College Hair Days with Natural Hair and Hair Extensions
New Place, New AdaptationsStarting college or deciding to live on campus is an exciting experience. It's an excellent way for you to make friends and you have to learn to live and coexist with people you’ve never met before. And with that, comes leaving the comfort of doing your hair at home to having to be considerate of others. To some, it may not seem like a problem, but for me, I had to put in place my routine when it was time to do my hair. If you are unsure of how to handle your hair in school, here are a bunch of tips that can help you manage your hair.
How to Manage Your Hair Around RoommatesA big fear of mine when coming onto college campus was dealing with my hair with roommates around. I was so used to the comfort of my bedroom. I never had to worry about people watching me or be considerate of what was around me but in school, all of that changed. You have to learn to be considerate of others when doing your hair. Here are some handy tips to help you deal with having roommates and doing your hair.
Tip 1.Be confident. This step is the most important in my opinion. I have heard several black women talk about their fear of doing their hair in front of a stranger. The only thing you can do is just not care what others may have to say and do it. It was also a struggle for me in college to adjust to trying to find times to do my hair when having roommates. It has come to a point now where I don’t think about what they might say or think; I do it.
Tip 2.Find a time when your roommates are not home. If you do not feel comfortable about doing your hair around others, the great idea is to have a sense of when your roommates will be out. For example, doing your hair when they’re in class is a great way to give you space and time to get it done.
Tip 3.Make sure you clean up after yourself. We all know when we do our hair it can get a bit messy. It is always a good idea to make sure you clean up where your hair may have fallen and kept the place tidy in general.
Tip 4.Give your roommates a heads up. If you are up to it, it doesn’t hurt to let your roommates know that you are getting ready to go through a lengthy process. Giving them a heads up will get them to understand that you need time and space to complete this task and hopefully they will respect that.
Tip 5.Respect your roommate's space as well. If you are anything like me, I prefer to do my hair right before I go to bed. With roommates depending on their sleep schedule in college, you may either have to change that or find a way to work your nightly routine in without getting in their space and respecting their time as well. Communication is key.
Tip 6.Educate your roommates on the hair process. You may get some stares and weird questions thrown your way about how you do your hair. The best way to deal with that is to educate them on what you are doing it and how you do it. Think of it as hair college! That way, once they see you do it again it will not be something weird for them, they will have gotten used to it and accept it. And it doesn't hurt to drop a little knowledge on a subject that they may have no information about how your hair process works.
Getting Through Wash DayWe all know how long and tiring the process of wash day can be. Communal bathrooms are a big adjustment you have to make when going through wash day as there are so many people coming in and out of the bathroom. Even a private bathroom in your room can be an issue because the process is so time-consuming and your roommates may need to use the bathroom as well. Here are some great adaptations I learned to make that made wash day go smoothly.
Prep ItBefore the process of actually washing your hair, you have to prep it. Everyone has a method, but for me, I start with detangling my hair and parting it into sections. During this, I always use a mirror. If you have a communal bathroom, I advise that you make sure you stay on one side of the mirror to make room for anyone coming in and out of the bathroom. You also want to make sure you clean any hair that may have fallen into the sinks because we all know shedding happens once you detangle your hair. If you do not feel comfortable in a communal bathroom, your dorm room should have a mirror somewhere that you should be able to use. Once again I will say to make sure you clean up your hair.
Time ManageAfter parting my hair, I will then let a deep conditioner sit on my head for at least 30 minutes and go to wash it out. Personally, washing out my hair is time-consuming. Although my wash day routine seems like it may not take long it indeed takes a lot of time. If you are anything like me, my advice to you is to use a good time for everyone to wash your hair. I usually know the times when there will not be many people in the bathroom, and that is the time I use to wash my hair. I try not to wash my hair when many people want to shower because I know it takes a long time, so I try my best to avoid conflicting shower schedules which are pretty simple to do. If you have a shower in your room with your roommate, I think your best option is to either wash your hair when they aren’t home or communicate with them that you will need some time in the bathroom to do your hair. They will understand.
