With the world wide web inundated with natural hair blogs, video tutorials and ehow instructions on how to achieve a perfect style, going natural can be a tad bit overwhelming to say the least. What seems to be a movement for some and a revolution for others, going natural can be the one of the hardest things a woman can do. For most of us, the aforementioned may be the norm, since we’ve been in ‘this game’ for a minute. For others new to the journey, there still may be unanswered questions even with the plethora of information. Here are some things to consider when ‘going natural’:
4: Patience is a virtue! Especially when taking the plunge to go natural. Oh how I wish there was a magic pill formulated for faster hair growth. Whether you’re transitioning or you’ve just big chopped, patience will be your best friend.
3: Your hair is yours. Embrace it! When going natural one must accept their strands for what they are. Just because Keisha can rock a fierce flat twist out, doesn’t mean you can’t either. Just accept that it may not look the same. There’s beauty in that.
2: Tell yourself you’re beautiful – everyday. I’m not going to lie, sugar coat or make it sound sweet. There will be times where you’ll ask yourself “what in the world am I doing?!”As much as we say “it’s just hair”, in all honesty it’s much more than that. How did you feel when a bad hair day reared its ugly head? Anticipate the days where you may want to hide under the covers or forego human contact for a day. These are the days where you look yourself in the mirror, cue Pharrell and sing “you’re beautiful! I just want you to know, you’re my favorite girl”.
1: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again! The first time you go natural may not be your last. Don’t beat yourself up if you change your mind and revisit the journey later in life. The important thing is that you’ll get there. Once you’re here – You. Have. Arrived!
Hi Ladies, thank you so much for all your great suggestions, comments and tips. I have just started my journey. I BC'd last week and yes I'm very anxious to see where I will be in 6 mos and again in a year. I heard you ladies, patience patience patience. I'm working on that.
I have to say I am enjoying the journey so far I love the little coils I see and the way my hair feels. It is hard to say out of the mirror and out of my head (I'm trying and doing a better job of that the last two days…LOL). I plan on a protective style and scarves for a few weeks since the weather has took a change for the worse.
There is an ungodly amount of information out there and yes overwhelming is an under statement. However, this site is GOD sent and very informative and user friendly. Thank You Nikki and natual ladies of distinction ; ).
where do you found your products. I live in syracuse and its hard to just walk in the store to buy what i want
I am 4 months into my natural journey and I am wondering why I waited so long. I stressed the first couple of months and had some really bad hair days, but the support of my friends that are natural kept me sane. I am still learning my hair and truly love watching how healthy and strong it is becoming. I'm still trying to figure out my hair type, but in due time it will all come together. I have been educating myself on this site and watching youtube videos and talking to friends…it's been frustrating at times, so I agree that patience is sooooo necessary! Good Luck, enjoy and embrace every moment!
I went natural in April '11 for the first time after a few months of consideration. This site and some others have been very beneficial to me in my journey. As much as I wish my coils were looser, I have come to appreciate my manes (4c)and I can tell that my taking care of it and following suggestions I have learned so far has yielded results that I didn't my hair is capable of. Hubby who was not excited when I started is now a natural hair advocate and loves my hair too. These tips I can relate to so very much.
Hello, I have been natural for almost three years and I can honestly say that it does take PATIENCE! I don't know how many times I wanted to go back to straightening my hair, but finally my hair is looking the way I want it even though I have a 4b or 4c hair type.
I'm very much like Kimberly, my hair broke off after many years of relaxing. It BC'd itself LOL! I've been natural for 11 months and I'm doing a ton of research from the blogs, I have a niece who's a hairdresser, and just trial and error about what my hair will do and not do. Here are a few things I learned in 11 months:
Don't stress the your hair,sometimes you just got to let your hair be. So I learned to just love my natural curl and let my freak flag fly.
Learn what products work in your hair. I'm still working on that but with what I've done so far, my hair went from less tha an inch to about 4 inches.
Be patient and protect your ends.
No-poo is your friend. Daily or weekly washing isn't, but conditioner very much is my friend.
Here's some words I never thought I'd say "I love castor oil!!!" It keeps my ends sealed and my hair maintains moisture better than it ever did before. My hair was seriously dry.
I have the best head of hair I've ever had since I was 13 years old. (The year I first started usung the creamy crack).
I totally agree with #1 because it happened to me. I had transitioned for 2yrs and one day I just couldn't handle the two different textures any more. So I got a relaxer. My hair started breaking off and that did it for me. That was 4yrs ago. My advise is to embrace your texture. 2) Search the web and others for inspiration. 3) Research!
To keep it short…..RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!! I have found conflicting information at times, so who was right, who was wrong? I suggest 2 books, THE SCIENCE OF BLACK HAIR, & THANK GOD I'M NATURAL. I've been natrual for 3 years now and if I had the information today 3 years ago my battle would have been 1/2 way won! LOL!! My personal method was I didn't follow anybody on YouTube (sorry) I realized earl on that my hair was my hair and it acts funky at times! If YOU can't handle your hair, meaning as far as styling it..seek out a NATURAL HAIR SALON!!! Not Fanqueesha, that's been perming your hair since the 80's! THAT IS KEY!! Now I admit I am a recovering product junkie, and I am purging slowly but surely by handing products off to my newly natural friends and fam. I suggset that you buy samples where available (2oz bottles, not those packets) and if said product doesn't come in a sample, you can do what I did 1. catch a natural hair show where the prices will be cheaper or 2. catch a black friday special where the products are 20%-30% off. Don't be intimidated by "mixologists"…people that mix up their own stuff using abbreviations like EVOO, JBCO MJ, BSL, etc. BE ENCOURAGED, NOT DISCOURAGED & HAVE FUN!!!! #anticreamycrack
Think about ways you can style your hair during the awkward length stages. Braids, weaves, wigs whatever. I found that braiding was a good distraction for me, while allowing my hair to rest and grow undisturbed.
