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Curly Nikki

Going Natural Ain’t No Joke!

By January 27th, 202151 Comments

Going Natural Ain't No Joke!
LaTanya writes:

Being natural these days seems to be a growing trend..everywhere I go I see people that are either natural, transitioning, or thinking about transitioning. Many times these are women that were die hard “permies.” When asked for advice, I tell them as much as I can, but they often become bored with what I am saying, and remark, “Oh wow, I thought having natural hair would be easier.”

I am often quoted as telling friends, “Going natural is not for the faint at heart…” What do the rest of you ladies think? I have been natural for almost three years now and there are days that I long for “Becky” hair but I remember that when I was relaxed, I didn’t have the thick and healthy hair I do now.

Weigh in!


  • Natural With Nora says:

    I've made a video of my transition from relaxed to natural. I absolutely LOVE this site. CN is the best!


  • Anonymous says:

    First of all, I never did the BC and transitioned the entire time. I have been natural three years and I accomplished this by minimizing heat and manipulation. I went to my hair stylist every two weeks for a DC, flat iron, and for those two weeks I didn’t put any heat in my hair. I would wrap it every night or when it would poof out only adding olive oil and coconut oil to the scalp and ends of my hair (put a satin cap on). Surprisingly, my hair gradually grew out in 1 1/2 years without breakage. That is until I decided to use the flat iron more (big mistake). My hair began to thin out and lose its curl so I started learning to style my hair in its natural state (it took about a month to learn and find the right products; maybe I got lucky). I’ve found that it’s not as complicated as I thought, in fact, for me it’s fairly easy. Every night I do 6 twists with coconut oil and Shea butter (takes 10 minutes; put a satin cap on). In the morning, I take the twist out and add coconut oil to my ends and go. Sure, it does take a few extra minutes to twist and untwist daily but I find that my health is more important than going back to the risky chemicals in relaxers. However, I don’t have to worry about the rain or humidity anymore. The greatest thing is that I’ve received more compliments on my hair now than I have my entire life.

  • Anonymous says:

    Miss Malorie, I couldn't agree with you more….wash-n-go's and a little conditioner definitely didn't work for my hair and it's definitely not easy for us all….but after 1 year and 7 months in my natural life-style change…it's getting better. I would throw my hands up many a day because I felt I was spending too much time on my hair and I just couldn't seem to get it right, and things I read that worked for others were not working for me, even Henna, I put everything under the sun in it to make it less drying on my hair, nothing worked, what did work for me was not Henna'ing so often. I have thick, coarse hair or at least I thought, until I found a conditioner and oil that's been working for me. Hang tight ladies…it will get easier and better !

    Mrs. Jaa

  • Tiff says:

    i was a permie and then transitioned for a year and a half…i was scared, but wanted to know what my real texture was like since my mom started perming my hair at age 4 and i'm 26 now! All i was ever told was…oh your hair would be 2 hard to do if u ever went natural….i had LONG relaxed hair, but it seemed to get thinner, and then even though it would grow, it just seemed lifeless and boring. So, after asking several girls i saw with beautiful curly fros how they did it, i even found a salon where most of the blacks (they were black Ethiopians, not black Americans) had natural hair and really pushed for that…they showed me how to work with my natural texture and really encouraged me. 2 years after embarking on my natural journey, I'm proud to say i've got a full head of 4a 3c beautiful curls and people stop me everywhere wanting to know what i do, how long it took to grow…if they can touch it….if it's hard to do.

