Lately, I’ve been noticing some pretty crazy natural hair trends on youtube and all over social media. Some of them may work, some of them don’t, others are just dangerous. I’m going to break down a couple of these trends, explain how they claim to work, and most importantly, talk about why they are not worth your time.
Ah, yes, the max hydration hooplah. This intrigued me because those of us with curly and kinky hair textures are always looking for ways to moisturize our hair. The very basis of our hair care is centered around this idea. The MHM is a 5 step process that involves multiple rounds of conditioning, deep conditioning, bentonite clay application, and more conditioning. All of this work will lead up to the possibility of a wash and go for 4c textures, especially.
I’ve tried the MHM and it does work, but who on earth has time for that! The reason why it works is because you’re literally conditioning your hair every day. Of course your moisture content will improve if you do that. I’ve been wearing wash and go’s every day for the past few weeks and opted not to do the Max Hydration and my curls have been just as defined over time as the MHM. The key is to improve your hair’s moisture content in the long term, rather than finding a quick fix leave-in conditioner. So, don’t worry, you don’t have to give up a week of your life just to achieve a wash and go…that’s just disrespectful.
This is probably the most foolish thing I’ve ever heard of. The inversion method involves a combination of scalp massages with oil and flipping your head upside down to promote blood circulation to your scalp in order to stimulate hair growth. People have claimed to grow one inch of hair in a week and have documented their week long “journeys”.
I have not tried this method because I’m a rational human being. Here’s why it’s not worth your time or your health. It’s simply dangerous to regularly be upside down for 5-10 minutes at a time for a week straight. You can become light-headed, faint, and alter your blood pressure. Not a good idea, especially in the name of hair care. Most people that struggle with hair growth are really struggling with length retention. You can’t rush nature. You can, however, be gentle with your hair, keep it moisturized, avoid breakage, and before you know it, you’ll notice more hair on your head. This trend is the perfect example of seeing something too good to be true and it actually being too good to be true.
This last one is a little less of a fad and more of a common practice that I think isn’t necessary: long term protective styling.
The basics of natural hair care is centered around retaining moisture. If you retain moisture, your hair won’t break and therefore, retain length. One way to retain moisture and avoid breakage is by simply not touching your hair at all! So, put in a protective style for 3 months and let the magic happen.
Here’s why I don’t like this: it’s BORING!!! What if I want to wear my hair out? what if I want to change my style after a week? Sure, if I wear my hair in protective styles for 4 years my hair will grow all the way down to my ass, but there must be another way to enjoy my loose and free? I’ll say it again, I’ve been wearing wash and go’s. It involves very little manipulation, I get to wear my hair out, I moisturize my hair in the best way possible (by soaking it in water and conditioner), I can easily switch to a different style, and it’s fast! Protective styling can be beautiful and creative, but they’re not the only thing necessary to retain length. The key to retaining length is one thing: moisture. If your hair is truly moisturized, you can retain length even if you regularly heat style. What causes breakage is dryness. Yes, it’s easier for some textures of hair to retain moisture than others, yes, all of these trends, styles, and challenges are meant to provide new ways to retain moisture. My point here is that natural hair care should be easy, not complicated. You don’t need to get caught up in all the trends, they might cause more harm than good. Just be gentle, patient, listen to your hair, and it will retain length. It’s pretty much that simple.
Here are a couple of resources I’ve used to help simply my hair routine:
Anthony Dickey from Hair Rules Salon in N.Y. has revolutionized the wash and wear and broke down a lot of common beliefs about black hair care.
A lot of naturals stand firmly against heat styling. I myself, love to rock my curls more than anything, but there were a lot of things I didn’t know about heat styling and why it can become so damaging. Anthony Dickey has demonstrated how moisture can transform the health of your hair and make it more flexible for heat styling.