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Diving in Head First- Natural Hair Research

By January 27th, 202144 Comments

Diving in Head First- Natural Hair Research
Y.M. writes:

When I decided to go natural, I did it blindly. I just let my perm grow out until I had 4 months of new growth, a head of un-combable hair, and a lot of frustration! Instead of going back to perms I went to Google, where I was introduced to sites like Curlynikki, NatuallyCurly, and Hairlista.

My question for you ladies is: how did you approach your move to natural hair? Did you research first then dive in, or were you like me and just dove in head first? If you could do it again would you do it differently?


  • Au Naturale says:

    Well the first time i went natural i was 14 and went in blindly.. just stopped getting perms and was doing twist outs (before i even knew they were called such) cut permed hair off bit by bit until I reached 8 month natural. den i kept the fro goin big and fluffy like angela davis.. after 5 years i cut it and permed it.. den i decided to go natural again earlier this year, BUT now im an adult and its all on me.. so i researched it for a good 4 months before i even started to transition because i wanted to make sure i did it right.. because da first time around my hair was damaged matted in the back.. lol.. it was a hot mess.. i mistreated my hair sooo bad.. but im glad i researched first sooo i can get an idea about wat my natural hair journey will be like

  • Anonymous says:

    I always liked natural hair but didn't realize my hair could "do" that. So one day I googled "black women with naturally curly hair" and all these pictures and websites popped up. So basically I started doing research before hand (I would have just dove right in after that first google search, but my mom wouldn't let me-she thought it was just another phase; but guess what it's been 2 years and I'm still at it ;-P)

  • Unknown says:

    i just dove in head first…i let my relaxer grow out kind of on purpose but not really idk what happened honestly and before i knew it i was 6 months post and decided to find out more about what i was doing to my hair and how to take care of it since i was no longer getting relaxers. i am now 14 months post and still dont plan on bc'ing and loving it!

  • Serenity Spot says:

    The same day that I got my last relaxer I started doing my research into natural hair because my scalp was in pain and I thought noo way am I doing this AGAIN! 5 months transitioning so far…! Not sure when I'll do the BC though..

  • Kuba says:

    I went in blind at first, but was soon introduced to the concept of a "hair jouney" by my sister. (This was little over a year ago believe it or not). She showed me a whole bunch of hair vlog videos on youtube, told me what she did with her hair and how to take care of mine when I was ready for the BC, and I've been schooling myself ever since.

    Although I still have A LOT to learn.
    Experimenting is the best thing you can do in this situation. As long as you stay away from heat(if you're a blow dryer/straightening like I was back when I had no sense) and use as many natural products as possible, everything should be fine.

  • Anonymous says:

    My sister was going natural the same time as me, but she did a lot more research. So I went on her coattails, she had books that really explained what was going on with your hair when you perm it and what happens when it is natural. This was very helpful! You tube videos were awesome and gave me a lot of encouragement with doing the big chop. However, if I could do it again, I would have not transitioned, just BC. Experience is the best teacher and the BC helped me more than the transition stage.

  • Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, I didn't do any research before I decided to go natural. It never occurred to me that these type of sites existed. I tried to transition by cutting off the relaxed ends in stages, but I got frustrated with the two different textures after a couple of months and just went ahead and chopped it all off. I don't regret that, but I do wish I had been more informed in the earlier stages of my journey in terms of effective products, routines, and styles. Would have saved me a lot of money and aggravation….

  • Editor says:

    Google was certainly my best friend… I went in blindly and learned sooo sooo much from just googling what I wanted to know. I fouond a few sites that were dedicated to "curly" girls (not so much "kinky" girls) and started to get frustrated. Alas, I found naturally curly and was linked back to curly nikki. Lo and behold… it was like a whole bnew world!

  • DvaAuNaturel says:

    When I knew I didn't want to relax anymore after transitioning under my weaves and then braids I went dusted off the book that got me through my first natural experience, Good Hair: For Colored Girls Who've Considered Weaves When the Chemicals Became Too Ruff by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner. That book was my lifesaver in 1995. But this time I knew there had to be more and got online and discovered, newlynatural, and curlynikki. A lot had changed over the years and I was even more equipped.

  • Lynnieluve says:

    After about a week of research, I decided I was ready to go natural. I continued my research through my transition (4 MONTHS). My advice to people that tell me they want to go natural is to RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!!!

