Natural hair. Some call it a phase, some call it a lifestyle. As for myself, I call it a lifestyle and it has begun to open up aspects of my life that I am glad to have known. I haven’t had a relaxer (perm) since I was entering 5th grade (7 years ago). I did on and off sew-in, crochet weaves, braids, and fake ponytails. My hair was rarely out. This is what it looked liked
It began to get to a point where it was too short, uneven, inches upon inches of split ends, and needed to get right. I took it upon myself in April of 2015 to get my hair right. I began trying vitamins and ways to start getting my hair healthy (I followed Vee Mack of Coily Queens Rock) and her guide to getting healthy hair to start a regime (it used to be a printable that is no longer available).
Here are 8 things that I wish I knew before I began my natural hair lifestyle:
- High maintenance. Natural hair is not a lazy person’s luxury. It is a lot of love and maintenance with scheduled wash days, masks, moisturizing, wrapped every night, and protective styling.
- Coily/curly hair loses more hair. Prepare for more visible hair breakage since curly hair tends to lose more hair than straight hair. In the hair’s natural state, every twist and turn of each strand of curly hair is an opportunity for a break and tangles.
- Moisture is key to hair healthiness. Coily/curly hair requires more moisture than straight hair. The sebum from the scalp is unable to properly reach the ends of curly hair as efficient as straight hair. This is why my hair stays more moisturized in the colder months with straight hair than in the warmer months with coily hair. With improperly moisturized hair, it is prone to breakage. This is where leave-in conditioners will become your best friend for moisture.
- Products are EXPENSIVE! A few people have asked me if I went natural because it was cheap. If they only knew. With decent products $10 and up with multiple items needed (shampoo, conditioner, masques, leave-in, stylers, gel, hair butter, oils) and only a few uses per container (use wisely), you can easily surpass $50 for these items. There are items that you can buy from the grocery store (i.e., olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, bananas, eggs, aloe leaf, chia seeds) to save money and make all natural masks, oils, and gels. However you still need to go to a hair supply store to purchase some products.
- “Natural” is not the same as “Organic.” Just because a product is natural, does not mean that it doesn’t contain chemicals. The only untouched product are organic ingredients. Natural products only have to contain 70% of naturally grown products. The other 30% contains fillers and chemicals. The same goes for food as well. IF you want the real deal, then go with “certified” organic that contains up of 95% organic ingredients with the remaining 5% being made up of fillers and chemicals. It is a better guarantee than natural products. If you want to be completely sure, buy or grow 100% organic ingredients yourself and make your own products!
- Adjusting to your look is a serious reflection. Seeing yourself with natural hair takes time, patience, reflection, and an adjustment. If you need to wear fake hair first before making the transition, then do it. Just beware that if you do not know your hair texture this can be deceiving. Do not wear wavy 3 type hair when your hair is actually 4c kinky. When you go natural your expectations will be way off. I was not used to my coily hair in the summer, but it eventually grew on me. It takes a reflection because natural hair is not a phase it is a lifestyle. It is your heritage, your roots, the self you were born into. In order to love and understand the natural hair lifestyle, you must first understand yourself.
- You can be natural and use heat. Most people are afraid of heat when it comes to going natural because of some things that they heard or saw about heat damage. DO NOT BE AFRAID! In the colder months I blow dry and flat iron my hair twice a month (every two weeks on wash day) and my hair is not been damaged and shows no stunted growth. As a matter of fact it has been almost 3 years since I decided to take an interest in my hair and even with the use of heat, it has now reached a few inches shy of waist length. As long as you protect the strands properly before applying heat, you are safe.
- Surround yourself with the right people! This is the most important part of the natural lifestyle transition. The right or wrong people can make or break your journey and transition. For example, I have a cousin who wanted to go natural but her hair stylist talked her out of him and kept coaxing her to keep getting relaxers because her hair was growing. In retrospect, the stylist wanted to take the easy way out of doing natural hair, and get paid to keep her coming back every so often for touch ups. She ended up losing her hair and now asks me for advice of natural hair maintenance. Her hair is now growing in as it should, thick and beautiful. I know that we all know someone who has been in a similar situation. Bottom line, if they do not agree with YOUR decision, find out their motive. If you have family members or a significant other who bashes you about how your natural hair looks, this will bring about negative energy to you to get yourself right. Real family, friends, and lovers are supportive of your natural hair journey because if you love yourself, then they are satisfied. Don’t let anyone bring you down or change your mind. Remember it is YOU that is sporting the hair, not THEM.
Thank you for reading this post and exploring the blog. If there is something that you wish you knew before your natural hair journey or transition, please feel free to share.