I’ve been in the natural hair game for a five and a half years, so it is safe to say that I may know a thing or two. Besides being an active participant in the natural hair community, this blog has also seen five years worth of natural hair do’s and dont’s, trends, product recommendations, and correcting tons of misinformation.

Though we may have strayed just a little bit away from new natural hair content on the site (we can’t keep teaching you about twist outs and protect styles ya’ll), we are still very much a part of the movement. And it is because of this, that we bring you the five truths about natural hair care that no one seems to understand unless they are in the natural hair community. Here’s our list for our reading pleasure.

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5 Truths About Natural Hair Care No One Understands

1. Wearing your natural hair isn’t cheap: This was such a common misconception when I first went natural and I’d like to put this falsehood to rest once and for all. Whoever said that wearing your hair natural was going to be so easy and cheap, didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. I have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars over the last five years to keep up with this natural hair of mine. And I don’t even have that much hair ya’ll… though I have sincerely tried.

While some of my beauty budget was definitely spent trying to keep up with the joneses, the other part of it was simply trying to make sure I do right by my hair as my pocket would allow. Even the most cost effective decent products on the market will cost you 8.00 dollars and up. Unless you catch a good sale (ahem… Black Friday list is popping) you are going to be spending quite a pretty penny on conditioner (the deep conditioning, leave in, rinse out, and co washing kind… yes you need all four) and on stylers.

Many naturals will tell you to make a lot of your own stuff, but buying those ingredients isn’t free or cheap and you usually have to build an arsenal of oils and other stuff to make sure you have what it takes to DIY the ish out of your natural hair care regimen. And don’t even get me started on salon visits. If you’re thinking you’re going to be getting a 10-20 Dominican wash and set price range… think again. Word to the wise if you aren’t natural just yet… it’s a beautiful thing just prepare your wallets.

2. Comparison Robs You Of Growth: When I first came in the natural hair game five years ago there were hundreds of natural hair blogs and Intstagram pages popping up every five seconds. And all of these pages would post the same girl, or the same type of girl. Loose curls, wavy hair and big beautiful afros were all the rage. I however did not have that, and no matter what I did to my hair I would never have that. When Jouelzy came out with her Texture Discrimination Youtube video, she breathed a breath of controversial air that we all needed to painfully have a conversation that was worth having.

Though that conversation, didn’t get us too far, it did point us in the right direction. The baby hair brigade had to share the spotlight (at least minorly) with the 4c ladies with tighter coiled hair. I say all of that to say this, there is no one type of natural hair and our hair looks so different all of the time. Comparing your hair growth and progress, is going to rob you of growth both physically and mentally. By focusing on my hair looking like someone else’s on Youtube, I didn’t take the proper steps each time that would benefit my hair. This set me back not just once, but three times. After three big chops you would think that I would know better. But it’s taken me five years to realize that my hair will do what it wants, and the only thing I can do is try to keep it as healthy as possible, use what works for it specifically, and stop worrying about what people look like on Instagram.

3. Shrinkage Equates To Health: Shrinkage has been every girl’s worst enemy from the time their very first wash day. However, in conjunction with the previously mentioned step, shrinkage is not an ugly thing. It doesn’t mean you’re bald, and it certainly doesn’t mean something is wrong with your hair. In fact, shrinkage is usually a sign that your hair is in good shape and is healthy. Because your hair is taking in the moisture and holding it in, it causes your curls or coils to shrink up. Different women have different percentages of shrinkage depending on their hair type and curl pattern. One person can even have different percentages of shrinkage on their head, I know I certainly do. So the next time you step out of the shower on wash day, don’t panic and immediately think you must manipulate your hair to make it look “longer”. Longer does not always equate to better or healthier, and your goal should always be a head full of healthy hair.

4. It Will be perceived as political: Though we have come a very long way, and have made leaps and bounds with our natural hair being accepted into the mainstream, you will still run into the ignorance that is ever so relevant. My job still has many people who think I am trying to make a political statement when I rock faux locs, or my hair out in an afro. They simply just don’t understand that I’m protective styling or couldn’t find a scrunchie for a puff. Natural hair has less to do with politics and more to do with being comfortable and happy with the hair growing out of my head.

5. It takes time: One of the biggest misconceptions I had about natural hair is the amount of time that it would take for many aspects of it, From wash days (my original wash days were about two days… and it was torturous… without even having that much hair), to air drying, to protective styling and more, it all takes time and patience. Not to mention that everyone has a different rate of growth on their head, which will have serious mental affects on you if you don’t acknowledge that. Seeing someone on Instagram go from bald to huge afro in 6 months, while you still have your TWA five years later, can be a huge blow to the ego but you have to remind yourself that everyone’s time is different when it comes to their natural hair.

That is something I really wish I knew ahead of time and built up an understanding before diving into the world of the #naturalhair hashtag.

But after five years, I think me and my natural hair have an understanding … at the very least I know how to not aggravate her. What are some things you learned about your natural hair on your journey that you feel no one really understands? Share them with us in the comment section below.