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Curly Nikki

What Did You Expect?

By January 27th, 202132 Comments

NaturallyThick (not pictured) of the forums writes:

When I decided to go natural, I expected my hair to be manageable, long, silky and loose curly coils. I used to feel my roots before I needed a relaxer and thought my waves felt so good… little did I know I would not get any of that.

When I did my BC I was heart broken with how tangled, dry and short it was… not to mention snap back and slap me TIGHT coils. I was was looking for that texturized look and didn’t think my hair was beautiful.

It took me a while to realize that my hair is beautiful and sometimes I still have those days where I want that texturized look, but overall I am embracing the locks I was born with. I have learned how to take care of my hair.

So to all those new naturals it may not be what you wanted, but LOVE what you get.

to see the forum responses, click here.

Can anyone relate?

What did you expect before going natural?


  • Maya says:

    I expected to have 3b hair, like my mother, like a piece that I'd taken free from my locs ( locked for 6 years) before I b'cd. WRong! My whole head has an array of different textures from 3c/ in the back to slightly 4a in the middle… and 3c in the front! SIGH. I still have that 2 sq inch section of hair that is 3b… go figure. lol But I love it. Its ME. God made me this way…and my kids love the "real me". #allisgood

  • Karen Doniere says:

    As this is my third time going "all natural" in the past 10 years, it has been the best time too. Before going natural this last time, I expected not to know what to do with my hair, I expected that I would depend more heavily on YouTube for guidance on styles, that I would ask my fellow naturalista's for help when needed. I didn't expect my hair to be so extremely dry either. So far, I've mostly lived up to my expectations.

  • Naijaprincess says:

    @ Ogo: Just scrolled up and read your comment and agree 100%. I've had the same experience with people accusing me of getting a texturizer and I find that I'm constantly challenging and toppling stereotypes about West African hair. I'm 100% Nigerian- can trace my family tree back about 10 generations on both sides so I know what is and isn't in my family. Absolutely no "other" ancestry.

    When I get the looks of disbelief, I just challenge people to think for one second. Africa is the bedrock of civilization and life- so it stands to reason that all those genes that gave rise to various cultures in this world are still alive and kicking in the motherland so to speak. Since I grew up in Nigeria, I've seen these variations. We come in different sizes, shapes and skin tones with varying textures of hair to match and there's no hidden "European ancestry" to account for any of that.

  • Naijaprincess says:

    To be honest, I really didn't have any big expectations, when I went natural. I was just tired of relaxing my hair and needed a change. I hoped for thick and healthy hair. Got loads of compliments as a kid about how soft my hair was and that's all I expected- pillow soft hair, LOL. I was a bit disappointed when I went natural and found it difficult to retain moisture, but I've got the hang of it now.

    In terms of curl pattern- I'm a mix- coffee stirrer and pencil sized spiral curls, with waves that curl at the ends in the front and back. I love my hair ;o)

    I would say that the people that have been surprised the most about my hair are my friends and family members- I get the "how does your hair do that" and "where did all those coils/curls come from" questions almost every single time I wear my hair out…. plus the occasional "I didn't know Africans had hair like that." Mumus! You would know if you took the time to discover your natural hair and let your scalp breathe for a second!

  • Anonymous says:

    i didn't realize my curls would wrap up in themselves so much..I didn't expect so many curls either because all I remember was combed out hair as a kid (that my mom combed while my hair was DRY lawd she was intense with that comb).it's cool because i know they are just huddling together for strength and protection…i actually think it's cute just because i take it too far and sort of personalize them and imagine them as a close family.

    I also expected that I'd have uniform curls and proceeded to cut off my hair for like 6 months thinking it was new growth…yeah….i'm an idiot…

  • Anonymous says:

    I've also used to see the girl in the picture on campus! I've always wanted to tell her she was one of my inspirations to go natural.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh wow…I sooooo wanted to have hair like Nikki but ended up with 4C hair. It sucked big time until I learned how to manage and embrace it and although I still envy people like Nikki and Curly Mae, I love my bird's nest!!!! LOL

  • Libby says:

    I most definitely can relate. During my first natural journey about 13 or 14 years ago, the only natural haired people I "knew" were Cree Summer and childhood friends who were quick to comment about how much "Indian" they had in them. I assumed natural was natural; I didn't consider all the possible textures out there. One of my biggest inner struggles that led to many frustrated days was how to get my considerably tightly coiled hair to do ANY of the styles I had in my head. 10 years later, I had accepted that there were other styles better suited for my texture, but as I felt I had tried every one of them besides locing, I permed again. That was short lived and now I'm natural again and feeling even more enthusiastic about this journey thanks to a whole new inner perspective and a gaggle of styling options due to YouTube and fabulous natural hair blogs.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm old enough to remember the days before kiddie perms, when you only got your hair pressed for special occasions and the rest of the time it was natural hair all day every day. No, it wasn't loose and free, but that's because we were little black girls (not miniature women like some of the girls I see today). We wore braids, puffs, etc. I'm guessing many of the commenters above literally NEVER experienced this because they must have been permed before their memories kicked in. This makes me sad, to be honest.

