Natural hair is becoming more and more common, yet many afro myths are still floating around. Most of these have been passed down from generation to generation; we’ve all either heard or said something like “you don’t need to wash your hair often” or “you hair will grow faster if you trim it”.
Our founders Joycelyn and Rachael were back at this year’s Curly Treats Festival debunking the most common myths surrounding afro hair. The pair led an interactive Q&A session on the Miseducation of Afro Hair and it was great!
Most of our audience were amazed when we unveiled that some of the most popular opinions about afro hair were completely untrue. With a lot of (mis)information online and in our communities, our team wanted to set the record straight once and for all.
The top 5 myths our audience couldn’t believe were false may surprise you...
1. Afro hair is weak and brittle
Believe it or not, afro hair is the strongest hair type in terms of tensile strength and the amount of water it can hold. At the same time, afro hair is also the most vulnerable to breakage and damage as every kink and curl is a point where breakage can occur.
Whilst the natural sebum our scalps produce can easily glide down straight hair, it doesn’t get very far down afro strands so the ends can be dry and brittle. Moisture is the key to healthy afro hair!
2. Afro hair is hard to manage
This is a big one! Many of us work against our texture rather than finding exactly what our hair needs and the products that will satisfy those needs.
No texture is hard to manage, you just need to learn how to manage the texture you have! Learn how to care for your hair through keeping it simple: a straightforward routine and a few products to boost moisture are key for healthy afro and curly hair.
An important thing to remember is to fit your hair regime into your lifestyle. Don’t style or wash your hair when you’re tired or when you have lots of things to do to or you’ll find it stressful.
3. Braids are the best protective style
Braids are great but they can wreck havoc on your edges!
Any style where the ends of your hair are tucked away is a protective style. Protective styles are only good when you’re looking after your afro hair underneath.
Braid care 101:
- Keep braids on the bigger side, pencil size should be the absolute smallest
- Ask the stylist not to pull hair too tightly - headaches after braids are not healthy!
- Wash and redo the edges every two weeks
- Keep your hair and scalp moisturised
- Do not keep in for more than 8 weeks
4. Trimming grows your hair
Many of us think that regular trimming will help our hair grow faster. Wrong! Hair is dead so what happens to the ends has little effect on how the hair grows from the scalp. Hair grows on average 6 inches a year, whether you trim it or not.
Trimming is only helpful when you’re removing knots and split ends in order to help maintain healthy strands.
5. You don’t need to wash your hair often
Not true! Failing to wash your hair encourages product build-up which means your hair is prone to dryness as you are preventing products from entering the hair shaft. It also means your scalp is dirty and your pores and hair follicles can get blocked leading to poor quality hair growth.
Think of your scalp as an extension of your face. Just as you wouldn’t go weeks without washing your face, you shouldn’t go weeks without washing your scalp.
Your hair should be washed every 7-10 days with a sulphate free shampoo and not just with conditioners as they will not effectively remove the build-up.