Last summer, after dealing with one too many humid days, I decided to cut off all my relaxed hair (I wore it short anyway) and wore my hair natural and very close to my head with the intent to get another relaxer when fall came. Something interesting and wonderful happened along the way, however. I found out that at age 50 I actually enjoy my natural hair and I intend to keep it natural and letting it grow long.
The one thing no one ever told me was how it's hard to keep one's hands out of one's hair because the texture and softness of it is so awesome. I seriously can't stop playing in my hair ! Now I'm on the great product hunt, looking for recipes and new products to try.
I thank all of my sisters out there who pass along great tips and encouragement for us newly recruited to the natural movement.
Melissa (Upstate NY)
1. It is a journey. Do this for you, and nobody else.
2. Treat your hair well. Wash it. Condition it. Moisturize it.
I started my natural hair journey in October 2009.
I agree with all the tips here. I've been natural since the late 80s and am still loving everything about it. Things I've learned along the way:
You can't listen to anyone (friends, family, hair stylists …) about whether or not you "should" or "can" go natural. You have to listen to yourself.
Be prepared for about 500x your usual number of requests to touch your hair. Seriously. Just be prepared.
Give yourself extra time to get ready to go out and for your at home hair routine. Not because your hair will take longer to do but because — if you're anything like me — you will get lost in the mirror playing with your hair, reveling in how great it feels, how great it looks. How many mornings have I nearly missed my bus because I got caught up playing with my hair!
It helps to have a hair buddy. That sounds ridiculous, I know, but it's definitely a help to me. I have one natural girlfriend who is reading the blogs and watching the videos and trying different products and mixes … and she's the one person I know I can talk with any time as long as I need to about hair and she won't think I'm crazy. Our kindergarten teachers knew what they were about with that whole buddy system thing!
Just. have. fun.
It's easy to get caught up in the natural lifestyle and become one of those dreaded napp nazis. Just keep some prospective and remember that everyone has their own reasons for their hair choices. You can educate a person, but you should never push your preferences on them.
Some advice I would give is to not let others discourage you from going or staying natural. It's your journey. ALso, I would have to say to not compare your hair to other naturals. (like jessica said above) This is probably the most critical (I think) because everyone's hair is different and it's up to you to find what works for you! Have fun with it!
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Never compare your hair to another natural. Don't expect to achieve a perfect style every time. Patience is so important, remember you may not love your hair at first, but in time you will. And you will be grateful you stuck it out.
Been natural for 16 years as of Thanksgiving 2011. I'm still calling myself 4b even though the definition seems to have shifted over the years: I do have a definable coil pattern but the coils are tight and small (think large coffee-stirrer). I'll throw 5 tips into the pot:
– Let go of anything that even remotely sounds or smells like "good hair/bad hair" thinking. ALL hair is good, no matter what texture it is, so long as it's healthy. And for many "healthy" does not necessarily equal "shine", "hang", or "swang".
– Related to the above: The sooner you learn to accept and work with your unique hair texture, the happier you will be and the easier your hair care will be.
– Also related to the above: Hair typing, used OBJECTIVELY instead of SUBJECTIVELY (see first point), is not a bad thing. That said, it's also a means to an end, not the end itself. While it helps to find people with your own hair type to see how they do what they do, it can also help to learn from people with different hair types so long as you're not expecting your hair type to magically turn into theirs.
– Despite what I said about hair texture (singular), most people with non-straight hair have multiple textures. Accept it and learn to work with/around it.
– If you are trying to learn about your hair, experimentation is unavoidable. You don't have to try everything at once, but be open to trying things you never thought you'd try (e.g. "white people" products, "Indian people" products, oils found in the grocery store, etc.). Of course, if your old standbys give you the results you want, that's fine too. There is no one way to care for/wear natural hair.
I agree…patience and acceptance are critical. With proper care, your hair will grow but it takes time. Shrinkage happens to everybody…don't fight it; learn to work with it. Nobody's hair texture is identical, so skip the envy and focus on finding products and styles that work for you. Yes, there will be challenging days, but don't stress. Most naturals have had a "bad hair" day where everybody and his mama, including strangers stop to tell you how great your hair looks…LOL! Attitude is everything.
#3 is so very Important to embrace! Your hair will do what YOUR. Hair will do, know that, live that and you will be fine!
I have learned that my hair doesn't have to be perfect. I grew up with the desire to maintain "shop hair" at all times, but now I covet natural hair that doesn't look perfect. I find it suits me better, not to say that the later is bad, but it just limited me. I don't miss countless hours in a shop waiting for the beautician to burn out my hair so that I could avoid any changing weather, sleep pretty, wake up tired, and bathe in lukewarm water. Even if it doesn't turn out "perfect", I now proudly ROCK my natural hair to holidays!