    Also, when I went natural there weren't all these blogs and videos of looser-textured naturals to pore over and deceive me into thinking I was going to have their hair texture when I went natural.

    So the ONLY thing I was 100% sure of when I went natural was that I was going to be NAPPY. Nobody was going to tell me "Oh, you got that good grade of hair so it's okay for you to go natural." I figure if I'd had it I would have known about it! And I was right…and all these years later I ain't NEVER been accused of having "good" hair, lol.

    What I did not expect was that there would be several different kinds of nappy on my head: some of it coily and super-shrinky and a challenge to detangle, some of it cottony and looser and a challenge to define. And I too have that soft patch at the nape that always broke off first when I had a perm. But all in all it's still nappy…and I'm still happy…going natural is still the best thing I've ever done for my hair's health.

  • adelh says:

    i hadn't a clue as to what grade of hair i had – it had been straightened for years, then relaxed for years. What i did know was that my hair was falling out and everything had to stop. Now, i think my hair falls in the 3c/4a range, with the 4a hair at the top of my head, 'cause it frizzes so fast there. I have baby hair, still, and the rest of my hair does the small spiral thing – would i have preferred a better grade? You bet, but i have hair that is strong and resilent, and i wouldn't change it for anything.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm like others who expected far less curl definition than what I actually have. I knew my hair would be very thick; it always has been. Heck, I got my first perm at around 5 y/o because of the unruly thickness of my mane (ok, that and the fits I used to throw when the pressing comb neared my scalp). But even with all the relaxers, my hair still never quite got straight, and I got teased ALL the time about my coarse, thick "slave mop," as it was called in HS.

    So imagine my surprise back in 2000 when I did my BC and discovered I DO have a curl pattern – in fact, three different ones! All those relaxers were hiding them/frazzling them to death. It's mostly 4a, a little bit kinkier/4b/4c in the crown, and then there's a section that's actually wavy at the very back-middle…right in the "kitchen" where I was told my hair was "worst" 🙂 Color me shocked and amazed!

  • Fal says:

    Im 3months post BC and I must say my hair is a lot more curly then I had thought it would be, overall im 3C with 4A in the back and 3B on top. If I dont co wash daily it does look a little afroey, just trying to retain more length! and please can you all check out my natural youtube channel, My YouTube is faleezee. I need natural curly friends lol. Also I love the hair of the girl pictured, does she have a blog/youtube?

  • Anonymous says:

    I didn't expect natural hair to be this time consuming!

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anon 2:54 Ive met her before around campus. It is so funny to see this.

  • Natasha says:

    I expected my hair to have no curl pattern, and be thick because that's what my mother told me about my hair when I was little. Now my hair is supa thick, but it has a 4a curl pattern. The edges all around my head frizz up the quickest but as long as I clump those sections well, it's all smiles over here!

  • Jada07 says:

    Several of my closest friends are all natural and we swap hair stories and prods on a regular. One day, while discussing hair with a transitioning mutual friend, one of my girls, in describing how products work for us said "my hair has more of a curl, Ashley has more of a wave, and Sharron (that's me) has more of a kink…" Now, I have lived with my natural hair for 2 years so I know that I am dealing with 4a/4b hairs but hearing someone else describe my hair that way really upset me. I know it is irrational but that's how I felt. I had to do a self-check real quick… So, yes, I do struggle with what I have sometimes but it is what it is. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm friends with the girl pictured!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I was natural about 9 years ago for 15 months and now my texture is much different. I didn't expect 2 different kinds (4b in back and sides, 3c on top and front). This drives me crazy, but I am learning to adjust. I have always had very thick, course hair but in my mind I envisioned soft, curly/wavy, flowing hair.

  • Jeannette says:

    I was 11 when I got my first relaxer and up until then, my mother pressed my hair. I always knew what I was getting into before I became natural and that I have tightly coiled, 4B/C hair. Although personally, I loved it's thickness, I knew that there were no waves or curls. I accept this is what I got from my creator. I wanted nothing to do with a relaxer and decided that I have to work with my own hair. I've learned that my hair loves being braided or in mini-twists. Wash-n-go's don't go with my hair. I've learned that I have LOTS of hair on my head LOL. It doesn't grow down, it grows out. When my hair is flat ironed, it looks luscious so luscious it is mistaken as a weave. So no, I wasn't surprised with what I got, but I was surprised with all that I can do :).

  • Ogo says:

    I didn't know what to expect. As a Nigerian, I heard the term 'Nigerian hair' to describe tightly coiled hair so much I thought my hair would be tightly coiled or with no definite curl pattern. I didn't really care either way because I was going to do it anyway. I just used my assumption when I was looking at product recommendation guides.