    I think the hardest part is the transition and trying to research and figure out what works for your hair type. After that, wash and goes with conditioner is a BREEZE…styling options are the hardest part because your hair is so curly…not straight anymore. If I have times where i want my long hair back, I simply go to the salon and have it blown out…and my hair is long and full. You get the best of both worlds…a beautiful head of curls that appears shorter…and then you can get it straightened and it's long, thick, healthy, and bouncy….amazing! Now i encourage people everywhere to not listen to others who tell them they "need" a perm. No other race "needs" it. Naturals have unique hair…we can copy every races hair…every other race can't copy ours. It's beautiful, you WILL get more attention from EVERYONE…and it's the softest stuff ever when taken care of properly and you won't be afraid of running around in the rain without an umbrella (:

  • Accountable to God says:

    I am newly natural. This is my fifth month, and for me it's not as easy than being relaxed that's for sure. But I love my natural hair so it's worth it. I feel what made it difficult for me is trying to keep my hair soft and moisturized in the beginning. Trying to find the right products is tough. And Trying to style a short thick kinky dense TWA, is very time consuming.

  • Jul says:

    I decided to go natural in Nov 2009. I would say the experience has its frustrating moments. I think so many products & information become overwhelming at times. I definitely spend more time with taking care of my natural hair than when I had a relaxer.

    My day to day before consisted of wash/doobie – then wrap it every until I got it washed/doobie again.

    Now, I have to poo/condition, co-wash, then oil, then slightly twist, then overnight baggy depending on the day/wk. That is really excessive to me. And, I don't see the rapid growth that I hoped to see. Many people who are natural..are product junkies looking for the next tip. There is an obsession associated with it- for sure. I am excited to take part in the process..but trying to stay grounded & do the least but still maintain a healthy head.

    Excuse my frustration – I am tired of my TWA.. LOL
    Any ideas for things I should be doing at my length —

  • Femme Fatale et Noire says:

    It's definitely an adjustment. I am one of those women whose hair actually looks pretty good with a perm. I always had it done professionally, but still there was way too much to keep up with. Cutting my hair was the hardest to do, but I realized it was just hair. Nowadays, my hair looks and feels healthier and it's getting back to its original length. Possibly longer. Nearly 2 1/2 years later.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been natural 11 months. I have no desire to get a perm. In the begining after the big chop I kind of felt like I wanted to give up but quickly changed my mind. I will says that my hair is time consuming. I am one of those people that twist my hair every night with shea butter and olive oil, my hair is 5 inch now and I am so happy with it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Getting to know your natural hair is getting to know yourself. This is how you were made and this is how you will be when you die. Being natural is a beautiful experience that not all of us will know. It is not understood by all.

    I think that it is our responsibility to educate women on the choices that we have with our hair, our body. Once we all become educated we can make the best choice. I've made my choice.

  • Theresa says:

    Thank you all for your advice & it's nice to hear of people going through similar difficulty and to read of people who have gotten through it, I definitely don't want to go back to a perm.

    To Anon 3/10/10 9:20 PM I've tried Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, V05 Conditioners and Suave Conditioners, I guess I'll keep looking, but thanks!

    and to Keebo, hmm, I've never even THOUGHT of detangling on only semi-wet hair, I will definitely try that next time, thanks a lot!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree that going natural can be difficult. What I've learned is that you have to be patient with your hair. I tried going natural 2 times prior to this last time and if it weren't for the youtube community and blogs such as this, I would have given up again. I believe that I have always wanted to go natural but I guess the saying is, "How bad do you want it." You know, when you have permed hair you can't stand to see new growth because that means it's time to get a perm. Now, I look forward to new growth. It gets better and better every with every inch of new growth I see. I am no longer afraid of sweating or getting rained on. I am loving my natural hair!!! Thank you Lord for hair that is versatile, curly, wavey, thick and beautiful!

  • M says:

    I noticed a lot of people saying that being natural is not hard… and they have probably been in the game for a minute. I think that initially, being natural can be very difficult. (Although the majority of the difficulty can be rightly overshadowed by the excitement of it all, not to mention the love of the natural hair growing out of your head.) You have no idea how to take care of your hair, and what works for some (wash and go's, a little conditioner, etc.) doesn't necessarily work for you. It can also be very difficult mentally–going from one lifestyle to the other (because for those who really invest and stick with it, it becomes a lifestyle) does not happen overnight. It involves, for a lot of women for whom perming consumed their hair life, a great mental shift. Also, when things get tough (as they inevitably do), I know I feel the urge to cut it all off, or even to *shudder* relax it again. Though the latter urge occurs less than the cutting one.

