Natural hair care is probably one of the most tiring and fulfilling things you’ll ever do in your life. There is always a satisfying feel to seeing change and growth in anything you put effort to. Be it losing weight, starting a business, or even moving away from bad addictions. So you’ve decided to return natural and have no idea how to start or maybe you do but still do not have the courage to. Going natural is totally a personal decision and let no one (including me) shove it down your throat. But once you are ready to swallow…
Decide if it’s a big chop or transition
There’s actually no formula for going natural. If you are bold enough to rock short hair, you could chop off all your relaxed ends and start on a clean slate. This is actually the simplest option because it’s so easy to care for short hair. The other alternative for the faint at heart is transitioning. You will stop applying relaxer and after a sufficient amount of growth that you feel comfortable with, your relaxed ends will be begging to be chopped off and you will happily let them go because dealing with two textures would have driven you nuts.
Do a thorough research
Now before you stop putting relaxer on your head, you need to be well informed on what you are getting into. The internet should be your bestfriend. There is so much out there on how to care for natural hair. Read blogs, watch YouTube videos and essentially be armed with information that is going to suit you. Start with the basics as you move on instead of trying each and everything you see/read on the internet. Remember knowledge is power.
Get a curlfriend
You need someone to hold your hand in this journey. Someone who has been in the game for years and understands the struggles. Along the way, you’ll encounter setbacks and even feel like quitting. Get someone who can challenge you and encourage you to maintain your hair. Hey there Georgina!
Use the ‘right’ products
You will probably have to dig deep into your pockets if you want to maintain healthy hair. Natural hair products are quite pricey and you probably have to turn a blind eye when purchasing. Don’t turn into a product junkie, I always insist on starting with the basics. Get a good co-wash, sulphate-free shampoo, deep conditioner, essential oil, butter/styling cream. As you feel more confident and generous with your wallet, start investing in protein treatments, leave in conditioner, apple cider vinegar, henna, bentonite clay, aloevera juice, and all good things that make the natural hair world go round.
Your wash days will never be the same
My Sundays are sacred because of two reasons: A day to spend time in the house of the Lord and secondly washing my hair. Wash days take time and require a lot of patience. I noticed weekly co-washing and deep conditioning ensures my hair is moisturized 24/7. Some people can go up to two weeks, it’s all a matter of understanding your hair’s needs. Those who go a month without washing, I honestly cannot speak for you.
Practice protective styling
Twists, braids, weaves, wigs, crotchet braids etc might just save your hair as you are growing it out. Hair tires. Constantly touching and combing is one of the main reasons we have hair breakage. PS is meant to protect your ends. Look for the style that will make it easy for you to protect your hair underneath. Ensure the PS is not too tight or too heavy and also does not stay on your head for too long if you want to retain length.
Heat will become an enemy
I have a confession. A few weeks ago I flat ironed my hair after staying heat-free for over a year. Despite following almost all the rules of the book, the front part of my hair got heat damaged. Sigh. I made a few mistakes knowingly and I now have to live with the consequences. Heat will not become an enemy if you :
- Minimize usage or completely remove the word bone – straight hair from your vocabulary unless it’s a wig or weave.
- Use it in the right way. Indirect heat like steaming during deep conditioning sessions actually help to open up your cuticles. Direct heat like flat irons, curling irons are just a no-no.
- Do not allow the stylist to flat iron more than two passes on each section. Your hair will probably never enjoy a straight sleek finish without damaging it.
Natural hair is beautiful and versatile if you accept it. There is no right or wrong way of doing it and what I’ve shared is mostly out of my own experience. Embrace it and love it and it will love you right back!