  • c. janae says:

    I did lots of research first. The more reseach I did, the more anxious I was to do the big chop. I only transitioned for about 4 months. Even after doing research, you really only learn from experience and testing out what works and doesn't work well with your hair. I don't think research is enough, you only truly learn as you actually go through it yourself.

  • Anonymous says:

    Research, research, research. I tried going natural 5 years ago and it didn't quite work out. After 5 months I went racing back to the creamy crack, because I didn't know how to transition with anything other than braids. And I hated the set of braids I had. I got frustrated and gave in. On Saturday (10/2/10), I will be 11 months post-relaxer and I've only made it this far because I prepared myself. To begin with, I re-read Hair Story, by Lori L. Tharps. I read: Thank God I'm Natural, Grow It!, and Going Natural. I stalked natural hair blogs (including this one) and fotkis for months. I came up with a 2-year transition plan and when I got my last relaxer on 11/2/09, I knew that would be the last one. I couldn't just jump into this natural thing. I needed a plan.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick says:

    I did a ton of research during my 8 month transition, which was done while wearing cornrows. In fact, that style has become my trademark now. 😀

    But, as KeetaRay said, the learning process never stops.

  • Anonymous says:

    Definitely researching and planning as I would with any investment. Interestingly there were no cons, just pros.

  • KeetaRay says:

    I made the decision & immediately started researching. I transitioned for 8 months so by the time I did my BC I learned a lot. However, I'm almost 2 years natural and STILL learning things. Lol I love the whole learning process, though.

  • MsFoxxy says:

    I definitely did lots of research in the beginning. I lived on YouTube! I was a couple of months out from a relaxer & I was wearing lace wigs when I started seeing YouTube naturals. It's been almost two years since my last relaxer & I'm still learning my hair. I've made tons of progress due to YouTube & sites like!

  • Anonymous says:

    I knew I had to go to natural whether I liked it or not because after 25 years of relaxing, my edges were suffering. I did a lot of research and it helped so much. I wouldn't have known what to do with my hair if I hadn't done the research first. Now after 1 year being natural, my hair and scalp are thriving.

  • Jeannette says:

    I just dove in and feel I should have done my homework first. When I finally went natural, my hair was completely broken off and it looked horrible that I cut my hair in '07 and decided to stop relaxing it. I got my hair braided, wore weaves and sometimes wore my front hair braided and put a pony tail in the back. While I was doing that, I was not taking care of my hair and didn't do any research about natural hair. In July '09, before I took my hair out of the weave I started researching and realized that my hair should have been maintained. When I took it out, my natural hair was so damaged that I had to cut it all off again. Therefore, I had two BC's. It is then that I diligently researched about natural hair and was pleasantly surprised to find forums such as curlynikki and others. Now, I'm having a good time with my natural hair (NO Weaves or extensions) and I definitely take care of it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Going natural was a sheer accident for me, I had cut my hair into a short bob after wearing my hair long for years but I eventually got bored with that and decided to grow it back out again using weaves as a transitioner because I never liked the mid length hair on me (reminded me of a soccer mom cut). After almost two years of exclusively wearing weaves I saw all the new growth and decided to go natural. Best decision I ever made for it.

  • Anonymous says:

    I grew out my hair for nine months. I did not do a lot of research becuz I did not have a computer at home (wow imagine that) and I had just started a new job and was not comfortable going online at work for long periods of time. If I could do it again, I would do lots of research.

  • Queenofthe4s says:

    I ran across and stayed up an entire night reading her blog from start to finish. By morning, I was hooked and haven't looked back since. I am an advocate for research because natural hair is a whole different game than relaxed hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I did not do any research. I just went to a Natural hair salon and had it cut off. I never liked the burning the perms did to my hair and scalp. And when my son was born I decided that a short natural haircut was the way to go. That was in 2001.

    Since then I let it grow until it tickled my ear and then went and had it cut low again. About 3 months ago, my boyfriend said, "you should let your hair grow out". So, I started researching the best way to do that and found Curly Nikki and have not looked back. It's only been 3 months of 'effort' but I'm happy to give my hair the atttention. I have to admit, all the products and the info. is overwhelming at times, (and I am constantly online looking at pics, reading articles and watching you tube , when I should be working) – LOL And I wonder if I'm doing too much. But, I'm looking forward to the results. And I've always had a from head in hair problem; it's just wosre now. I'm loving it!

