By: Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Hola chicas!

Dr. Phoenyx here! And today I wanted to talk to you about “going natural.” Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m certain you’ve observed a noticeable shift in women going from relaxed to natural hair. Every day, I see more and more women rocking gorgeous afro and natural styles. Some are doing it for aesthetics, while others are doing it for their health. And that’s all fabulous. But either way, it’s important for all women to know that going natural is rarely something that should be done on a whim. Going natural requires a lot of things. And usually, the process requires months or even years of contemplation and education. Yes, it’s very tempting to run to a stylist shouting “I want that!” after you’ve seen a natural haired woman rocking a gorgeous afro or locs. But you should resist doing something impulsive before you’ve fully prepared yourself for the commitment. Take your time to think the whole process through. The road to natural hair is wonderful but it is also paved with occasional obstacles. Here’s a list of 5 things you’ll need “before” going natural:

Realistic expectations
Before going natural, many women will look at another natural haired woman and expect/hope their hair will also look the same once they’ve transitioned. So there can be great disappointment when a woman finds that her 3b hair doesn’t end up looking like 4a, or vice versa. When going natural you have to have realistic expectations. Remember- each head of hair is unique. And going natural is about looking like YOU, not like someone else.

Encouragement
When going natural, many women face negative remarks and looks (oftentimes from family members). This can be very discouraging and even depressing. That’s why it’s important, if possible, to surround yourself with a “natural support system.” One very easy way to do this is by making friends with other natural haired women by joining a natural hair group and participating in online forums. If you don’t live in an area with a natural hair group, then start one. There are natural haired women everywhere. And most of them are very eager to find other naturals to socialize and share advice with.

Patience
Going natural requires lots of patience. And many natural haired women report a “period” in their natural hair journey when they felt incredibly frustrated and even contemplated going back to relaxers because they didn’t achieve the results they wanted immediately. So if you ever get this feeling, rest assured, you’re not the only one. And it’s usually just a phase. If length is something you crave, then I recommend a long-term protective style like braids or even a weave. This will give you time to achieve hair growth. After a few weeks, remove the protective style. Then take a day to play in your hair. Have fun with your new curls, coils and kinks. The satisfaction of a new, natural, and healthy head of hair will definitely give you the encouragement you need to continue without a relaxer.

Help finding a stylist
Many natural haired women have found difficulty in finding a stylist that’s knowledgeable about natural hair care and styling. So this is also where having a “natural support group” comes in handy. You’ll be able to get referrals and recommendations on hair salons and stylists. Before going natural you will need to go stylist shopping- so start now. It may take weeks or even months to find one- so be patient.

Willingness to learn- A LOT!
Going natural requires “relearning” a lot of things you previously knew about hair. Your hair will not behave like it did when it was relaxed. And you may not be able to use the same products you did before. So start checking out books, online forums like CurlyNikki, YouTube videos, and my site! There’s tons of information out there. And a willingness to learn will make your natural hair journey a lot less complicated- and a lot more fun!

Hope this list was helpful. And before I leave you, I wanted to share that I’m having a fabulous product GIVEAWAYS in the next coming weeks. Want to know more? Well you can get the full scoop on my Facebook page.

Have a Happy Hair Day! Mauh!

What did you think of this list? What advice would you give a friend or family member if they were planning on going natural? Were you fully prepared for your natural hair journey- or did you encounter something unexpected?

If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx, you can find her on her Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a writer, media personality, and physician who advises on beauty and wellbeing.