August 1, 2014

New to Natural Hair?- What to Expect

When I decided to stop relaxing my hair, I had many ideas about what it would be like to be natural. Now that I'm about five years into my natural hair journey (that includes transitioning), many of these ideas have been proven quite wrong. I absolutely love the fullness and versatility of my natural hair. I expected that and haven't been disappointed. However, there have been many challenges that I didn't expect!

1. Just because my hair is not chemically treated does not mean that it will automatically be healthier and grow longer. My hair is naturally thin and dry, so I have to be gentle with it, keep it moisturized and protect it from drying factors like wind, cotton sheets and wool sweaters/coats. When I first decided to go natural, I had this idea that with no chemicals and little heat, my hair would be so strong and resilient that I'd be able to wear it out all the time without any consequences. This is NOT the case. I get single strand knots very easily, which I did not get when I was relaxed, so this is something I didn't anticipate. This leads me to my next discovery.

Read On>>>

2. Since my hair is prone to single strand knots, I have to keep my hair stretched most of the time to avoid them. I stretch through banding, braiding and blow drying. Although my favorite style is a twist out with no rollers at the end, my ends do better when they are stretched with a roller. I make sure that I don't blow dry more than once a month, and I keep it on the medium setting. In the summertime, I don't blow dry at all. I hardly get regular split ends at all anymore, which is great. But damaged ends are still damaged ends, so I have to keep certain hairstyles to a minimum to avoid the knots.

3. Protective styling is the best thing I can do for my hair for length and moisture retention. Like I said earlier, I really thought that I'd be able to wear my hair down all the time if I was natural, but that just doesn't work for me. Yeah, I get bored with it sometimes; but since I've been bunning for the past couple of months, my hair has really been thriving, so it's worth it. Plus, I find all kinds of ideas for styles online and it forces me to be creative. There are so many options with natural hair and my hair is now thick enough and textured enough to give me lots of options.

Are you transitioning or already natural? If you have dispelled any myths or made any discoveries on your journey, please share in the comments! Also, if you're experiencing any challenges, let us know.

16 Weigh in!:

vonnie said...

this is all very good! What i didn't expect were the multiple textures! I thought curl patterns all came in one variety on ONE head...I wish that were the case, I like consistency, lol, but nope.

My challenge is always single strand knots....even with it in mini twists right now, I've found some on the end...they plague me constantly...i spray my hair with a moisturizing spray that i made and seal but I still find SOME knots...blech!


Anonymous said...

This resonated with me:
"Just because my hair is not chemically treated does not mean that it will automatically be healthier and grow longer."

I'm realizing that now and honestly, it's really frustrating. I stopped relaxing because I wanted healthier ends and more growth. It seemed to be going well the first 2.5 years after my BC. Now after a total of five years post-BC, using natural products and all that jazz, I find myself dealing with the same issues -- poor ends and stagnant growth! WTF?
rant over.

Your hair looks great!

Anonymous said...

That I can go to bed w/o my bonnet and sleep all types of ways and wake up with bouncy/moisturised curls *queue pantene hair shake.* #FAIL.

That what one natural does w/ her hair, you can too and achieve the same results.

That all naturals have "curls".

I agree, your hair is BEAUTIFUL!

Anonymous said...

I love your hair.. i'm the single strand knot queen!! It drives me crazy, I recently blow dried my hair for the first time in about 4 months. I don't want to keep using heat but I guess more protective styles will help.

MonnieD said...

1: Attack of the product junkie...I've learned that being natural isnt much cheaper as everyone expects it to be. Yes, you dont have to pay for expensive touch ups anymore but apparently my hair is a whore and only behaves well when I use organic expensive products. Its like she can sniff it out

2:Natural hair can be time consuming compared to the unwrap and go. Between Henna, DC, twisting, braiding all the other various of things you can do to your hair can be very time consuming and typially it only lasts a good 2-3 days for me.

