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The Natural Hair Pop Quiz – Part 3: Is Our Natural Hair Normally Very Strong?

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Natural Hair Pop Quiz - BellaNaija - April2015

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.

To get caught up, please check out quiz #1 and quiz #2.

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.

Natural Hair Pop Quiz - BellaNaija - May 2015
Answer: False

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.

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How do you deal with strong hair? Share your tips and tricks with us.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Hi, my name is Adeola, I'm a natural hair blogger who is passionate about helping YOU to achieve your hair goals, whether it be to have longer hair, softer hair or a healthy head of hair in general. I know what it’s like to be clueless about natural hair, and this is why I’m here to help you create a practical hair care routine that will give you softer hair that is less painful to comb, easier to manage and that can grow long. To get these practical tips, VISIT my WEBSITE to DOWNLOAD MY FREE E-BOOK.

16 Comments

  1. vivien

    May 16, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    All I know is my hair is strong and often unmalleable. I can deep condition till kingdom come. Olive oil, coconut oilm aloe vera, argan etc etc, make it shinier not softer.

    • Adeola @ coilsandglory

      May 19, 2015 at 3:19 am

      Your hair will become “malleable” when it’s soft. oils only lubricate your hair. You’ll need to deep condition your hair with a deep condition treatment on a weekly basis.

      http://www.coilsandglory.com

  2. Berrab

    May 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    This is silly , do white/ mixed people have to wet their air to keep it soft ? Is it reasonable to keep ones hair in moisture treatments…… daily so it mimics this “soft ” texture?Most peoples natural african hair in its natural sate is very strong .Compare apples with apples

  3. Tee

    May 16, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Tahhhh! Lies! lol
    My hair is hard! Rock solid! Of cus everybody’s hair when wet or doused with conditioner is soft irrespective of the race.
    Tbh I don’t take care of my natural hair as I ought to cus it’s a pain in the behind! I braid it up or put a weave in.
    I can’t wake up every morning and spend hours on this hair!
    Any tips on how to get this bad boy soft??? I have all the products Shea butter, tees oil, coconut oil!
    Noting has worked so far

    • Nike

      May 17, 2015 at 2:54 am

      Have you tried using castor oil? It’s amazing, castor oil and a little sprinkle of water on my hair and I’m ready to go. Believe it or not, I’m highly obsessed with my natural hair, my curls to be precise. If you want your hair to tangle less and be easy to manage you just have to give it the attention it needs; this is coming from someone who promised not to go natural until I decided to give a try – October 2013. 🙂

    • Adeola @ coilsandglory

      May 19, 2015 at 3:23 am

      You’ll need to condition your hair with a WATER based conditioner. For a step by step approach on how to build a regimen, please download the link here
      http://www.coilsandglory.com/natural-hair-regimen/

  4. Jessie

    May 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    I have 4c hair. I moisturize daily and seal with olive oil and cantu Shea butter. Condition twice a week. Deep condition twice a month. That works for me

  5. chibugo

    May 17, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Even among white/mixed people, there are ones with hard hair too. The writer is right. Moisture is the key to soft hair. I have a friend with relaxed hair that is like an iron sponge…literally. So if u pamper your hair, you will surely see results, trust me.

  6. Bolu

    May 17, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Nothing silly about the post. You could present your point in a way people might reason with u.

  7. Mimi

    May 17, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    I guess I forgot how hard natural hair is to manage from more than 25 years ago when I last wore it. I never bother to wear mine out except it’s twisted or braided. I leave the combing for the salon lady who’s good with it. Trouble is not good…

  8. Chiamaka

    May 19, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    If you don’t have this curl pattern I beg you don’t talk about deep conditioning and oils and stuff cos I’ve been there done that, bought the t shirt. If you like condition it oooooooo…oil it oooo, in short wear the cap to classes and come back. Its still really tough and stubborn, my hands have become my new comb cos these combs ain’t loyal and I’mtransitioning so iI’ve got these 3textures to deal with. I love my hair o but biko Gerrara here if you feel you can tackle it with just deep conditioning and oils ✋

    • Chiamaka

      May 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      * 2 textures + I dyed the tips of my relaxed hair so it has Its own texture now so that’s kinda 3

    • Chiamaka

      May 19, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Maybe I over exaggerated a bit. What trying to say is that it dries up fast

  9. Naomi

    May 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Hello everyone! I’m trying to transition to natural hair.. have not used a relaxer in 3 months or more. Any tips/websites/blogs I could subscribe to? I’m totally clueless! PS: I have soft/fine hair.. Thank you!!

  10. Ruby

    June 8, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    How often should one moisturize?

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