I am often asked questions about my hair that seem to have very obvious answers. These questions typically come about when my hair is long and straight one month, short and natural the next, and braided and long in another. But I've come to realize that most of these questions stem from a genuine interest in whether my hair's different appearance also means that it has different attributes.
There remains a certain mystique to coarse hair. Maybe it's because the majority of women do not have coarse hair. Or perhaps it is because rather than openly acknowledging and educating others about our hair's different attributes, we have spent more energy manipulating our hair so that it fits in. Whether the case, there are many questions that surround this unique trait.
In the spirit of tackling the elephant in the room, here are five FAQs about coarse hair:
1. "Why do you need a shower cap? You don't wash your hair everyday?! Why?"
No, I do not wash my hair everyday. It's not because I'm lazy in the mornings, but it's because the spiral shape of my hair prevents the oils secreted on my scalp to reach the end of my hair. That's why coarse hair doesn't get greasy quickly; hence, I don't have to wash my hair everyday.
2. "You have to add oil to your hair?! Ugh, mine gets so greasy after one day of not washing it. So, why do you have to add oil to your hair?"
The same reason why I don't have to wash my hair everyday. Because my natural scalp oil doesn't reach the end of my hair, this means that I have to add the oils and other essential nutrients that my hair needs to stay healthy.
3. "What's that on your head? What?! Why do you have to wear a scarf?"
Coarse hair is prone to breaking. Therefore, when my hair rubs against cotton sheets, it breaks a significant amount of hair strands. The cotton sheets also pull moisture out of my hair. The satin scarf (or satin pillow) protects my hair from the wear and tear of cotton bedsheets and also helps my hair retain moisture.
4. "So....... why can't black people grow long hair?"
WE CAN! This is a common misconception that is also shared in the textured hair community. But it's only that... a MYTH! All hair types grow at the same rate, but textured hair is more prone to damage and breakage. Therefore, it just needs a little bit more TLC.
5. "Can I touch it?"
WARNING: This question has many different answers. But as this Huffington Post article explains, the general consensus seems to be that you definitely have to ask before you touch. And this is the general consensus of women with all different hair types. The rule is simply this: If the person is a stranger, then you HAVE to ask before you touch. But that's just common courtesy.... right?