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5 Things You Need to Know Before Going Natural

By January 27th, 202112 Comments

5 Things You Need to Know Before Going Natural

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.

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.

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.


  • hunnybun says:

    great list especially about patience and realistic expectations. too many women believe that if they do a million and one things to their hair they will grow it from TWA to but length in record time or their hair will go from a 4 to 3.

  • Shanno~Shanell says:

    I have finally made the decision that either this month or next, I'm chopping it off. I've been my own kitchen-beautician for years because I was so anti-shop. I thought I was doing a good job because my hair was so pretty when I did it, but at the end I was doing more damage than anything else. My hair has fallen out so bad on the sides that now, that I don't have any other choice but cut it. In a way I feel like I brought this on myself, & another way I feel like it's time to go through rehab from the "creamy crack". I am not my hair, but I shouldn't be judged & ridiculed because I want to show the world the "real" me.. I'm taking this journey head on (literally), so I need some advice. I haven't been natural since I was 7 years old….. I'M 27!

  • Mrs. EMJ says:

    Thank you all for this information; good list. I am in the stage now where I am seriously considering going natural. I am pregnant and my doctor wants me to lay off the chemicals until after pregnancy. My hubby is all for it but my girlfriends are SO against it. I get either "going natural isn't as easy as you think" (I don't think it is) or "you'll look like a boy" (since I rock short-ish hair now, I KNOW I'll look even MORE fly, so there!). More surprisingly, my girls that are natural or have locs aren't supportive, either? What is this negativity? I will end up doing what is best for ME regardless, but what's up with some sista friends???

  • YazBat says:

    I want to go natural, but i want to transition. Would zillions be a good style?

  • Leo the Yardie Chick says:

    @ anon 4:50 PM – BSL (Bra Strap Length), TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro), 3B Hair (hair that's more on the curly side (think the Mowry twins in the early seasons of Sister Sister), 4B Hair (Hair that's more on the kinky side – think Vanessa L. Williams, Janelle Monae).

    Hope that helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    What do all these acronyms stand for? What is BSL, TWA and what is 3b hair and 4b? Are those packs of hair or something? I'm lost…(obviously) lol

  • Anonymous says:

    So many errors in my comment at 2:17 PM. Sorry, was trying to type on the sly during a conference call 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Anonymous at 2:17. "Going natural" does not have to be so deep. My story is similar to hers too. I also went natural because I had relocated to another country where there was hardly any black population so finding a competent stylist who was located nearby was not a possibility. I went natural after my shot of being a DIYer resulted in me badly damaging my hair so I simply big chopped it all off and started with a clean slate. It is almost 5 years later and I am still natural thanks to the online community which I found in my 2nd year as a natural. My point is, I went natural out of necessity and stayed natural partly out of necessity too even though I have always loved my natural hair. For persons like myself, it is not so deep so if someone out there is reading just know that you can go natural without knowing all these stuff however, if you wish to grow long healthy hair, you would probably be better off seeking out the various online resources available out there.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think people make this 'going natural' why more deep than it needs to be. I went natural because I moved to a new city and struggled to find a stylist I liked. The semi-decent one I found, I really disliked her personality. I kept on rescheduling my appointment because I didn't want to go in. One day I just canceled the appointment and decided I was going to see and live with my natural texture. I transitioned in ponytails and headbands. I didn't read blogs or watch youtube until a few weeks before I big chopped so I could buy all the right tools and starter hair products.

    I have always played with my hair to change my look so I have no great attachment to it. I was not nervous for my big chop and loved the hair after wards.

    We make it so much more than it is. It is just hair.

  • Jo says:

    Helpful tips. I tried transtioning once before but i didn't know enough to go through with it.I am now 17 months post. What influenced me to transtion was my hairs health it was breaking and thinning out and even my stylist confirmed it so i embarked on a healthy hair journey and came across Kimmay Tube who really helped me to style my hair without heat. Of course Curly Nikki amongs other sites and forums had a great impact on me also. So i guess the key is to expose yourself to naturals before you jump in so you can get inspired and ideas on how to deal with your hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with the list…I would add that going natural requires you to love your hair at every length…I read or heard this (probably on youtube) when I had a TWA. But, I did not love my hair when it was a TWA. I just wanted it to grow and grow some more!!!

    Now that my hair has grown past shoulder length, it is a lot of work and as I try different styles, I'm learning to love this length and am loving protective styles such as flexi-rod sets…my fav for now!!

  • Dani @ says:

    Great list…except help finding a stylist. I'd offer the suggestion to learn to be your own stylist. Depend on YOU, because no one will love honor and protect your hair better than you.

    My 1st go as a natural where I chopped my BSL hair up to a 3 inch fro I totally encountered something unexpected. However, my 2nd (and last) transition was 2 years long and very comfortable once I cut away the texlaxed ends.


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