    However, I feel like it will get easier as I learn my hair. It's like a metaphorical marriage–at first, it was all honeymoon love with my tresses, and then, as I got to know my hair, I wasn't quite sure if I'd made the right decision in forming a union with the foreign entity of my hair's naturality. But the decision I made was based off something deeper than the unpredictability of the day to day emotions… so I'mma stick with this union 🙂

  • Cyndy says:

    After my brief (3 month) transition and big chop in 11/09, I realized something I had always known — I didn't like relaxed hair. The blow drying, perming, curling iron thing, and especially needing to be water phobic, didn't agree with me. For 30 years I was unsure of my hair texture and didn't feel I had a choice but to straighten.

    Being natural has been so liberating because I can avoid too much styling. My hair is short so I only wear my curly 4a/4b afro and I love it! Finding products has been the most difficult part and I think I have a regimen I like now. It is really individual. I do echo what others have written about needing to accept your own curl pattern. I didn't expect to have any curl, so I'm happy. Straight vs natural is really a choice. The point is to have healthy hair, no matter the style or texture.

  • Anonymous says:

    going natural can be as hard or as easy as you make it… you can go to the salon every 2 weeks with natural hair and not have to do much your self, (maybe re roll, or rebraid, or some kind of maintence, relaxed heads have to do something at night too)
    or you can take the time to learn that missing information that has generations of black women thinking that they are not beautiful when they anoint their own true self. If its for a quick and easy hair style… you can get it… but being able to anoint your natural self and recognize your beauty is different. Other women have their traditions, that they have had for a long time… Women of the african diaspora have the traditions but have been programmed to believe its not beautiful… With that programming alot of the true know how was lost and replaced with some funky products…. Being natural you have to learn to listen to your body, you need to learn what products do and how they will be beneficial to the type of coil you have, you need to not only accept you self but praise your self… Its not for the faint of heart…Confidence is what makes beauty evident… So a person can easily wear natural hairstyles but if its not worn with confidence and satisfaction then its just a fleeting hairstyle much like any other wig or guise

  • NikNak says:

    I agree completely w/ socialitedreams

  • Keebo says:

    Hi Theresa? Have you tried detangling outside the shower with semi wet hair and detangling products? My hair breaks quickly with detangling when it's too wet/very dry hair. I oil rinse, co-wash then DC with my shoulder length hair in braids then I use a modified denman brush(d3 with some rows taken out)and detangler mixed with water out the shower. I have 4a/4b hair. My baby niece who has 4b/some 3b(think that will go away)has a cute small thick puffy fro so I wash her hair with very diluted conditioner and detangle semi wet with the denman in quick sections. You're right about wash and have to detangle more then hair in protective styles.

  • Keebo says:

    Compared to years of having my hair in constant braids and now? Yeah I'd say it was work at first. Now it's easier because I keep it detangled and moisturized. I have a plan A and B regimen with products that are simple, easy to find, and inexpensive. Also, I've stopped the mental games of seeing the other grass as greener. I believed that straight was easier because it seemed that way. Now, I'm pretty sure if "Becky" washed her hair every few weeks, used caustic chemicals, clogging grease, let crazy ignorant stylists play in her hair, use the latest products that boo-boo recommended when her hair was just fine or not simply running a decent comb through her hair then she would have crap thinning hair. Nope, natural hair is difficult only if you make it so.

