First things first: The love of your life could be anything you want it to be. This year, I didn’t have a Valentine, and that’s okay. I’m a huge fan of personal wellness and this year, I decided to shake things up and make my Valentine an inanimate object… or is it really since it grows out my scalp? I don’t know. But anywho, it’s my hair! My luscious curls, my goddess strands, my… well you get the gist – I write about natural hair every month so that’s nothing new.
Self-love is a personal process and most importantly, it’s free.99 hunny, so why not embrace yourself while you can? But let’s be realistic: daily life struggles and insecurities simmer in the deepest corners of your life and jump out to surprise you like the IRS when you owe ‘em money. Yeah, it’s the month of love but it’s tax season baby – get on it!
But enough of that now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of TLC = Tender, Lovin’, Care boo. We all deserve some lovin’, especially during this lovin’ month, but so does yo’ hair girl! So wear it with pride, Otis Redding boasted about it best in “Try a little Tenderness” – a major reminder to remember while you yank through your hair tangles and contemplate reaching for scissors and starting off fresh… literally. We’ve all been there.
Below are some TLC tips for your Curly mane this Valentine season:
Set a loving Hair Care Regimen
This is probably one of the hardest part of being natural: setting a natural hair regimen that actually works with your schedule. My days are comprised of school, work, and competing with time to fit any extracurricular programs and me time into a 24-hour time frame. Life is givin’ me lemons and making the lemonade is tedious work ya’ll. In order to keep my hair healthy, I use a monthly calendar to weave in time for my wash, moisturizing, and styling days. Yes, it’s a ton of work but it’s a lovin’ hair care regimen that keeps me up-to-date and motivates me to continue pushin’.
Fall in Love with your choice of Products
Your products are a huge reflection of your hair so use them wisely. Throughout the 6 years I’ve been natural I realized that if I’m going to use my products, I need to LOVE using them – not because I’m desperate for moisture or perfect 2-strand twists, but because my hair loves it. It’s a difficult task to pinpoint but once you’ve found the products that fit your hair type, maintaining your hair becomes easier. For instance, does your hair respond well to heavy products like Shea butter or lighter products like avocado oil? Trial and error is an efficient way to determine whether specific products are for your hair type.
Be tender with your strands
I was detangling my 2-day old twist out the other day and I almost lost it. I was so close to snatching scissors off my desk and just cutting it all off… Yeah… I got to that point. Tragic. After a moment of quick reflection, I thought about my journey and the hard work I put in just to achieve the length I have now. Don’t fret. Don’t pout. Be gentle by all means with whatever hair type you’ve been blessed with. Obstacles come at the most inconvenient times in our lives and we just have to dig deep into our grit and remember that this isn’t our finest hour. But girl, I know.
Don’t compare your natural hair process to other naturals
Ugh. This is probably the worst thing about being natural. The natural hair movement inspired a myriad of us to quit chemicals and embrace our curls. It taught us to decolonize our intuition and approach our hair with historical pride instead of ingrained self-hatred. Although this natural hair movement did us justice, it’s also led to a comparison between hair-types, genetics, and length. We log into Instagram and we see queens with longer hair or looser hair types and we instantly become defeated. Don’t fall into the temptation of comparison; trust your hair growth process and watch the magic unfold.
Be confident in your Natural Hair process
It takes years to see length since natural hair grows about 6 1/2 inches annually. When I first went natural, I watched Naptural85’s (link) hair journey like a hawk and placed the most absurd expectations on myself. I thought my hair would grow down to my back in 3 years, LOL. Your hair will grow as it pleases and that’s okay. Trust your process and as I said before, allow the magic to unfold
Being consistent correlates with the first tip: creating a natural hair regimen that works with you. Consistency requires commitment, setting realistic goals, working around a schedule, and rewarding yourself when your tasks are complete. What is the purpose of your natural hair lifestyle? Are you looking to achieve healthy hair or length? Whatever it is, stick with it! Being consistent can be like pulling teeth but the commitment for change is what forms the consistent habit – especially when you’re on the go.
Tender, Lovin’, Care for your natural hair applies to all settings: whether you’re at home or traveling through Central America’s greatest natural landscapes. Love radiates through your soul, your body, and your hair care. Take some time out of each day and remind yourself that: my hair deserves lovin’ too.