A few weeks back, we started a quiz series on the myth of natural hair where we look at popular myths and misconceptions about natural hair in greater detail.
This week, we’ll be looking at Quiz #3, which is;
True/False: Natural hair, particularly tightly coiled hair type (i.e. Type 4) is very strong.
Many women tend to mistake dry natural hair for strong hair. Dry coily hair can be compared to a pack of dry uncooked noodles. When you open a pack of noodles, each individual noodle is tightly packed together and cannot be separated unless you break it or crush the noodles into pieces. However, when you drop the pack of noodles into a bowl of water (hot, warm or cold) for a few minutes, each noodle in the pack will eventually soften and separate into stretchy noodles which can be easily digested.
So what does indomie have to do with natural hair?
When dry, a pack of noodles just like our natural hair, is hard, tough, stiff and crunchy. Although it’s hard at this point, it’s also very easy to break apart or to be crushed. But when you soak it in water for a few minutes, it becomes soft and more stretchy. This allows you to be able to pull and stretch a single Indomie before it actually breaks into two pieces.
Why does my hair feel so strong?
When natural hair is dry, it can be very painful and nearly impossible to get a comb through it. The hair can even be so tough to handle and braid. And so when you try to manipulate dry natural hair, you might end up with broken hair pieces all over the comb, your clothes and on the floor. But when natural hair is soaked in a deep conditioning treatment for a few minutes or hours, it becomes softer and more stretchy. This then allows you to be able to manipulate the hair with as little pain and breakage as possible.
So what I’m trying to say here is that when hydrated, your natural coils will no longer look tough and stiff as it did when it was dry.
How can natural hair be strengthened?
Although Black hair is just as strong as any other hair texture when it first grows out of the scalp, the kinks and bends in the hair weakens the hair a bit. Also, these same bends in coily hair causes a sort of delay and detour in the distribution of the scalp’s naturally produced oil (sebum) throughout the length of the hair. This causes moisture to escape from the cuticles at a faster rate, resulting in coarse dry hair which feel strong. Since the scalp’s naturally produced oil is unable to reach the tips of the hair, it’s crucial that you lubricate the strands of your hair by adding natural oil on the hair to nourish the cuticles. Regular deep conditioning treatments (moisture or protein treatments) will help to ensure that your hair remains pliable (stretchy) and strengthened.
So to conclude, African hair is not “stronger” than other hair textures, it only looks tough when it’s dry. And when natural hair is dry, it’s very vulnerable to breakage and damage. So anytime your hair is starting to look tough, stiff, hard or strong, remember to do a deep conditioning treatment, so that your hair can return to its soft and lustrous state.
How do you deal with strong hair? Share your tips and tricks with us.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime