"Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself”
~ bell hooks
Many of us are lucky to have grown up with a few natural hair YouTubers to learn about shampoo, deep conditioner, and finger detangling. The previous generation had their “Big Chops” and had to figure out what worked for kinky, curly hair on their own. Okay, I am generalizing a bit, but you know where I’m coming from. I firmly believe that all hair is beautiful, but I especially love natural type 4 hair!
Our hair is versatile, magical, and often misunderstood. Cheers to making it this far! Whether your hair is short, thick, fine, or 4z we can all give a little more love and appreciation to our crowns. Now, here are 5 Ways to Love Your Natural Hair.
1. Ignore the Hair Typing System
The Andre Walker hair typing system started out as a blessing for beginning naturals. After all, the man himself was Oprah’s hair stylist and she herself promoted him. However, when you stop to think about it there have been far more problems caused by this system than benefits.
What did we expect? Oprah only wears her hair straight and Andre Walker didn’t even include 4c originally. In fact he once said, “I always recommend embracing your natural texture. Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type I suggest altering with professional relaxing” (Source). This is blatant texturism.
Curl type really matters less in terms of caring for our hair than we thought. Factors such as hair porosity, density, and hair width matter so much more. However, I do hold onto the Type 4 label because pretending that all hair types are socially accepted in 2023 (and beyond) is nonsense.
2. Sift Through the Nonsense Advice
I stand by my first recommendation. Just because someone posts a video on TikTok or YouTube claiming “This is How I Style My 4c Hair” does not mean they are telling the truth. Just because they have the same curl pattern also does not mean their advice could work for you.
There are now so many natural hair content creators, and most of them are not professionals. Many hair influencers will make recommendations based on sponsorships. I don’t think it’s wrong to take sponsorships but just take their “advice” with some salt because they’re not going to hate on products they have partnerships with.
I just encourage you to be aware and take the information that works for you and move on. Hopefully, you will figure out what works for you. Who knows? You may decide to make content to share your wisdom with those who need it.
3. Take Breaks By Trying New Styles
Sometimes we want to do wash and gos for a week and show off our poppin; curls in the summer light. Other times we want to be covered and secured in braids during winter storms. I love my two-strand twists, but when I know I have a busy month ahead I just want my hair to look good and stay out of my way. This is when I buy some weave and Senegalese twist my hair.
I even switch up the colors when I need a change, here are some photos.
4. Moisturize Your Hair, Massage Your Scalp
I do recommend giving your hair love while it’s in a protective style and giving ourselves a massage can be a great expression of self-love. We’re letting ourselves know that we care about our scalp health and want to maintain any progress we’ve made with our hair.
Despite the oil vs gel debate, oils are healthy for our scalp, in moderation. I use grapeseed oil as my carrier and tea tree oil and peppermint oil for scalp relief. For some reason my scalp does not like coconut oil. I struggle with dry hair, but doing this has genuinely helped. Though you may not need added oils if your scalp is naturally oily.
Once again, I am not a professional, I only speak from my own experiences so you’ll have to talk to a real professional if you want sound, conclusive advice. This Refinery 29 article (and its comments) provided some clarity, as well as these videos by Green Beauty and Curly Chemistry .
5. Use Natural Hair Love Affirmations
Affirmations are words we speak into the world that inspire us, encourage us, and reassure us that we are okay, great, amazing, and all wonderful things in between. For example, when you turn on your favorite song before tackling the laundry or your morning run you are using music to affirm yourself. I know that words have power and if you wear your natural hair you’ve likely experience, witnessed, or heard of people being bullied or even discriminated against for simply wearing their hair.
The Black, queer icon herself Bell Hooks herself states “do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself” in her book All About Love. You are not alone if you do not love your yourself or hair every second of the day, or even on a daily basis. Affirmations is a powerful tool to bring joy and positivity in your life through the power of language.
Hearing someone say “I love you just the way you are” is beautiful, and telling yourself “I love hair just the way it is” is validating in ways you may only experience when you try saying it yourself. Go ahead, look at a mirror or your phone camera and say it. Let me know how it goes!
Despite YouTubers making videos about the “downfall” of the natural hair community, we’re still here. In fact, many twenty-somethings like me are proud and excited to continue our natural hair journeys and stay on the path to self-love.
If you don’t feel more love or compassion towards your hair from this post, that’s okay. We all have different priorities, experiences, and reasons.
With all the unnecessary hate towards our hair from both outside the Black community and within, loving our hair can change our lives in countless ways! Check out my other self love posts:
- How to Start Your Self-Love Journey
- 25 Daily Affirmations for Black Women
- 10 Benefits of Loving Your Natural Hair
If you believe natural hair is professional, beautiful, and manageable sign The C.R.O.W.N Act today and make your voices heard! 600,000k signatures is the goal!
I would like to thank my mother for refusing to relax my hair and for acting on her belief that I would grow up happier if she encouraged me to love my natural hair. Despite the rude comments from family and strangers alike, she persisted. Despite the mean, thoughtless words from other children, and as an adult from peers, I persist find new reasons to love my hair every day.