You are at a crossroad and you have to make a decision whether to go natural or not. Natural meaning you are saying goodbye to relaxers and texturizers. Cool! Going natural means you want to embrace your natural curl pattern whether kinky or curly.
While this is the “new trend” , it seems that what is left out often times is what you need to know before going natural.
There are a lot of things you need to know before making that big chop or transitioning.
We have complied a list of 11 things you should know before going natural. This complilation was done based on research and personal experiences.
So lets dig in already.
TOP 11 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING NATURAL
1. Ask yourself why you want to go natural.
This is very important as it determines how long you last as a natural. If you are doing it for yourself because you really want to be natural, then do it.
However, if you are doing it because you feel pressured to do it, then don’t. The people who do it out of pressure always end up going back to relaxers.
I went natural because I was tired of having a burnt scalp all the time. I wanted freedom from scalp injuries caused by relaxers. I think natural hair is a lot healthier than relaxed hair. Don’t get me wrong. This is my own perception, another person can see things differently.
At the end of the day, its up to you. Do what works for you.
2. Decide how you want to go natural.
So now you know why you want to go natural, its time to decide if you would do the big chop or transition.
Big chop means the process of cutting off all the relaxed, permed or just the damaged ends of your hair leaving only natural growth.
Transitioning means the process of allowing your natural hair texture to grow while the relaxed or chemically treated hair is trimmed in stages.
3. Know thy hair.
This is very important. You need to know and understand your hair type, hair porosity and hair density. You would need to do a lot of research and maybe trial and error.
It may be difficult to figure all these out early especially if you are transitioning.
Knowing your hair is the key to helping you figure out why your hair is acting the way it does, what products you should use, what styles you should wear often etc.
It would save you a lot of stress. So do some research (yea, you really need to research). Hardly anybody goes natural knowing exactly what to do. So feel free to check online (stick to this blog, we’ve got you), watch tons of videos on youtube and so on.
4. Have a hair goal
When I started, I aimed for healthy hair, length and volume. Ty Bello is my role model when it comes to natural hair. Her hair made me believe that natural hair can be beautiful, full and long. This made me do all necessary things to make my hair healthy. From keeping it moisturized to doing a lot of protective styles and many more.
Contrary to popular opinion, I think having a hair goal helps keep you in check. Just like how you set goals for other areas of your life and work to achieve them, so it is with setting a hair goal.
You may not meet the goal at the stipulated time, its okay. Don’t just give up on your hair. Love your hair the way it is.
My goal of healthy, long and full hair was to be met in four years. Lol! That was a realistic goal but at some point life happened and I was like “abeg anything wey wan happen make e happen. I cannot come and kill myself”. Abi naa.
However, setting the goal made me focused on what I wanted to achieve. I kept all the natural hair commandments and trust me when I say I saw improvements.
5. Have a hair care routine.
A simple hair regimen would see you through. A good hair care routine should include daily, weekly and monthly hair routine.
It doesn’t have to be so ambigious. May I also say, it doesn’t have to be exactly what your favourite hair vlogger does. You also need to consider your other activities.
If you are someone with a 9 to 5 job or have a busy schedule, you may not have the time to for daily routine. A weekly routine would be okay for you.
6. Have a hair budget
I went natural in my second year in the university (that’s three years ago). As a student, you just have to work with budgets for everything. So I learnt to budget for hair too. You don’t want to spend all your money on hair products and starve the remaining semester.
Going natural can make you break the bank if you don’t work with a budget. There is always this urge to have this product or that product. Different people would recommend different things for you. So girl, you need that hair budget.
Here is what I did as a student;
- I first chose the perfect hair care routine based on my schedule.
I then determined how many products I would need in other of perference (I also considered quantity).
- I costed them. I definitely looked for the cheaper options too.
- I then set aside money for them.
Sometimes I don’t always have money to get the products so I settle for DIY recipes. Trust me when I say DIYs have saved the day. I am a strong believer of money or no money my hair must thrive.
7. Learn about natural hair products.
Not every product written natural is actually natural.
You need to learn what makes a natural product natural. You need to learn about product ingredients. You need to learn to consciously read product labels.
Above all, you need to know what products would work for you. You may not know this at the early stages. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can also source locally for products. We have good product brands in Nigeria and Africa generally.
However, there is a tendency of being a product junkie when going natural. Its okay.
It becomes a problem when you don’t stop it after a while (about a year or two years) after going natural.
8. Learn about protective styles
You need to learn about this because its not every time you would want to carry an afro. You need to protect those ends. You need to switch up your looks once in a while.
Protective styling is a hairstyle that helps protect your hair from damage and too much manipulation.
You could learn to do them yourself or get a good hair stylist (please a hairstylist that understands natural hair).
I just started learning to do protective styles myself recently. When I went natural, all I did was braid, crotchet and braid. I never enjoyed the days of TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) or finger coils.
Don’t be like me oh. Rock yout TWA if you want to. Do finger coils if you want to. Just don’t over manipulate your hair. Enjoy the days of little beginnings.
If you are transitioning, you need to learn about protective styling for transitioners.
9. Learn about natural hair problems
Yes oh! This is very important. Different hair types come with their own problems. Understanding this problems before going natural would help you embrace your hair the way it is.
Some hair types can be drier than others. Some tend to frizz more than others. Some can get really defined twist outs that last others may not.
These are some examples of these natural hair problems every naturalista encounter.
10. Get the natural hair starter kit
This contains the basic tools every natural must have.
This includes: Spray bottle, satin bonnet, wide toothed comb, Afro comb, bobby pins, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, oils and gel.
11. Learn about combing and trimming
I had to put this separately because it is very important. A lot of people complain about the fact that combing natural hair is painful and exhausting. But the real problem is they do not know how to comb it properly.
Never comb your hair dry. Make sure it is damp. This helps reduce any pain whatsoever.
Never comb from roots to ends. Always start from the ends and work your way to the roots.
Whenever you go to the salon, please comb your hair yourself using this method. Not all hair stylists know this.
You also need to trim your ends regularly every 6-8 weeks. You need to remove those dead ends and split ends. This plays a key role in your hair growth.
Maintaining natural hair is not easy. You need to dedicate a lot of time and energy into achieving a healthy hair. Besides, nothing good comes easy.
So before you take the leap of faith in going natural make sure you know these 11 things;
- Ask yourself “why is going natural important to me?”
- Decide how you want to go natural.
- Know your hair type, porosity, texture, density and growth pattern.
- Have a hair routine that works for you.
- Have a hair budget to avoid breaking the bank.
- Have a hair goal to keep you focused.
- Learn about natural hair products.
- Learn about protective styles.
- Learn about natural hair problems.
- Get a natural hair starter kit.
- Learn about combing and trimming.
However, learn to love your hair the way it is and not compare with others.
Everybody’s hair cannot turn out to be the same. Your hair is unique.
There would be minor setbacks and moments of confusion. There would be days you wont fell like doing the whole natural thingy again. Trust me, It would be all worth it in the end.
Also, block all negativity concerning your hair. There would be people that would slick rude comments, don’t let it bother you. They are just ignorant. Your hair is beautiful as it is. Nobody’s opinion should make you feel otherwise.
Enjoy your hair. Switch up your look once in a while.