So you’re natural. Or you’re thinking about becoming natural. Now what? What are your next steps?
Well if you’re like many women you begin to do your research. You speak to friends, family and co-workers. You consult blogs, Youtube, magazines, books. You name it, you try to read it. And you get advice. Some unsolicited, others – great tips! And you may end up even more confused as you try to process and apply all of the information coming in. “They” say co-wash. “They” say only use natural ingredients on your hair. “They” say you should always wear protective styles if you want to grow your hair as long as possible.
And I’m not sure who “they” is and quite frankly, from some of the sketchy advice I’ve heard and based on the research I’ve done I don’t agree a lot with what “they” say. Much of it is conjecture – an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.
But this post isn’t about them. It’s about you.
For whatever reason you’ve made the decision to embrace your natural hair texture. It’s definitely a courageous pursuit as there is so much politics, economics, emotion and psychology associated with black hair and natural hair. That reason is entirely personal and your journey is unique.
So now what?
In order to determine what you do next it’s important to do some introspection and planning. I know, it may seem a little ridiculous to do this but trust me – it’s important and it will help you figure out this “natural thing” out.
What follows are a few questions that will help you conquer information overload, banish confusion and focus on what YOU need to do with your hair.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is,
What is your natural hair journey all about?
Are you natural simply because your hair was damaged from chemical relaxers? Are you embracing a more natural lifestyle that includes dietary and other changes that are more holistic? Are you doing this to set an example for your daughter, niece or other family member? Why are you doing this?
The second question is
What is your natural hair philosophy?
What are your basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes about natural hair? Your philosophy will guide every decision you make about your hair and it will assist you in filtering out information that’s applicable to you, from that which is not. For example, if you believe in using 100% natural and organic products with no synthetic preservatives that may limit the products available to you, especially those at a reasonable price. If you’re not really concerned with organic raw materials but instead want products that are effective then you’ll be open to using ingredients that are both natural and synthetic, as long as the products that contain them work. Your natural hair philosophy will guide both your styling and product choice so think about this carefully.
The next question to consider,
What are your hair goals?
Do you long for long hair? If so, how long? In what time frame? How much time can you dedicate to caring for your hair daily or weekly? Many women have an intense desire for long natural hair for a variety of reasons. However long tresses may not be for everyone as considerable time and care needs to go into styling and caring for long hair. When you’re transitioning or have just big chopped it’s difficult to understand what your daily and weekly routine will be like. However once your hair grows longer you’ll need to develop a solid hair care regimen. When it comes to your goals be as specific as possible.
The final consideration is REALLY important. Are you ready for it? Okay.
What are your hair expectations?
Are they realistic or not? Is your natural curl pattern tightly coiled and you long for cascading waves? Do you want truly wash n’ go hair but you need to achieve the look from a twist out? Unmet expectations will always lead to disappointment. And disappointment is a major source of frustration for many naturals who expect their hair to look like their favourite blogger or YouTuber’s hair, but the hair textures are far from being the same. You need to understand your hair texture and all that comes with it. Next you need to understand what that texture is capable of being molded into, and what you’ll need to work at. Yes this takes work and diligence but the rewards are worth it.
Think about these questions. Answer them honestly. Get a better understanding of your hair through this entire process and always reflect back on WHY you’ve decided to become return to being natural when you get overwhelmed, confused or frustrated. Only then will you experience true natural hair freedom!