I thought it would be a good idea to share with you my natural hair failures. Most profound people say we should learn from our failures and I believe this is true with hair failures. Below I state 6 specific things I consider failures on my natural hair journey. Of course, I have more than 6 natural hair failures. However, as of now, I believe the 6 items listed below will be the most helpful to you. Let’s get started!
- I did protective styling too much. For those who don’t know, protective styling is when your hair is styled in a way your hair ends are protected from damage or breakage to retain length. My hair pretty much stayed in Havana twists, flat twist, braids, Senegalese twist, and many other styles. Many natural hair gurus on YouTube kept saying to do protective styles so I did. After a while, I realized my hair did not retain much length from those styles, and I started wearing my hair in a wash and go more often. Now I frequently wear my hair in a wash and go style or twist (not a twist out), and my hair is growing at a faster rate.
- I waited too long to trim my hair. I would maintain my hair in protective styles to minimize split ends. However, based on my failure in #1 above, I still got split ends frequently, and these split ends prevented me from retaining length. I heard natural hair gurus say they trim their hair once or twice a year, I kept fighting to wait 6 months or longer before I trimmed my hair. The gurus’ advice seemed reasonable: if you cut your hair, you’re cutting your growth. RIGHT? However, I learned after eventually my hair needed to be trimmed at least 3 to 4 times a year. Once I switched to this trim schedule, I notice my hair was getting longer at a faster rate.
I’m not telling you to trim your hair 3 or 4 times a year. Trim your hair based on what you think works for your hair. If you notice your hair is becoming impossible to detangle or if your ends are breaking a lot, it may be time for a trim.
- I waited too long before I washed my hair. I washed my hair every other week. This is not a huge failure; however, I notice my hair started to show more length retention when I switched to washing my hair one a week. I believe the results were due to less tangles during wash time because I detangled my hair more often. Also, I believe the results were due to me stimulating my scalp more often (four times a month compared to twice a month).
- I brushed/combed products into my hair to style my wash and gos. Depending on your hair type and the health of your curls, using a brush or comb when styling wash and gos can cause a lot of FRIZZ. This statement is especially true for people with tight small curls or frizz prone hair. In my opinion, it’s best to put the comb and brush down once you’re done washing, conditioning, and detangling your hair (when prepping for a wash and go). I only have one exception to this failure, and it’s if you choose to use a Denman brush method (YouTube this method). This method worked for me only when I used the Denman brush on my ends. I would brush sections of my hair from the middle of the hair strands down to the ends.
- I undid my two strand twists (twist outs) before they were 100% dry. Oh boy have I failed this hairstyle many times before I learned what worked for my hair type. My hair is highly prone to frizz; therefore, my hair must always be 100% dry before taking out any hairstyle styled wet. When I undid the twists before my hair was 100% dry, my hair got frizzy instantly and the style lasted an additional two days.
- I tried to do a Bantu knots style on wet hair. I’m sure some of you can get a successful Bantu knot out on wet hair but my hair must be at least 70% dry before styling Bantu knots. I simply put my hair in two strand twists and let it dry. Once my hair is at least almost dry, I style my hair in the Bantu knots. When I style my hair this way, it seems way less frizzy and more stretched. However, if you’re going for a tighter curl style, styling Bantu knots while wet is probably best. Sometimes I like it when the curls turn out tight because it gives me a short hair style. See two old pictures below.
Hopefully my failures will help you prevent these mistakes or provide you confirmation that none of us have it figured out when it comes to our hair. Thank you for reading!