How would you feel if I said your dream and efforts to achieve long curly hair may not be for you?… You probably raised an eyebrow there and I understand that for most African or African descent women I may be walking on thin ice by saying this, but the truth is all that glitters is not gold.
When relaxers ruled
For many years most naturally curly hair women put their hair under some form of abuse to subdue it to the “straight hair norm”. For African women, the tool of choice (or torture) were hair relaxers that scared our scalp and these were closely followed by flat irons, blow dryers, curling irons and the like, all used at temperatures high enough to fry their hair.
The desire to have straight hair and erase all traces of kinky hair were easily met this way. However, the continued use of chemical products to keep our hair from showing its “ugliness” and difficult manner also made it impossible for many women to have long hair.
The abusive relationship we had with our hair left it frail and unable to fight back. Over time growth stalled, hair length seemed to shorten more and more and all efforts to reverse the situation were short lived. The world and black women were convinced that natural hair didn’t grow much and because of it, long hair looked more like an impossible dream for African. Ohh, and how we wished to have it…. 🙁
Fast forward to this millennium and all those buried dreams have risen from dead or near death ’cause we never stopped trying to achieve long curly hair, even if we had to resort to wigs and extensions. Hehehe… 😀 These days, more and more women are embracing their natural hair texture and showing that ‘yes, we too can have long curly hair’.
However, I wonder if sometimes we’re not like the child who continuously nags mum her whole existence depends on achieving/getting this one thing and once it’s attained things are not as expected or quickly looses interest. I feel that many times we wish for long natural hair but don’t consider what it means to have it. In reality, for many people there can be several reasons why long curly hair is just not for them.
Let me point some of them out.
#1| Time Consuming
If you think natural hair takes up a big chunk of your time then you should rethink how much more time it will take when your dreams come true. Yes, because for most naturalistas the dream is not to have shoulder or bra strap length, the dream is to have waist length or tailbone hair. Have you imagined how long it will take you to wash, detangle and style or braid your hair?
Plus, many people have busy professional or family lives and they just want a quick hair regimen. They want to be able to be natural, but not waste much time on their hair. Well, guess what?!… Long naturally curly hair will require a bit more of your time and attention.
Also, if you like experimenting with hair dyes and bleach you will invariably be damaging your hair which will need much more attention so it doesn’t fall into extreme dryness and hair breakage.
I hope we can all agree that natural hair takes commitment. Commitment to nurturing a hair that is more ‘needy’. For instance, moisture is a constant concern or breakage will quickly creep in, and detangling can be a very minutious task or knots and tangles can possibly turn into a hairball and then a hair cut. With long hair, you need to be more aware your hair will demand more of you as the ends of the hair are much older the hair closer to the roots.
Therefore, you can’t take a rain check on deep conditioning, protective styles, regular trims and other important hair care practices if you want long healthy hair. You gotta be on top of the game!
#3| Salon Experience
Relaxed or natural, going to the salon has never been an affordable experience if you want a good job done. These days, prices for a blow dry and flat iron/silk press session on natural hair are higher than they used to be for relaxed hair. Moreover, long hair has always been charged more and it’s understandable. It takes longer to do, spends more product and takes more effort from your professional.
Therefore, with long curly hair, a visit to your hair salon will have to be a planned and budgeted event. You will spend more time and money there. Additionally, though there is an increasing number of certified or deeply knowledgeable professional in naturally curly hair, finding one (or one that you like and trust) can still be a struggle.
There are many horror stories out there and unless you have already found your hairstylist you can possibly risk having your hair butchered and losing your hair length.
And… since we talked about budgeting, I can’t help to point out the fact that the longer your hair is the more product you will use on it. It’s a fact! You can’t win your hair around this argument. Yes, DIY‘ing some hair products like whipped butter will save you money, but even if you DIY’ed all your products it wouldn’t change the fact that having long hair means more product is used, which lasts less and increases the need to buy or make new batches.
When compared to regular or mainstream hair products, products for naturally curly hair are more expensive and often come in smaller containers. For many, it can be a tough pill to swallow despite the fact that most respected curly hair brands will mainly use natural or naturally derived ingredients.
Therefore, you may find yourself reshuffling your expenses and spending less on hobbies or eating out because you can’t afford to ease on your commitment to having long hair or the dream will burst like a bubble.
Many people are happy working tirelessly towards their goals of having waist long hair, but what happens when the dream comes true and it all becomes too much and things are not so pink and fairy? I find some people genuinely want the dream but not the work, or the expense.
Also, I may be speaking against myself when I say this because I do have waist long hair, but I resent the notion that women who have long hair are more beautiful, desirable, sexy or interesting… I’m honestly jealous of women who have short beautiful natural hair styles. They enhance their beauty and features, not to mention their curly hair.
Short or shorter hair styles have more curl definition because they lack the weight long hair has. Oh, and for those who like the volume you may loose quite a bit of it. However, I’m too much of a coward to have a go at short hair (mainly TWA), so I live that experience vicariously through other people and accept the intricacies of having long curly hair. I’m okay with them, are you??