3: The same hair problems that can exist with a relaxer can exist without such as length retention and growth.

4: Dont know what to call it but if a emergency situation happens and you get called out, which happens often in my job, its hard to do wet sets/dry sets, you walk out with twist rollers and a scarf in you hair but you have to look professional

SN: Love your hair though

Anonymous said...

Single strand knots are a serious annoyance. I've decided to not worry about them anymore or they will drive me crazy. Every couple of months, I'll just cut them off at once and move on.


Stacy said...

That I would WANT to wear my hair down. Turns out, relaxed or natural, I really don't like to, which is a shame because I think my hair {might} be healthier if I did.

Then add insult to injury in that twistouts/braidouts don't work on my hair. Lose-lose situation. :< said...

Great Post... It makes me happy to see things like this so everyone doesn't feel that there are "rules" they have to follow in order to retain length... find what works for you! iLove it (=

Deanna said...

I thought that after seeing my bestie with such pretty natural hair styles that styling, getting my hair not to frizz, managing my hair would be easy....#FAIL!!

I learned over time that everything that works for one curlie doesn't work for another which would includes styles, products, and color!! I had to learn the hard way...but over time I've become wiser and embracing my curls and learning what they like(sense they have a mind of their own) each and every day!!! Thanks GG!!

Levone said...

Great post! Her hair is beautiful. I think after being natural for about 8 years now....I've been a heat queen, went without/cold turkey for 2+ years...I've learned that heat in moderation is ok. I think the starting point for any healthy head of hair is keeping it properly moisturized. Of course the proper level of moisturization will differ from head to head.

Finding Purpose said...

I am just starting out my transition process (for the second or third time) but this time I have the guidance and support I need to continue with my natural hair journey. I had the same thoughts about natural hair being more healthy than relaxed hair but I have quickly found that it takes lots of work and dedication to get it to that point. I am glad you shared this with us. I am only into my second month of transitioning and I am noticing that my hair is breaking off (maybe due to the weather or maybe in need of a protein treatment) but either way, I definitely see that it is not as easy as I thought it would be. Nonetheless, I am excited to see my hair in its natural state and I get excited every time I get ready to Co-wash or condition my hair in the morning just to know that I am going to see my hair in its true state for once in my life. Thanks for sharing!

Rhayne said...

Wow GG hair is gorgeous and so long drooling now. But ladies here's another nautral that I found on YT" EmpressRi" video name is "Finally Finished" she has straightend her hair and check out the length of it.

Katrina said...

1) Natural for 2 years; Type 4 hair. Biggest misconception that I had was that I could wear my hair straight whenever I wanted to and go back to curly; NOT! I was told by several natural stylists who have done my hair that if I straighten too much that I highly risk my hair not reverting back and that I did not have the kind of hair to keep getting it straightened and expect my coils to stay :( Over 2 years I have learned to love my coils and only get it straightened once a year for the purposes of a good even trim and yearly growth check. And then feel guilty about the heat that I subjected it to afterwards :)
2) Learned to accept that the single strand knots will occur regardless of how much you try to prevent them; trims help but growth goes down with 3-4 months trims! I thought as a natural who rarely ever ever adds heat, not even a blow dryer and DC weekly that trims were not needed as much. Another NOT! I stopped cutting inches off though and just do the ends now :)

Carla said...

I've been natural for going on 8 years and I too thought my hair was going to be healthy just because its natural - NOT! Since my hair is relatively long, it does take longer to care for it via deep conditioning, the occasional henna, and styling for the week.

Hair2Toe Beauty said...

Great points! I adooooore her hair and love her blog!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous hair!
I'm currently in transition from a relaxer to natural hair. My last relaxer was Oct 17 2009. I still have about an inch and a half of relaxer on the ends.
1)Can you share your styling methods for each photo you posted?
2)Can you tell us what products you use for each photo or in general [shampoo, conditioner,heat protectants, type of blow dryer etc]

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