Should I Go Natural?
You’ve seen women with luscious locks full of thick, kinky curly hair and you’re wondering if you should try it. Here are a few things to consider if you want to take that plunge. I was going to send this in an e-mail to my little mentee but figured a lot of women could use the advice.
1) I don’t want to cut all my hair off
And guess what, you don’t have to! Once you decide to go natural, you can simply stop getting relaxers, grow your hair to a desired length and then cut it off. Considering your roots will be kinky curly and your ends will be bone straight, you will want to wear styles for both textures. Braids, twisties, perm rods and flexi rods will become your best friends while you transition. The only downfall to transitioning in this manner is where your two different textures meet, the line of demarcation, your hair can become fragile and break off. Just make sure you condition your hair well. This is precisely why I did the Big Chop after 6 months. I could not deal with multiple textures.
2) I don’t want to wear an afro
Afros are not for everyone although I rocked mine hard for the first two years. You do not have to become a new age Angela Davis in order to wear your hair natural. You have to decide if you want to be a kinky curly natural chick or a straight hair diva. It is perfectly fine to opt for straight hair if that is your personal preference. Just note that too much heat is damaging to all hair types and can alter your texture. You may find that your curls will not kink up as much as they did after you straightened your hair. Some women who wear their hair straight often find they have to Big Chop again in order to wear their kinky curls. I prefer my kinky curls because I workout and refuse to straighten my hair every day. I get my hair straightened out once per year. I love it 100xs more when it’s natural and straight than when I had a relaxer because it has body and isn’t stuck to my scalp, lol.
3) My hair won’t curl like “yours”
And that’s okay! Your hair will be how it was meant to look growing naturally from your scalp. There is this huge misconception that in order to go natural you have to have the perfect ringlets with no frizz and shrinkage and honey I’m here to tell you that is so false and ridiculous. Most African women do not have that texture, it’s unrealistic. And the ones who do are probably biracial or have more Caucasian in them than they think. Even though most Africans believe they got Indian in them, lol, they probably only have Caucasian in them; we can thank slavery for that. Anyway, our kinky curly hair is not nappy, ugly or unattractive. We have been brainwashed to believe that the only pretty hair is naturally straight and has loose curls when wet. Truth be told, ours does too, our curls are just tighter like a pen coil which is why it shrinks up.
4) It won’t look right on me
Honestly, this isn’t an issue with natural hair, this is a problem with your level of self-esteem sweetie. I believe I can rock any hairstyle I want to because I’m comfortable in my own skin. You have to get to that point as well. Going natural made me even more confident in my natural beauty because I didn’t have hair framing my face and still felt pretty. It is quite a liberating experience. But I understand for others it is not so pleasant and I wouldn’t suggest those women going natural.
5) It’s just too much work
I won’t lie, it is a huge commitment and requires a lot of effort. If you don’t plan on sticking with it, then don’t even waste your time chopping off your hair, seriously. Simply put, it will not behave like your relaxed hair and you can’t expect it to. Your styles won’t look perfect and sleek. There will always be an unruly curl or area of your hair that just won’t act right and some days you will want to chop it all off, but you won’t because you love it. And yes, you will have to learn all the natural hair slang like the sealing process, moisturizers vs oil (they are not the same!), co-washing, pre-pooing, porosity levels, the best deep conditioners, wash and go’s, protective styling, etc. It is what you make it. But trust me, once your hair grows out it will be worth every ounce of effort, I promise.
6) What products should I use
Products matter, trust me. And please don’t get jealous when some women post pictures like, “No products, naturally beautiful, I woke up like this.” Well look at those pictures and think to yourself, good for you and keep it moving. Because the truth of the matter is most people’s natural hair needs products because our hair is extremely dry. Curly hair tends to be drier because it is difficult for oil to easily travel down the hair shaft. The main difference between African and European hair is its natural level of moisture; ours lack it and theirs have it. Not one is better than the other, so we have to add it. Please understand that what works for your favorite Youtube star may not work on your hair and there’s nothing wrong with it. Just means you need to experiment and find what works best for your hair type. Have fun with it! Try all kinds of things until you get it right. I’ve been in the game for over three years and I just now feel like I found the perfect regimen for each style. Kinky Curly, Shea Moisture, Cantu, Carol’s Daughter and As I Am are some of my favorite products, just to name a few.
7) My hair just won’t come out right
If you expect your hair to come out like all the hair stars on youtube, then you are in for a rude awakening. Please change your mentality and expectations. Use youtube for a guide and not how your hair should behave otherwise you will be in for a world of disappointment. Here’s what I have come to understand about natural hair, it’s just like working out. You have some people who strictly eat 1000 calories per day, burn 3500 calories in the gym daily and drink a gallon of water per day. They get the results they get because of the extra effort they put in. Then you have people like me who try to eat right, workout on a regular basis and do the best I can with my health, but I’m lowkey addicted to food and so my body doesn’t look like a body builder nor do I desire it to do so. This is the same thing with hair. You have some women who buy Avian water just for their hair and so their hair responds well to it. Be honest with yourself and where you fit in the spectrum. If you don’t take necessary precautions to prevent knots, split ends and overly dry hair, then don’t be upset that your hair doesn’t come out that way either. And some of our hair will never look like some people’s and guess what, it’s okay! We don’t all expect to look the same in a dress so why do we expect our hair to?
8) I just don’t have time to deal with my hair
You may just not be a hair person and I wouldn’t suggest you going natural. But keep in mind, just like you pay someone to do your hair now, you can do the same with your natural hair. My mother refuses to wash her own hair and goes to the shop faithfully every week. Preparation is key. My styles last me a week now. However, when it was short, I could just spritz it with water and moisturizer and head out the door, but now I can’t do that. I will style my hair over the weekend and wear it in different ways throughout the week until I’m ready to wash it again. Bobby pins, head bands and banana clips are my hair saviors. I’m also okay with my hair not looking as great on day five as it did on day one. Please don’t be that natural who thinks she can just roll out of bed and go. It’s not as cute as you think it is, I promise, haha! Natural hair does not equate to messy, just an FYI.
Overall, the decision is yours. It’s your hair and your preference. Personally, I wish all women of African descent rocked their natural hair, but we won’t. I understand that some women’s hair doesn’t grow or they have issues with their hair. Only thing I will say is please don’t decide to not go natural because you think your hair is ugly. It makes me sad. Your hair is not ugly, it’s beautiful. The world has just taught us that our hair is difficult and needs to be fixed and it doesn’t. It’s okay just the way it is. If we learned how to care for our natural hair like we did our relaxed hair, this would not be an issue. I hope to be the start of that trend with my daughters in hopes they grow up to appreciate their natural beauty. And if they decide to rock relaxers and weaves, it’s their prerogative. But they will never do it because they are not confident in their own natural beauty, it will only be a preference which is okay.
I’m no expert by any means. Feel free to comment and ask questions. I’m here to help.