Many Black women have grown up believing the myth that Black hair is anti-water. I personally spent years being fearful of reverting my straight hair should it encounter a hint of moisture. I would quickly check the state of my style after a shower, dip in the pool or surprise rainfall.
Now that I embrace my natural texture, though, my hair thrives on moisture. I barely wear shower caps, and I welcome Philadelphia's pop-up storms.
While water may not be very effective on straight styles, I have found it to be essential to refreshing and moisturizing my curls. Since eliminating chemical straighteners from my regimen over two years ago, I have found that H2O is one of the cheapest yet most effective products to apply to my curls, puffs, finger coils and twists.
We're in my favorite season: wash and go season! Warmer days mean that I can wash my hair, apply a small amount of product and immediately go about my day, allowing nature's hair-dryer to do its thing. My spray bottle also sees the most action during this time because of how parched the weather makes my hair. The humidity of spring and summer increase frizz and suck the moisture from my hair, so I find myself spritzing at least twice a day.
I have many Naturalistas in my life. We all have diverse textures and curl patterns. I consulted them about their interpretation of the water myth before and after they had "gone natural." I was not surprised to hear that they, too, had grown up to believe that their hairstyles would be ruined by water. But they now all use water in their daily routines, highlighting moisture's significance to healthy, curly hair.
Here are several ways my friends and I are using water in our daily styling routines.
Water acts as a great detangler. I used to believe that if I did not detangle BEFORE getting into the shower, I would have a huge matted mess on my hands. I would then detangle my hair while DRY. This was a huge mistake, which resulted in a great deal of damage.
I believe that most natural girls would agree with me when I say that our hair is the easiest and safest to detangle when wet. One of the first things that I noticed after "going natural" was how easy it was to finger detangle and comb my curls while in the shower. The water allows the most slip and pliability. This cuts detangling time in half and makes your hair less likely to break.
Since my hair type has the tendency to become dull and undefined, I find it useful to finger comb while rinsing with lukewarm water. Surprisingly, this moisturizes and adds definition to the hair. I will then follow up with a tablespoon of leave-in conditioner or natural oil to seal in that moisture.
I used to "moisturize" my hair with heavy product AFTER blow-drying the heck out of it. No wonder my hair was shedding so badly! I now know that I have to lock in the moisture while my hair is still, well, moist.
When it comes to revitalization, water is hands down, my best style refresher. When I find myself suffering from three-day-old twist out, water is my go-to when I want to add bounce and stretch.
I spritz my roots with water and proceed to fluff. This will give my curls volume and movement until I reach the next wash and style day. I used to ponytail my hair in between styles. Now, I have no problem with rocking my Afro and/or wash-and-go until my fingers feel nimble enough to attempt another twist or braid out.
Water isn't just an effective topical product. Hydration of the entire body is important for the growth and overall health of your hair. I can tell when my body is dehydrated if my hair becomes dull and brittle. I then know that it's time to load up on my water intake. Beauty definitely starts from within.
So, as we enter our warmer months I hope that my fellow natural-haired women will reevaluate their thoughts on water. If you haven't already, why not add this inexpensive option to your hair regimen? The notion of Black hair being anti-water couldn't be further from the truth, and all you need is a spray bottle and a running tap.