  • Anonymous says:

    Theresa, I totally agree with you. I did the B.C. in September and there's been a lot of tears and frustration since. I'm not saying this to be discouraging, I just think that I'm being honest about my experience and I think that people who don't love every aspect of the transitioning process or their natural status are picked on a bit. No, I'm not expecting my hair to fall in perfect ringlets, but I would like to feel confident walking down the street and professional at work. I don't think that I am/was delusional. I didn't expect my hair to look like anything or anyone else's. I didn't know what to expect. But I like looking neat and put together and I do miss never having to struggle with moisture issues. My hair feels like hay all of the time no matter what I try and the ends, despite my clipping and babying them, look like I've been chewing on them. Obviously going natural was my choice and I can always choose to relax again, but I don't think that I will. I'm just disappointed in how difficult it is to deal with my hair now (again, by no means am I attempting ANY kind of complicated styling or curl pattern reformation- just wanting have it not feel like twine and put it up neatly). And that's as true and real as anyone else's amazing natural experience.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that once you've been natural for a while it becomes easier. But in the beginning just like everything else (learning to ride a bike for the first time; your first swimming lesson) it can be a real challenge. I hear what everyone is saying about sticking to it and it not being hard but I think the majority are forgetting what it may have been like in the very beginning. Learning to style, what products to use, checking ingredients, realizing its hard to find any good products in stores, determining whether you want to spend extra for shipping an handling. It can be quite difficult, but I also think that it's definitely worth it.
    I recently big chopped and it hasn't been easy, not in the least bit. Honeslty when I had a relaxer I'd go in once every six weeks get a perm, and I wore a bun or pony tail most of the time (it took ten minutes tops to style my hair) and I didn't have any extreme breakage issues. It's a challenge for me to do my hair, but its a challenge I welcome. I'm no longer dependent on anyone else to maintain my hair, and its just a wonderful feeling.

  • KeetaRay says:

    I agree that going natural is only hard if you make it hard. It is definitely work to change your mindset once going from permed to natural – you have to treat your natural hair completely different than your permed hair. BUT, for me it was FUN! Learning about MY hair, in it's natural state, was a fun learning experience. The only time I was frustrated was during the transition but once I got rid of the 2 different textures it became easier. I think many women are IMPATIENT and have unrealistic expectations, as some of you have previously mentioned. I also think women spend too much time wanting someone else's hair, rather than embracing their own. When some go natural & their hair isn't "what they thought", they don't feel like dealing with it. Take the time to learn about the beautiful hair you were given.

  • savvybrown says:

    My health is most important to me, and I know that although taking care of my natural hair might take a little longer, the alternative is just not an option for me.

  • sewdope says:

    i totally agree. i tell people all the time this is a commitment. it won't be easy in the beginning. it's not hard to me now because i know what to do and what to expect from my hair. i think that people that go natural have unrealistic expectations. they think they are going to be able to do the same half-ass stuff they are doing now and expect stellar results. women have become extremely lazy with their hair. they've gotten so use to the quick weave/perm fix that they can't fathom spending an hour on their natural texture.

  • Anonymous says:

    LMAO @ 'beck hair'..

  • Anonymous says:

    All the best things and satisfactions in my life have required work and discussions with my soul. the natural hair I will have in, say, 3 years will be 100 better than the textlaxed hair I had 2 years ago and it won't be temporary or unpredictable anymore. I will have gained an independence that I didn't have before. I used to think: what will I do when my hairdresser will not be around anymore?

    Going natural and transitioning is a long process and it has not been easy for me. The first year was a nightmare as I didn't know what to do and I don't really know what pushed me to have patience and wait. I didn't know about websites, products, and I had rarely seen natural hair around. I changed city and I decided to wait for 1 year before relaxing again. With my hair in a bun and no clue. And then I discovred Curlynikki.

    Every year I see more and more results and I understand that it was the right choice. It gets easier and my hair improves. So it is, for me, a long term investment and it feels right.

    It is a mind set that can be applied to many spheres of life, so it has been an important lesson for me.


  • Unknown says:

    I think everyone is looking and finding a quick fix for everything but finds out at the end it's only temporary. If we want healthy hair we look for a pill to take, if we want to lose 10lbs we race to the fad diets, anything that will promise a result in a record time is more popular. Do I think going natural is hard? Not anymore because if I want any positive results it's not gonna be an overnight success. When someone decides to go natural they must be prepared for the mentally and emotional growth, knowing you have to be committed and not do it for the wrong reasons.