Communal Bathrooms?One important thing to remember is that even if it is a communal bathroom, try your best to clean your hair from the shower walls and curtain. I think everyone will appreciate your efforts to keep the shower clean even if you can’t get all of the hair. The most significant tip is not to be embarrassed to do your hair around others. In a communal bathroom, it is practically inevitable that someone will walk in the bathroom while you’re in the middle of doing your hair and that is okay. Your hair isn’t anything to be ashamed of and if they do not understand that is okay too. Washing out your hair is more important than a couple of odd looks.
Wigs, Weaves, and ExtensionsNatural hair is one thing, but finding ways to manage your extensions of any sort is a little trickier. Here are some tips for managing any extensions in a dorm room.
WigsThe most significant issue with being a wig wearer in college is storage and keeping them flawless. Here are some pointers to help you figure out where to store your wigs and care for them properly. When thinking about storing your wigs, it all depends on your dorm room space. If you have a lot of closet space, storing your wigs in the closet is your best option. If you have overhead closet space, using a wig stand or mannequin head to place your wigs keeps them safe. I haven’t done this myself, but I have heard of people using hangers to hangs their wigs up by draping them over the hanger and hanging it on the rack as a regular clothing item. That is a cheap and convenient way to store your wigs. Make sure that your wigs are spaced out from other clothes and wigs to prevent it from tangling. If you do not have closet space, another way to store your wig is on the wall. You would need push pins or command strips. You want to place them far enough apart and the hang your wigs up on them. It is as simple as that, and it works! Spacing the pins out is essential so that your wigs do not get tangled into each other.
Store Wigs ProperlyIf you are traveling when you have little breaks over the semester, you want to store your wigs properly. If you only have one wig, you can store it in a box or container of some sort. WIth several wigs, it may be a little trickier to keep them all safe. A tip I learned from a friend is to place your hair into a hair net and put them each into a separate ziplock or plastic bag before you place them into your luggage. It may not completely protect them from getting a little messy, but it helps a lot. Washing your wig in the dorm lifestyle is an adjustment to make. My advice is to try to keep your wig as neat as possible, so you do not have to wash it often. If you have a communal bathroom, washing your wig using the shower head is tricky but still doable. Be mindful of others wanting to use the shower. In your private bathroom it is much easier to take your time and go through the process but like I have been saying, communicate with your roommate if you feel like there will be any conflicts.
Weaves and Other ExtensionsWhether it’s a weave, clip-ins, braiding hair, crochet hair, etc., the process for install and keeping them stored is all the same. Here are essential ideas to help you install and maintain any extensions in college. Storing the hair is super simple! I am a person that likes to buy braiding hair, or crochet hair in bulk and keep them in storage. As we all know, you can use braiding hair for many things other than braids or twists. In school, the problem for me became finding a way to store all this hair without getting in the way of anything. I believe the best solution to storing any of these types of hair is getting a container of some sort with a lid and just keeping them in there. All my hair fits into the container, and I put it in the closet to keep it out of the way of anything else.
Make Time!Making time to do your hair in college may be tricky. Especially when you get deep into the semester and have a lot of work to do. You may be too tired to do your hair or not have enough time. The best time for me to do my hair was always the weekends. There are no classes to attend, and you have the whole day to yourself to get your hair done. You could also think about doing your hair a little every day. There may not enough time to sit and do it all in one day so doing some of it each day can help you get your hair done and do the other things you might need to do. You will be spending a lot of time in the mirror as well. Make sure to keep your materials organized and out of the way of your roommate's things so they can get to them quickly and also clean up as you go. If you ever feel like doing your hair may be a conflict of interest with your roommates talk to them. I cannot stress enough how important it is to communicate. If you ever feel doing your hair will be a problem speak with them and say that you will need the time to use the mirror to make sure it is okay. It isn’t something that’s I believe is necessary, but it is up to you.
Accept The Challenge!As a naturalista, there are so many challenges to face in college and coming up with a great hair routine is one of them! Whether you are attempting to do your natural hair, its time for wash day, you have to find a place to store your wigs, or you need to find the time to do your braids these are all different challenges you have to find ways to overcome. Be creative. You may be embarrassed to do things at first, but you will get used to it. I promise after the first time they see it; there won’t be any shockers after. Ask other people you know how they dealt with their hair in college and got even more great tips. Remember if you need to communicate with your roommates make sure to do that as it is as much your room as theirs. Are there any other tips you may have to get you through your first few years in a public setting? What have some of you done to get through doing your hair with having roommates? I would love to read those stories in the comments below!
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