Home Beauty Afro Hair Myths: Debunked by the Experts

Afro Hair Myths: Debunked by the Experts

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8. I can only shop for products based on the hair typing system, all 4C hair should require the same products

False. The numerical hair system is supposed to be used as a guide. Just how for example, not all oily skin will react positively to the same products, hair is just as complex. In fact, you might find that your own head may host different types of hair textures, so it might be unproductive to pigeonhole yourself. The danger of focusing on hair types is that it can be a gateway for hair segregation and texturism, and it might lead you to inadvertently restrict the products you use.

Essentially, the hair typing system is great for when you’re early on in your journey and you’re trying to find your tribe from people whose hair looks like yours. It’s only through trial and error of finding products, trying them, and observing the results that you’re able to see what really works for you. Donaldson tells us: “Our response is always that we can’t tell you what products are appropriate, based on your hair tech alone, the tracking system just isn’t sufficient. Think about hair density, hair porosity, etc. There are actually so many other attributes that determine whether a product works well for you. The way that you use a product is also really important.”

9. Afro hair is super strong. Keep those braids tight

There is this idea that because Afro hair can take a lot of manipulation, and that it is very resistant and resilient. However, the way that our hair wraps into a curl or coil makes it actually quite fragile and susceptible to more breakage than our straight-haired counterparts. It’s also more prone to increased tangling, making combing harder, therefore needs to be handled with care. Richardson adds: “Make sure your hair is hydrated. With Afro hair, the tighter the curl pattern, the more porous it’s going to be and therefore, the more likely it is that it might injure a bit of breakage.”

10. I don’t need to cut my hair because I’m trying to grow it

False. A lot of people may see hair trimming as counterproductive when trying to gain length, but Afro hair needs to be trimmed. Richardsons tells us: “When you don’t trim your hair. Your hair starts to wear and tear and literally at the end of it starts to fray open, like a little paintbrush, and it will split further and further up the hair shaft. It actually starts trimming itself.” However, that’s not good because it will eventually trim itself to the root and you will stop seeing length retention.

Kadar reiterates: “What happens is that the fraying will continue to go up the hair shaft and rapidly split and weaken each hair strand. If you’re not regularly trimming, these will just create more and more damage.” That is why you should try to seek out a professional cut. You want that tiny surface area to lose as little water as possible, so having someone that knows how to trim and even out the length as they go, making sure that the end of the hair shaft is as neat as possible, is important. Naturally, it may not always be easy to have access to professional cuts by afro/curly hair specialists, but if you aim to self-trim every 6-8 weeks or so and get a professional cut twice a year, you will be doing your hair a favor.

11. I found my perfect hair routine, so I will never use anything else

Finding your perfect hair care routine can change your hair game and is absolutely amazing until it isn’t. As with skincare, hair goes through phases. Be prepared to have a hair wardrobe that allows you to interchange between products as your hair needs will adapt to changing environments and climates, and it might also become resistant to product overuse. Donaldson tells us: “I find it really useful to just listen to my hair. Sometimes, I might want to deep wash it, but sometimes, I may want to cleanse it without it feeling stripped. As I change my hairstyle, whether I’m having it natural or straight, then my product usage will need to adapt accordingly. I also think that understanding what the different roles of the different shampoos are is super important.” Winnie adds: “Clarifying shampoos have a bad rep, but actually, once in a while, you want to use a really strong shampoo to get the all gunk out. Sort of like hitting the hair refresh button. And then, start again.”

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