    I have to say, I don't think I have come to terms with the big curls, coils, and waves that I have on my head. I am having to challenge my and other people's stereotypes of what constitutes West African hair and people do not let go of their stereotypes easily. I have had people accuse me of getting a texturizer or insisting I must be mixed with dark Indian (I am sure I would know!). If I think about it logically, it should not be a surprise. My dad, brother, and nephew (all the women have relaxed hair!) have curly hair, but they keep their hair really short so I just never considered their hair texture when thinking about mine, especially how that texture changes as it grows. If pushed I will describe my curl pattern as 4a. I have found it makes everyone comfortable.

    [Sorry for the long comment!].

  • KC says:

    I didn't expect the back to grow SO much faster than the top! I've got a serious afromullet going on LOL! Like CurlyTonya, I want more length (especially up top). But other than that, my hair is just like I remember it was the last time I went natural. I'm happy.

  • Anonymous says:

    I didnt expect for my hair to have a patch of practically straight hair that doesn't like to curl. Also didn't expect so much shrinkage. But I love my hair anyway. U couldn't pay me to change it or go back to doing relaxers. I won't even flat iron my hair because I love my curls.

  • CurlyTonya says:

    I was hoping for type 3c hair (like my auntie) but got what I expected. I'm pleasantly surprised that I actually have curls….kinky curly tighter 4a curls.

    I accept and love my kinky curly hair….I just want more length to smooth down my afro!!! I didn't expect to have a curly afro at 13 months BC…everything I do to my hair turns into afro. I feel and look afrocentric…which isn't necessarily a bad thing…except my hair is getting bigger and I noticed people checking out my fro more.

    Naptural85 has given me hope that I will have other options…someday. I would like to have a more tamed (relaxed look) for my thick hair…like a Twist in curl…or just twist out in the shape of a Bob-cut.

  • Anonymous says:

    I knew from my experience as a natural child that my hair was going to be thick, tightly coiled, and almost impossible to wash and go. It was wash and go when I did the chop, but after that, no more wash and go's. That's why it's braided right now. Just like it was when it was relaxed.

  • MJ says:

    I expected to have the same curl pattern all over my head. That was the first major shock I had. I have 4b curls in the back of my head and in the middle. The crown curls are extremely loose, almost 3b type curls while the front and the sides are 4a curls. Then to top it off, the left side of my hair has more problem curling than the right side! LOL

    In the end you just learn to adapt and embrace the hair you have. 🙂

  • bludini says:

    I expected my hair to be thick, full of volume. I thought I would be able to wear a wash n go and sport a big afro, not there yet.

  • Anonymous says:

    When I first started my transition I looked at alot of different styles and how my hair could possible look. I knew from when I'd go get touch up's how the natural part that had grown out had different textures all curly but different tresses.So I knew when growing out the relaxer I would have different textured curls in different areas of my head. As far as length protective styles help and what products you are using. Experiment a lot. Sometimes the results take time to show. But know it takes time. Between one of my last touch ups i waited 5 months before i decided to get it relaxed again and my hair had grown atleast 2 inches. Stretched out of course. I am mix of 3c/4a. I knew since then i would eventually go natural. Wish you the best girl.

  • Sonya says:

    Actually, I expected my hair to be a lot more "spap back and slap me." LOL! But like everyone else has said, I have about 3 to 4 different textures on my head. I do have the "snap back and slap me's" (I love that phrase) on the "hook" of my head. I call this "the Congo." But right below that, I have loose 4a curls. As the writer said, I'm learning that my hair is beautiful all over my head. I have accepted that my hair grows out and not down.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm with Kristen & Socalitedreams. My new growth was so springy, soft and coily when wet, I thought I would be able to live a life of wash and gos and cute curls after I cut off the straight ends – WRONGGG. I eventually learned that my 4b/c/z hair is unlike the youtubers' hair; but my determination to stay natural drove me to research, experiment and learn; and now I'm a happy camper with my twist and braidouts styles.

  • socialitedreams says:

    same answer as @kristen really! I expected it all to be the same 4a spirals that I felt in the back of my head that made me want to go natural anyway…instead I have loose wavy 3 hair in the front that barely holds a style (twistout), fab coils in the back that boing and look great, some fluff on the side lol…just a whole mass of diff things.

    I'm fine with it though, may as well be! haha

    Vonnie of

  • Chantel says:

    I had absolutely not expectations lol I just knew that my hair would be thick. I did think that my hair would be longer after 6 months of going without a relaxer by the time I bc'd but I didn't take into account how much my hair could shrink either. That didn't matter though because I was very pleased with my decision and I can honestly say I enjoyed my hair at each stage.

  • Anonymous says:

    I expected my hair to have the same curl pattern all over my head, I was dead wrong! my hair type is 4a/4b and 3c right at the crown and it really annoyed me at first, now I just embrace it with twist outs and protective styling.

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