Now is The Time to Get to Know Your Natural Hair

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Beauty for One

But now I had nowhere to be for at least two months. I was laid off a few weeks before Thanksgiving and I knew there was little to no chance of me being interviewed, much less hired, until the new year. Going without braids for the first time in three years came with a sort of lightness — both literally and figuratively. Braids are heavy; when you take a good pound or two of synthetic hair off your head, there’s a notable difference. With braids, the only time you can touch your real hair is at the root. Getting to feel every strand from root to tip was like reconnecting with a friend I haven’t seen in years.

Beneath the weaves and braids, my 4C hair doesn’t fall to my shoulders; its natural state is an Afro. The tight, structured curls grow up and out. And the length of it is a best guess until it’s straightened, which is damaging to all hair, but especially black hair.

ishonest No.501 - Frizzy Hair

Recommended
No.501 - Frizzy Hair

Going natural means paying more in either time (often your own) or money, if you can afford regular visits to a stylist who understands black hair. Plus you need to try a ton of products to troubleshoot what works for you.

But none of the above seems nearly as daunting when you have all the time in the world. And I had what can only be described as a fucking ball figuring out my 4C hair as fall faded into a stunningly cold winter.

There are no hard-and-fast rules for how to take care of black hair. Everyone has a million tips, tricks, and methods for treating their hair, and what works for one black woman may not work for another. It takes a lot of trial and error to create your own user manual, and when you have a full-time job, it’s difficult to find the time.

Over four months, I learned that maintaining length meant giving myself regular trims. That for maintenance, co-washing is more important than using shampoo. I learned that oil-intensive Garnier Fructis products were a better fit for me than Shea Moisture products and eventually took a liking to Trader Joe’s tea tree products. (Really for all hair types!) I learned that natural hair is most pliable when it’s wet. I learned that oil should go on top of moisturizer.

For strong and hydrated hair

Learn more

Without any expectations about how my hair should look, I was changing it on a weekly basis. (In the first week, I tried four different styles.) For the first time, I felt like I was actually connecting with the thick forest of hair on my head, which I’ve always loved but couldn’t manage. I think for a lot of people who’d only ever seen me with braids or relaxed hair, including myself, it was surprising to see my real hair, which I was never hiding, but wasn’t exactly showcasing either.

My sister and I openly fantasize about going full-on natural one day when we have the money and the time to do it right. She took out her own braids a few weeks ago and is wearing a twist out for the foreseeable future. Every time we video-chat, I tell her how great she looks.

And with my current braids set to expire in the next week or two, I’m actively looking forward to meeting up with my old friend.

Read more on: hair


Learn about unknown needs of your skin for free

//REPAIR SKIN BARRIER //HUMECTANT

Moisturize

//TERMINATE ACNE //PREVENT ACNE //CLEANSE SEBUM //REDNESS //ACNE SCARS //BLACKHEADS //PORES

Acne Control

//PREVENT ELASTICITY DAMAGE //REPAIR ELASTICITY DAMAGE //FINE LINES & WRINKLES

Anti-Aging

//Extract Dead Cells //Purge Impurities //Generate New Cells

Exfoliate

//PIGMENTATION & BLEMISHES //SCARS //STRETCH MARKS

Spots

//UNEVEN SKIN TONE

Texture

//PRE-SUN EXPOSURE //POST-SUN EXPOSURE

Sun-Care

//DARK CIRCLES

Under Eye

//FIZZY HAIR

Hair Care