The guide to beginning your natural hair journey
Decoding the curl: Natural Hair
A fellow curly girl and former “creamy crack” addict, my understanding of the coveted spiral is deeply rooted— pun intended. Advancing from transitioning hair, to the big chop, and now almost 4 years natural, these are the tips and tricks I have compiled that may help you with your decision to begin the journey.
Deciding to return to natural
Whether the reason you choose to RETURN natural is health related, spiritual, or simply vanity; welcome to the club! It is a long journey but oh so worth it. However, before jumping the gun (or picking up the scissors), consider a few factors I wish I would have thought about beforehand a bit more in depth.
1: Transitioning goals
At the time of my big chop, I was “transitioning” for all of about 6 months; unintentionally. My intention was never to actually cut my hair off which is why I use the word transition loosely. The goal was to simply grow my hair without using a relaxer. One day, in early October 2013, that all changed when I picked up the sheers and chopped off ALL but 3 inches of my almost bra strap length hair (with little research or preparation). Thankfully, I purchased a high quality lace front wig that was colored, cut, and styled to resemble the tresses that once were attached. Most did not realize the change.. but underneath the wig, the journey had begun.
My advice: devise a plan and stick to it! Whether you want to transition for 6 months or 3 years, decide early on what your length goal is and begin to prepare.
2: Style options
As stated above, it’s important to set a length goal before big chopping. The importance of this is to research potential style options for your new look. Take into consideration your hair type, manageability, and texture without damaged ends. As someone who chose to “big chop” very early, my style options were limited leading me to choose a wig as a protective style. Braids, Bantu-knots, two strand twists and more are great options for most lengths and textures.
My advice: YouTube is your friend! There are many natural hair focused channels where one may view demonstrations of specific styles performed by someone with a similar texture and length. Choose styles you like and work towards a length where such comfortable styles can be achieved with your natural hair.
3: Product research
You have probably realized that products used on natural hair are in a league of their own (and sometimes pricey). Once you decide on the styles you may want, it is important to seek products that work best with your hair type (unless you want to end up with a drawer full of wasted money… I mean products). It may seem mundane to research every product before purchasing, but quality reigns over quantity in this case. Finding reviews from those in a similar situation as you will help weed out products that are all hype and hopefully you will find a few diamonds in the rough.
Advice: Just because it works for everyone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Trial and error is a major part of the natural hair journey. Over time you will learn more about the needs and wants of your hair and tailor a regimen that fits. Hang in there!
All in all, whatever journey you choose to begin is a personal one and should be enjoyed.
Progress is a process!