(You can watch my journalistic documentary by going to my previous post. It is an in-depth look at how the hair practices of African-American women have evolved, the issues behind straightening the hair and the current spike in natural hair journeys.)
Spoiler alert: I set out to discover which ingredients and products work for women with my type of hair. The thing is, after talking to the experts, I realized there was not one group of ingredients or products that are guaranteed to fix everyone’s problems. It makes sense. Once you look around and realize that everyone’s hair really is different, it’s easy to see why there may be slightly different solutions for each person. So are natural oils better? Not definitively. Is there a miracle oil or moisturizer that will work for everyone. Probably not. Still, my documentary addresses the unique properties of Afro-textured hair and the problems that arise when “our” hair is coupled with “our” styling practices.
Here are a few more hair MYTHS I didn’t mention in my documentary, clarified by my scientific experts (Dr. Victoria Holloway Barbosa and Yash Kamath, Ph.D.) :
- Hair technically cannot be “healthy” since it is a dead cell. Technically, it would be better to say the hair is in good or bad condition.
- Scientists have not agreed on one single classification system for the types of “black” hair. (Some people describe their hair as being “4a, 3a, etc.”, but there is no scientific basis to this system.)
- Cutting the hair off at the ends does not make it grow faster. (How many of us have been told this?)
As a final thought, my documentary might come off as biased to some. It does focus a lot on the benefits of natural hair and the negatives of straightening processes. However, one thing I got from my sources and from myself is that, hey, there’s no one size fits all. Straight, natural, it can all be beautiful. And on both sides it wouldn’t be fair to look at someone negatively because she chooses one or the other. I know from experience that by simply looking at someone you’re not going to understand why she makes the decisions she does. You may assume you know, when in fact you don’t fully understand why those decisions might be right for her.
I do think, however, that it is a positive thing to learn more about one’s natural hair texture. I do think, it might be good for us to become more accepting of ourselves, in general. And personally, I’m beginning to enjoy my natural hair texture. I like the feel of it, especially now that I see my tiny curls can be defined and feel pretty smooth. The most important part is I’m growing and learning to appreciate what God has given me. I’m loving myself more, and I thank God for it.
Of course, to put it all in perspective is key: at the end of the day life isn’t really about what you look like. It’s more about how you live.