Ask Kcurly- Trying to “whiten” hair when twisting?

by kcurly on January 29, 2012

in Ask Kcurly,Healthy Hair Tips

A comment from shirley:

How did your natural hair grow so much! Your braid out picture is beautiful! How did you get your hair to grow? All I do is wet my hair, co-wash and put gel in it, it kind of curls. But I have trouble with kinks and nearly loc-ing, which I don’t want.

Shirley, thank you for the compliment. I credit my hair length retention to protective styling and proper moisture.

If you have trouble with matting or the hair locing, you may want to dabble in other styles such as twistouts because, in my experience, they decrease the tangles and knots that cause matting. I personally can not do a lot of wash n go’s without tangles, dryness and, sometimes, matting.

It did give me pause when you said you had “trouble with kinks”.

Shirley, one of the most important things, in my humble opinion, to remember when going natural is that you have to love your hair for what it does, not hate it for what it doesn’t do. If you hair curls a little, great. If it kinks a little, great. It’s your hair, it’s part of you.

I’m not going to tell you to love your hair. Only you can do that and, for some, that comes with time. I will tell you to try and focus on the positives instead of what you perceive as negatives. That is a great starting point. (Example: “My hair has never been this thick before!”)

I also advise you to focus on the health of your hair. A lot of people can do wash n go’s with no problem. However, since you said that you are having issues with near locing, perhaps it’s time to ditch the gel (which always does a number on my hair long term) and practice some healthier alternatives. Good luck to you.

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This next comment wasn’t really a question, but something I wanted to comment on publicly.

From Anonymous:

I’m so conflicted about twisting. On the one hand I get the length I crave and definition to my curl on the other hand I feel like I’m trying to “whiten” my hair by making it look curly but isn’t twisting your hair to highlight the curl no different than brushing your hair to highlight the shine? It’s not fair we have such a complex relationship with “our” hair.

Anonymous, we only have such a complex relationship with your hair because we make it so. It’s time for a lot of people to stop feeling guilt over ridiculous assumptions.

First, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with curl definition. I don’t really try to define curls anymore but I’m not going to knock anyone who does. The only time the quest for curl definition begins to become a problem is when frustration arises from trying to define something that isn’t there.

Second, I can’t even equate wearing twists and twist out with “whiteness” because those styles are uniquely ingrained in the styling of Afro-textured hair. Braiding and twisting does stretch the hair out but tribes in Africa were doing those styles and more way before they set eyes on Europeans.

Lastly, the only people who are walking around with completely unaltered hair are those with free form locs. And when I say free form, I mean locs like these (no twisting or coiling beforehand to give a uniform look):

There are some people who make the argument that twisting and braiding are an attempt at being white because it changes the look of the hair.  I’m not exactly sure how far you need to go to make these types of people happy (and really, I am done trying).

If I comb my hair, that changes the look of the hair. Therefore, it would appear that the only way to make those people happy would be to just stop combing the hair and let it “do what it do”. That’s “natural”, right?

Nope, sorry. I’ve stopped chemically straightening. This is my natural hair. It is in my heritage to decorate, braid, and further style my hair. It is not an attempt at being white, it is not an attempt at anything but styling my hair.

So, Anon, please rock your hair how you want without the guilt. You know what’s in your own heart and head.

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