  • Sabrina says:

    Well after cutting off my locs that I had for 5years, I knew that I still wanted to keep my hair natural. So for me it was a no brainer idea for me to stay natural, and my hair has definitely grown alot. Though that shrinkage is something water is like kryponite to my hair…so I definitely have to be careful with how much water I can put into it while misting.

    But have you all noticed even more commericals with natural women and kids on lately. Yesterday I 2 on a commerical for Biosilk, a little girl for girnamial or something. I was wow left and right we are definitely making our mark on TV that's for sure.

  • ShakLand says:

    I grew out a texturizer over a decade ago (I was paying $70 every 2 weeks to get my hair done after giving in to peer pressure-I now think about how that money could have gone to my student loans!). I'd always knew how to care for my hair since I was very young, so I grew it out since my natural hair texture wasn't so different from the texturized portions. Then I kept trimming every month until the chemically treated parts were gone. Around that time I started using Shea butter on my hair, and hot oil treatments every time I washed and conditioned. I was also using leave-in conditioners since I did wash n go (or water-spritz and go) daily. Even when I would get perms (my mom made me get the first one at age 12 because my hair was too much for her to handle), I never liked my hair to be flat – I love my big hair, so doing away with the chemicals was an easy decision, and since I was already into oils and homeopathic and alternative products for health and beauty things, doing a little extra research made the transition an oftentimes comfortable one for me. Now it's funny because people will contact me to ask my recommendation of products or recipes to try, when back in the day, in my sister's words I was "always mixing something together."

  • Jamila Reddy says:

    I will tell everyone time and time again that Curly Nikki saved my hair. I had not a CLUE what I was doing when I transitioned. I was using all the wrong products and doing all the wrong things.

    I started taking advice from Ms. Nikki and my hair flourished. I starting taking vitamins, changing up my regimen and using products that were actually made for my hair. Magic.

    If I could do it again, I wish I'd known more from the get-go. My hair could have grown a lot more in that time….but oh well. It's happy now! 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    I did it the same exact way as you! lol. 4 months and didn't know what to do with my new growth until I started doing research then I took the plunge and chopped off all the relaxed ends. I had been mentally transitioning for years in college, but not even knowing it. I consciously transitioned for a week or 2, but I had 4 months of new growth because I knew I didn't want to put a relaxer in it. Almost a year and a 1/2 later, and I have not looked back. I love being exactly how I was made.

    If you are thinking about taking the plunge, do it now. There will always be an excuse to not do it. Listen to your heart and not your head and everything will turn out fine! Love & Light. : )

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    I'm transitioning; but, prior to making my decision, I researched the basics. I still research as I'm transitioning as I like to learn something new on a daily basis.

  • Anonymous says:

    I knew nothing about transitioning and thought that if i just stopped perming my hair that would be it…Boy oh Boy was I wrong so after informing myself with countless hours of computer research I big chopped August 15 2010 and haven't looked back LOVIN IT!!

  • Kimmy says:

    Three months after my last perm (Aug 09), I decided to go natural. The first place I looked was Youtube. I’m a visual person, so I wanted to see if there were any videos of women focusing on transitioning/natural hair. Boy, were there ever! From Youtube I started going to other hair sites, then came my quest for literature. I started doing research based on facts and not just opinions which were found on a lot of the sites/blogs I was visiting. The transition phase was the hardest part of the journey, but I’m sooooo happy I stayed the course. Would I change anything? I used to say that I wish I would have gone natural sooner, but it happened when it was supposed to happen. Being natural totally rocks!

  • kinky pinky says:

    i did tons of research, transitioned for a few months, trimming ends and wearing braids and when it was time to redo the braids my husband and i cut off my permed ends. i still wear the braids b/c i want to grow out my hair w/o going mad but had i not done the research i don;t think i'd have made it this far.

  • GGmadeit says:

    I did my research, I lived on Youtube and still live here on CN!

  • Anonymous says:

    I researched, then planned, then researched hair care & techniques at different stages from when I would have my last touch up to transition and after bc'ing. Now I am researching aruvedic powders and herbal remedies from various cultures. My sis just stopped getting relaxers and then researched. She is in a learning process now and doing great. I am having fun but think I could have done it her way just the same. Congratulations!!! swoodward

  • Anonymous says:

    I moved to a new city, so I kept bunning and not liking myself for a year, reaching for information about texturizers and looking for the perfect hairdressers but still afraid. My old hairdresser had been doing my hair for 14 years with a secret forumla that I was not allowed to know. LOL
    And then I discovered all this amazing information. I am finally free and happy to take care of myself without relying on anyone else.

