As a content creator and model, I mainly live on Instagram where my beauty content centres around celebrating curls. I started my natural hair journey in 2014 after relaxers broke my hair to the point of no return (more on that in my first column), and at the time, information about curly hair care was extremely limited – the struggle was very real.
I have been part of the Instagram curly hair community for over seven years now, from posting reviews to sharing the everyday reality of having curly hair with my followers and fellow content creators.
But what still blows my mind the most are the myths and rules that circulate regarding how we should take care of our hair.
Don’t get me wrong, guidance is always welcome, but I do find it problematic when said ‘advice’ can damage both a person’s hair as well as their relationship with it. Following rules and myths so strictly may even lead to going against what your hair actually needs.
Many of these myths I have tried and trashed for my Instagram audience, and for my second Eliza column, I am thrilled to debunk my top three least favourite curly hair myths.
Myth one: ‘Shampoo is bad for curly hair’
This may have been true in the 1940s, but it’s 2022!
In all seriousness, there probably was some truth to this up until around ten years ago, as the shampoos available to us were not made with curly hair in mind – and often contained drying sulphates.
But the curly hair industry has drastically changed since then, with hundreds of shampoos made for curls that cater to all our hair needs.
Shampooing has become the most important step of my haircare routine personally, and I have grown to love it – but this is something I only realised in the past couple of years since I actually started listening to my hair (proving just how crucial this really is).
Shampoo removes dirt and buildup from my hair as well as cleansing my scalp, allowing water and moisture to enter my hair cuticle more easily. If product buildup isn’t removed thoroughly and conditioners and creams are added on top, the hair will actually feel drier due to the lack of hydration that would normally come from shampooing.
Aside from this, I find shampooing the most satisfying part of wash day because it’s the first step to a fresh curly style – and I love giving my scalp a good scrub.
If your hair is feeling limp and frizzy or your scalp is itchy, I implore you to please just try it. A great start would be the SOLU Shampoo, £10, Davines.
Myth two: ‘Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) will make your hair grow’
When I first started growing out my natural hair, I fell into the trap of massaging my scalp with JBCO daily. If you’re unaware, JBCO is a super thick oil said to make hair grow thicker and more quickly.
I quickly realised that it was actually the scalp massage that helped my hair grow rather than the oil itself. Scalp massages increase blood flow to the scalp, meaning follicles receive more nutrients, leading in turn to faster hair growth.
JBCO was actually counterproductive for me, and lighter oils such as jojoba oil and tea tree oil have been much better for my scalp health. JBCO is incredibly thick and applying it directly to the scalp can clog up pores, prevent the scalp from secreting its natural sebum, and cause irritation and dandruff.
In other words, your scalp can get so dirty that your hair won’t grow – which is exactly what I don’t want.
Myth three: ‘Curly hair is difficult to manage’
This is probably my least favourite myth, primarily because it’s so damaging.
People with curly hair – particularly Black women with curly hair – battle against negative ideals their whole lives.
When you already have a negative relationship with your natural hair, it’s heightened when other people share their assumptions about what it’s like to have it.
Contrary to these opinions, my natural hair has actually been far easier to manage than my relaxed hair ever was. I wake up, take my bonnet off, shake my hair, and I’m ready for the day.
I often think people confuse ‘difficult’ with ‘complex.’ Curly hair is complex and that’s what makes it beautiful.
Anyway, my natural hair journey is far from over. I am always learning something new as both myself and my hair change, and I can’t wait to share it all with you at Eliza. Follow me @pennyfroreal for more curly hair content.