  • Anonymous says:

    think about it…its not the being natural thats hard…anyone who has been natural all their lives can probably attest to this…its finding the products that work for your hair. you gotta remember that we have been brainwashed for a long time that being relaxed is normal so we've learned to deal with processed hair, not our own kinks and curls. learning and unbrainwashing is the hard part of being natural.

  • Joy says:

    Nope, for me it's definitely been hard. Like you said LaTanya "going natural is not for the faint of heart," I've been saying that from my first day. Now the road to natural is not the same for everyone nor is the road of life so you can't say 'it's only as hard as you make it' because everyone has a different outlook. It's been almost 2 years for me and I'm still having a rough time. Though my job has something to do with it, it's not been easy peasy at all. Nonetheless, I'm loving it and this is a decision that is for life! I'm sticking with it and I'm thankful everyday that it was the decision that I ultimately made for ME!

  • hesfaithful says:

    I agree that going natural is not for the "faint of heart." I've had long hair most of my life and the months following the big chop, while exciting and liberating, became a serious period of transition of my mindset. The new me took a lot of getting used to and I had to redefine my own personal standard of beauty.

    I never looked back but I didn't really get into a groove or feel it was "easy" (right products, styles, etc.) until around 4 or 5 months in. Once I got my routine straight I started to feel that staying natural would be the easy part.

  • Cygnet says:

    As one who learned to do to my own hair anything I ever wanted or thought I needed to do, from putting in my own Jheri curls, to braiding in extensions, to texturizing, to trimming, I will say a couple things.

    First, if it's long enough to brush, it's long enough to need work. Altering the texture versus not makes no difference. What is different for some is the fact that they allow others to do a good bit of the maintenance–washing, conditioning, processing, styling–at a salon, and do the easier bits at home. Just because the work wasn't done by the client personally does not mean that work was not done; in fact, the client paid for it to be well done, and it better have been :-), you know how we are about that! But now that the client is no longer a client, the things that others did are now things the client must take on for herself, and if you're not used to doing the work, there is a learning curve, as much in learning simple maintenance as in learning what products to use as part of that maintenance.

    Which goes into the second thing, which is purely a matter of opinion; but I think that being in the habit of always doing for myself what others have paid to have done at a salon went a long way to preparing me for the time investment required for the care of my hair now that it is no longer chemically altered. In fact, a lot of what I'm doing now, technique-wise, is stuff I was doing when I was texturized, such as twisting at night, sleeping with a slippery bonnet on, grooming and moisturizing daily, and henna every 4-6 weeks the last few months before I decided to stop texturizing and grow it out. The biggest change, other than the texture, has been in the frequency of cleaning, and that has actually been very beneficial for me in that it helped clear up a seborrhea that I had battled for a couple years leading up to my transition. And because my unprocessed hair responds to being cleansed better than it did when it was processed, the after-cleaning routine has been much easier.

    The only challenge I'm now facing is that it has grown enough that I can stretch it back out the the length it was in spring 2007, so now I will hopefully be doing everything to lengths of hair with which I will be increasing unfamiliar. For me, the real fun–I mean work (NOT)–is about to begin.

  • honeysmoke says:

    it's not hard, but it does take time to establish a routine. once you've got it down, it's easy. remember, sometimes it's the journey, not the destination that is important.

  • Anonymous says:

    Theresa, I can totally relate to what you are the way, I'm in Austin as well. Going natural has not been a walk in the park for me, but it was because I had to learn what worked and didn't work for my hair. My hair doesn't do well with wash-n-go's, which I tried because it worked for other naturals…I read how henna really helps other naturals…so I tried it, numerous times and it really dries out my hair, even after adding extra ingredients to help with moisture, but what found that works for me …I can henna, but not as often, which is working better for my hair. So basically what I'm saying…which I've heard other naturals say as well…what works for someone else, may not necessarily work for you. The journey is becoming easier for me and I won't turn back…I'm year and 5 months deep now 🙂 so just Hang in There, it will get easier.