  • Unknown says:

    I didn't do any research. I just went for it. But back then ('97) there wasn't much research to be done anyway. I'm SO happy that we have access to such wonderful information now.

  • Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful says:

    I researched everyday all day for one week. I watched thousands of YouTube natural hair journey videos my favorites were Rustic Beauty, AfricanExports, Skeeta552, PrettyDimples01, and KimmayTube.

    I read hair forums–NaturallyCurly, Napturality, and BGLH, I read hair websites, and books on Natural Hair–Thank God I'm Natural by ChrisTia Donaldson was the first book I read, then I read Textured Tresses by Diana Da Costa then Curly Like Me by Teri LaFlesh and then Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey.

    After that week was up, I was ready!

    My cousin and I said "tonights the night…lets crack some Nuvo, order chinese food, and CHOP IT ALL OFF!"

    And we did just that.

  • Unknown says:

    I had friends who were natural but they never really wore their hair out because we were in college and it was too much work…I met a woman at my job who was natural but wore her hair straight..her hair always looked nice and healthy…So i went to her stylist who told me how bad the perm was for my hair and how i could wear my hair straight without a perm…everybody in the shop had amazing long/healthy hair so I decided to transition with her help….been natural 3 yrs wearing straight hair and rocking my curlies for about 6 lovely months 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I had decided to leave the corporate world and go back to school and as I was planning I realized that I didn't know what I was going to do with my hair. I had always admired locs so I stopped getting relaxers and started researching. I found nappturality and motown girl and transitioned for about 4 months before BCing. I would probably do it the same way again…I'm a researcher at heart. It helps me feel more comfortable having an idea what I'm getting into. 🙂 lol ~KF519

  • Yam84 says:

    I am 2.5 months post relaxer. When I made the decision, I had been researching for at least 6 months on healthy hair in general. The tipping point was my last relaxer…I got burned! Not badly, but enough for me to say enough is enough! Besides that, for almost a year, I have been seeing a lot of natural sistas, and noticed how beautiful their hair was! So I knew there was a reason these women stuck out to me! It was meant to be. But yeah, luckily, there are sites like CN geared towards transitioning and natural hair care.

    I think it's funny that in our natural hair state, we don't know how to care for our hair! But we can keep up a relaxer!

  • Anonymous says:

    i relied heavily on my stylists. i told them i wanted to go natural, and they told me, "Oh, you want to start transitioning or you want to big chop now?" the was my first introduction into the natural world. my stylist wasn't too fond of the idea, even though she had transitioned countless naturals, so once i was fully natural, she released me out into the world with little information. so i started my research after being fully natural. i wish i had done more, but i was so used to going to the salon every two weeks that i hadn't thought i would be doing my own hair from now on. the learning curve was STEEP!

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, I must be a research nut case. At first I didn't know I was "transitioning". I just stopped getting perms because it was thinning out my hair. But I continued to straighten my hair every other week. When I finally decided to wear my hair in its curly state, I used EVERY tool that was available to me via blogsites, Youtube, forums, you name it, and I’ve been on it religiously. I found that understanding what this new transition would mean for me and my hair was important so I did my homework! And within a month I was speaking the natural language and giving pointers and tips to fellow transitioners and naturals alike. My hair has greatly benefited from my in-depth research and I would not have done anything differently.

  • Anonymous says:

    When I decided to go natural my hair was in a short style. I had just gotten a weave that looked a mess and decided that I couldn't walk around looking crazy.. After all the work of taking the weave out I was tired and didnt feel like relaxing my hair for work the next day. I put baby oil in my hair and let it do its thing.. The next day, I was on lhcf( Long hair care forum) searching for products to use on my " new" hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I tried to grow out my relaxer some years ago and I ended up relaxing a few months later because I went in blindly. However, this time I chose to be prepared and I did tons of research. Three months in and I have a positive outlook because I am more knowledgeable.

  • vonnie says:

    I was depressed after college and just wasn't getting perms. My mom told me to do something with my head so I started googling things and by that point had 10 months of new growth. found and and decided to cut off all of the permed bits and been happily naptural ever since 🙂

  • modest-goddess says:

    I just went for it. I grew out my relaxer with a texturizer. Then I decided to grow out my texturizer and see what my natural hair looked like. I don't think I started reading natural hair blogs until I big chopped.

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