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3 Myths about Black Hair

By Phemelo Segoe

Have you heard things like ‘black hair doesn’t grow’ or ‘black hair hates water’? Well, you’re not alone. So many of these misconceptions and myths are told over and over until people believe they’re true. In this article, we will be busting black hair myths and giving you the facts so that you can correct the misinformed.

1. Black hair does not grow

This is the most common and perhaps damaging myth about black hair. The belief that black hair doesn’t grow presents many black women with the dilemma of having to seek extensions and hair straighteners to source length.

Just to get the facts out of the way, everyone’s hair grows at an average rate of 1-2 inches per month - including black hair.

When black hair is at its most natural and healthy state, it shrinks (coils tighten). This is just a reflection of the hair’s elasticity and thus, health. If you want to see your hair’s straightened length, you can do so without applying relaxers or heat. Here is a tutorial on how to straighten your hair without heat or relaxing.

If your hair seems to be stuck, you might not be retaining length and this can be a result of over processing your hair, heat damage and even a lack of nutrients. Make sure you are gentle with your and intentional about caring for it.

2. Black hair is hard to manage

Have you heard this one before? Or maybe you’ve been the one spreading this myth?

Natural hair is textured and coiled so if you’re attempting to treat it like straight hair, it will definitely seem hard to manage. You cannot use the same tools as you would and straight hair and expect the same results. You cannot pretend that your hair will behave like straight hair when treated like straight hair, that is just you setting yourself up for disappointment and worse, a bad hair day.

Learning how to treat your natural hair in a manner that doesn't try to change it or alter it will bring you into better understanding of how to manage your hair. Give yourself time to reconnect with your hair. Give yourself permission to explore what your hair can do and get to know what kind of ingredients your hair responds well to. Taking care of natural hair means unlearning everything you learned about straight hair and relearning something new, something different, something gentle.

3. Black hair isn’t fragile

Black hair looks strong. It looks like it’s tough and doesn’t look like it’s very fragile but it is. Black hair is not only fragile but requires patience and delicate handling. Unfortunately, years of misunderstanding black hair allowed us to mistreat black hair.

From over-manipulating to rough treatment, black hair has been abused for centuries because of the false narrative that it is tough.

In truth, black hair is fragile.

Black hair needs TLC in order to really flourish. Black hair loves wide tooth combs, low-to-no heat, products made with natural ingredients, water and your fingers!! If you spend more time untangling instead of forcing a comb through your hair in haste, then you will retain more length and save yourself from unnecessary breakage. If you regularly hydrate your hair, you will see it in its natural shine and strength. Black hair needs love, like all good things.

These three myths have wreaked havoc in the natural hair community so we need to continue dispelling them in order to change attitudes towards black hair and improve treatment of black hair.

MPL Fam, which myth did you believe once upon a time?

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