Going natural has been one of the most difficult and rewarding decisions I’ve ever made as a young black woman.
I started transitioning six years ago and have been fully natural for a little over two years, and in this time my hair and I have experienced countless fights and failures, alongside some well-deserved wins.
These are a handful of the things I wish some veteran naturalista would’ve shared with me before I embarked on my kinky hair journey.
Transitioning isn’t as easy as it sounds
When you decide to go natural, there are typically one of two main routes from which to choose: the big chop or the transition.
I went with the transitioning route, because I wasn’t brave enough to chop off all my hair and start over. Transitioning involves simultaneously managing two very different hair textures – your chemically straightened or heat damaged ends versus your kinky or curly new growth – which is a true test of your patience. My hair was prone to tangling and I had to dedicate a lot of time to work with it regularly, especially on wash days.
Your hair likely won’t turn out like that YouTube star’s
YouTube tutorials are a godsend for those of us on #TeamNatural, but they can set you up for some unrealistic expectations. I’ve found myself in situations where I followed a tutorial to a T, even going as far as using the same products featured in the video, and I still wasn’t able to achieve the same results as the naturalista showing off her flawlessly defined tresses in slow-mo on my laptop screen.
I had to learn that my hair type, which is somewhere between 4b and 4c, doesn’t respond to certain products and manipulation as some of the other, more loosely textured hair types.
Chill out with the product purchases
My fellow product junkies know exactly where I’m going with this. Just because someone suggests a conditioner or a curl cream doesn’t mean it’s worth you taking another trip to the beauty supply store. Going on a product binge will land you in a situation where you have more products than you’ll ever be able to use. If you have any remaining space under your bathroom sink, try to keep it that way. Your cabinet will appreciate it.
What do you wish someone would have told you before you went natural?