  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with some of the ladies that said going natural is not hard its just wearing your natural hair in the different styles instead of its true natural state that makes it somewhat of a task for some ppl.

    I am trasitioning and it is hard because you are dealing with the two textures. One thing I can say any transitioner that makes it through 6+ months can definitely handle the full on natural hair. ( I am only in my fourth month but holding strong lol)

    Back on the subject, with knowledge of what is healthy for each individuals hair the process if difficult in the beginning should become a breeze.

    I have several ppl in my family that are natural and have been since forever. I always looked at them like what are you doing. Then years back when relaxers continued to ruin my hair I started to understand and now I am on my journey to true relaxed freedom 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I am sensing an underlying theme to many of these posts. I have been natural for over a decade, and the day my natural have became a joy instead of a chore was the day I accepted the curl that grew from my head. It's fun to twistout and braidout and bantu knot out or whatever; I have done it all. But true natural freedom is letting that baby go freeform and loving it, even if it's just every once in a while.
    We all have our natural hair idols. I think the inspiration is wonderful and has helped keep me natural all these years. But admiring is one thing, coveting is another and can lead to frustration when hours of twisting and curling later, you can't acheive those Tracey Ross curls. That frustration can be the road back to Relaxer Land.
    to Theresa who posted above what kind of conditioner are you using To knock out those tangle you gotta have one with lots of slip. Nikki has discussed many here on this blog. I have had very good luck with Hello Hydration. It's cheap and gets the job done. Another tip: rinse hair with water, add conditioner and pre-detangle with fingers only, rinse, then add more conditioner and detangle with comb. If you need to shampoo, try conditioning and detangling first, then shampoo and condition again afterward. Putting shampoo onto type 4 hair without conditioning and detangling first can lead to a nightmare. As your hair gets longer, part it into four sections and detangle one section at a time. I did this method on my hair (about BSL), takes about 10-15 minutes start to finish. Give it a try.
    Stay Natural

  • Anonymous says:

    I had another natural sister share with me last night that someone told her that she took the "easy" way to by being natural, EASY please! I don't knock anyone who desires to wear weave wigs or whatever, just don't make the mistake of ever thinking that being natural is EASY or a COP out.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think being natural is easier than being relaxed and I was relaxed for almost 20 yrs! I don't understand what's so hard about being natural; it's not different than being relaxed IMO. Hair is hair. Chemical free or chemically treated you still have to CARE for it if you want it healthy and to grow long!

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not even trying to lie, I love my natural journey and I'm not trying to change it for the world, but transitioning has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I have TWO textures, two, they don't just blend together, and I'm not blowing out my hair to make it so. I've reverted to wearing my hair in two strand twists constantly to reduce manipulation. But it is still difficult, I'm trying to hold out but if I was ready I would have cut all this crap off yesterday. Transitioning/going natural is NOT a walk in the park, but in the end that is how you know that its worth it and who is really committed to doing it!

  • Veronica Marché says:

    Caring for your hair in its natural state becomes EXPONENTIALLY easier once a woman stops expecting her hair to do certain things and takes the time to learn and accept the hair for what it is.

    And I don't mean simply assigning a number and letter to your hair and calling it a day. I mean assessing its shape (does it fall longer in the front, shrink up more in the back?), its porosity (does it absorb water like a sponge or does the water form beads on the strands?), and how it reacts to certain products. (Giovanni? My hair loves it. Cantu? The hair's not a fan.)

    I think women, when they go natural, get so inspired by other women's hair that they forget to get inspired by their own. And I think when a woman closely examines the way her hair behaves, reacts and thinks (I seriously believe my hair has a mind of its own, lol), then the washing, styling, and choosing of products becomes a lot easier and a lot more intuitive.

