a style that shows the length like threading, twists or braids.

 There is some psychology involved when discussing long hair. Many people equate long hair with healthy hair. I am not sure if this is true. However, I tend to lean towards the camp of healthy hair could lead to long hair. So I advocate that we should aim for healthy hair instead.

There is also the belief that women with longer hair are ... 'better' than women with shorter hair. I was told that this is because of the unconscious (or sub-conscious) need of humans to mate with those that have "superior" genes. Longer hair is generally seen as evidence of superior genes. So this becomes an issue for black women. If it is true that we cannot grow longer hair then it means we have inferior genes then it means ... see where this line of thinking can lead? There is an evolutionary tone to this type of thinking and it can be problematic.

Genes (and hormones) do play a role in this discussion but not in the "good genes" vs "bad genes" tone. Some folks have the tendency to grow long hair quicker because of their genetic make-up. While some of us learn patience through the hair growth process. So two people using the same hair growth technique under the same conditions may get different results because of their varying genetic disposition. I have met women who struggled to grow long hair but got long and healthy hair when they were pregnant and their hair is still very long today. Some other pregnant women did not experience this biological reaction to pregnancy.  So before you run out screaming "I'll never get long hair like her!" you may want to think "I don't have genes like her." OR "My body does not respond to ... like her".

This leads to my final point, comparing yourself with another person rarely brings satisfaction or contentment. So put comparisons in a bag, then put the bag in a dustbin and wait for the garbage truck to pick it up and get rid of it! Do not use comparisons as a hard and fast rule for judging the progress of your hair. Yes, we look at someone's hair and notice it is shiny and soft and we want that. But declaring or concluding that your hair is BAD or NOT GOOD or WILL NEVER BE because it is not like Ms. Shiny Hair over there is just not going to take you any where. Instead, learn about the principles of good hair care and adopt those good habits in a way that your hair will respond. Doing the right thing for your hair is far more productive and rewarding.

Many women have gone to great lengths (pun definitely intended) to grow long hair. They have spent large sums of money, gone to far away places, and put in many hours dedicated to growing long hair. Once again, I advocate for healthy hair. Most of us stopped using relaxers and went natural because we noticed that our hair was unhealthy. Perhaps it is time to go back to the basics.

The next post will contain some suggestions on things you could try to grow healthier and longer hair. So till then ...

Keep it natural!


1 comment:

Sheryl Duncan said...

Thanks for that very informative article! I just made the decision to make an effort to take care of my hair. Au naturale!