MANAGING NATURAL BLACK AND AFRICAN AMERICAN HAIR
Question: Please help me. I went natural a couple of years ago, and I am having the hardest time managing it. I know there's hope, I just dont know when. How can I straighten my hair without a perm or a hot comb?
Answer: You don't necessarily need to straighten your natural hair to manage it.
One way of straightening hair without a perm or a hot comb is mechanical straightening. Black hair will straighten itself out partially when pomades are applied to it and when it is gently stretched. You've probably already experienced this if you have ever braided your natural hair. If you leave the braids in for at least a day, and then gently remove them, you will see that your hair has straightened itself out somewhat. You can also achieve a similar form of straightening using water and moisturizers. For an example see the cover of the book Natural Black Hair. Look at the bottom photo on the cover. The young lady there has straightened her hair mechanically. To do this she washes and moisturizes her natural hair with conditioner, then she applies a natural pomade to it and gently pulls it back into a braid and ties a scarf around her head. In about 1/2 hour of drying time, after she removes the scarf she has waves. This type of straightening is not like what you get with a relaxer or a hot comb. Your hair will still retain its texture and it will not move around like it does after a relaxer or hot comb. But it is very pretty to look at when it is done correctly, and it is a chemical free way of working with black hair. If you would like more information about it, I suggest you order the book Natural Black Hair. I talk about this method in this book.
Another way to manage natural black hair is to use hair accessories like headbands when you wear your hair out. These can give you a lot of variety with your hairstyles, and also provide a nice way to manage your hair.