  • Melinda says:

    Not for the faint of heart is sho nuff right y'all BUT! As for me, the experience has taught me a lot about ME as I relate to the outside world, how I really feel about myself, how others REALLY feel about me, boy, this whole natural hair adventure is truly a journey indeed. Though there are days that I long for 5 min detangeling sessions I love my healthy full textured mass of hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Going natural is only as hard as you make it. In reality it is a lot easier and cheaper than being relaxed. I've been natural for over 14 years and I've never once wanted to go back to relaxed. The burned scalp coupled with the thin and broken hair is not cute. Besides, no matter how much you relax, your hair was made to be a certain way. It will always try to go back to the way it's supposed to be so why fight it?

  • Milan says:

    I agree with the first poster, being natural is as hard as you make it. Yes, that first year can be tough but that's b/c you're learning your hair and figuring out what it responds to. Once you find products that your hair thrives off of, it's smooth sailing. I think why some run into problems is b/c they try to work against their instead of with it. YOu have to respect and accept that natural, afro textured hair is not silky straight or relaxed hair so you can't treat them exactly the same. LIke another poster said, the only time it becomes more time consuming is when you start doing other techniques that do take a little more time to give your hair different looks like twists, twist outs, braid outs, etc.

    I don't know. In my experiences, natural isn't any more work than relaxed hair and I have 4a hair, it's just a different way of caring for and handling your hair, that's all. Once you understand that, I think it takes away the mentality that being natural is "so hard" or more time consuming. And my goodness people, no matter what state your hair is in, you have to put some effort into it for it to look nice. Some people are really under the mentality that b/c they don't chemically alter their hair anymore that means they don't have to take care of their hair or do anything to it.

  • Theresa says:

    I'm currently wearing my short natural 4a/4b hair in twist extensions because of how much effort it takes to do my hair. I honestly did think it would be easier than this, I've tried product after product but wash and gos are a no no and they just leave me with coarse tangled hair. When I was permed I would cowash, air dry, bun took less than a half an hour once a week, but now I'm struggling with the comb (yes it's wide toothed and with sopping wet hair filled with conditioner) for an hour a week. I kind of miss how easy it was to be relaxed, I'm a busy undergraduate student I don't want to spend a lot of time on hair. A lot of people have been commenting that it's worth it, I guess I just need to give it some time since it has been less than a year. But I love to see women with natural hair, I think it is so beautiful. Hopefully I will get out of this hair rut soon.

  • LBell says:

    If the black hair "care" industry really cared about its customers it would find ways to make going natural and being natural easier. (My definition of "the industry" includes product manufacturers, distributors, AND salons and stylists. They're ALL responsible IMHO.) What's easier for THEM is for black women to remain ignorant about how their hair really works, which is why so many women have had to resort to the Internet to get educated. But then when they realize just how much information is out here, it's very easy to get overwhelmed. At least once a month on Nappturality somebody signs on, ignores the thousands of pages and topics, and says simply, "I'm going/I've gone natural. What do I do now?"

    Not only is there a care and maintenance learning curve (made more difficult by the fact that, again, the industry doesn't really want you to get educated), there's the whole mental deprogramming that has to take place. Granted, that process is easier for some than for others. I went natural knowing my hair was going to be (what is now called) 4b/4c and because I wasn't raised to think of hair textures as good or bad, I grew to love my hair that much more quickly. Plus the vast majority of people around me loved my hair or at least kept their negative comments to themselves. Without those two things (conscientious parents, open-minded friends and family) I don't know how much harder it would have been.

    Yes, going/being natural can be hard depending on one's situation…but it's not impossible. Even on my worst days I cannot think of a single reason why I would go back to the perm.

  • Anonymous says:

    Style and such is easy for me, but it's trying to find all natural/organic products for your natural hair that I have found to be the hardest part. You can go to any store and fide greasy, gooey products full of chemicals and probably aren't made for kinky/curly/nappy hair. I couldn't use any of the same product that I had used when I relaxed my hair.

  • Carmel Stacks says:

    Being natural is only difficult if you try to treat your hair as if it's straight.

  • lisa says:

    Now, that I've gotten the hang of being gentle and good to my hair I actually think it's easier for my lifestyle to not be permed. No need to peel out of work early or spend a beautiful saturday at my hairdresser instead of enjoying my friends and the sun. I don't run for cover whenever I feel a raindrop. I actually feel more in control now that I let go of trying to force my hair to be something that it was not trying to be. (My hair straightened very quickly but as soon as we washed the relaxer out and my hairdresser was wrapping my hair if I so much as raised an eyebrow or ventured a smile – the waves popped right back up. SMH. My hair has always been defiant. lol.)

    I do think it's different for everyone though and when you first start looking at all the different products and methods it's overwhelming. You just want someone to tell you exactly what to do so you can have hair like your hair idol. Maybe that's why some of the women were feeling deflated after LaTanya told them what she does. If they're dependent on their hairdressers and are going to become their own stylists when they go natural it's a lot of work. I don't think it's that much work and so worth it. But if you don't want to do the research and can't be patient with your hair and yourself to do trial and error there are natural hairstylists. I suspect though it's not as much fun as the feeling of success when you get that first great hairstyle or find that product that makes your hair feel like fluffy cotton balls and look like defined sophistication.

  • Moni says:

    I don't think being natural is difficult. It seems difficult because you don't know what you're doing and you're trying to figure out what works for you. I also agree with the commenter who said that you can make it more difficult if you're working against your texture to make it something that it's not or always jumping on the new product bandwagon.

  • ~yolanda says:

    I think it's like eating healthy vs eating fast food. Yes it takes time to cook from scratch, but if you stock your pantry correctly and plan ahead it will become second nature. After a while fast food becomes quite distasteful.

    With natural hair, once you figure out what your hair likes it becomes quite easy. I'm new to being natural and I'm still trying to figure out what my hair likes, but I know that I will never ever go back to being permed. I might pull out my CHI, but I can't do the chemicals anymore.

  • BohoStreet says:

    Being natural is so worth it. I thought it would be easier to, but difficult doesn't mean bad. I like taking the time to figure out what my hair likes and getting to the roots of the matter, so to speak. Plus that's what wigs are for when you want a quick change and giving your hair a rest. I don't own any wigs but I imagine that I will have to invest in one or two. Taking care of yourself is a chore period. Many times I want to just hop in the bed after taking a shower, but if I don't lotion my skin will be ashy and that leads to other issues. So taking care of your hair, skin, body, etc, is worth it.

  • Unknown says:

    Within the past two weeks I've talked to at least three women — one of which is a "die-hard permie" with signature down-the-back, straight hair — who have been transitioning for months. It's kind of blowing my mind. They are coming out of the word-work, the ceiling, the linoleum… and I think it's fantastic.

    I've been natural for 12 years. I big chopped at UT-Austin when hardly any woman had a natural, much less a TWA. I know there are people out there doing it because it's a trend, and why not? It's fun to be fashionable. But having a natural — particularly a free form — is sort of like getting a puppy. Well, it doesn't wet the floor… but beyond the cuteness, it requires some effort and energy. If you're really committed, you'll take good care of it. You'll get all the supplies you need (products) and take it for check-ups (trims, deep conditioning) from time to time. And it's worth any trouble because you just adore it and it adores (looks amazing on) you. Ok, perhaps that's a bit of a stretch, but you get my drift.

    Anyway, I just do all I can to encourage those who decide to make the switch, because I find it incredibly freeing and rewarding. I have no qualms about saying, "It's not for everybody, so if a perm fits you're life, stay permed." In other words, get a cat.

  • Beverly says:

    I don't think being natural is hard. Its just that you kind of do more of the owrk yourself. That is the part that I like the most. You have to work to find out what works for your hair. But once you know you should be fine.

  • Anonymous says:

    going natural is really only hard if you make it hard. A technical wash and go with a cowash and some type of moisture product is about as easy as things can be. Now when we try to change our curl definition with twist outs and braid outs, that can be more time consuming, but being natural isn't the hard part, styling for variety is. Just like styling with a relaxer can be. If they start in with the sighs of how hard it'd be and yada yada, then just let them keep relaxing, it's THEIR head, not much you can do about it.

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