Since I started my hair journey, people have always asked me for tips and tricks. But really there are no shortcuts when it comes to being natural besides backing off. You have to let your hair run free and do whatever it wants (most of the time) . It has been over 4 years since I’ve been natural and I wish someone would have told have told me the truth. Here are 10 things you should know before you go natural.
1. YES you HAVE to do the big chop.
I “transitioned” because my head was simply too big to be looking like a cabbage patch, however, don’t let my insecurity discourage you from doing what is right. In hindsight, the best part of my journey was when my hair was short and truly easy to manage. I could run my fingers through my hair without the disturbance of knots and tangles. More importantly, the best way to truly embrace the “India Arie” I am not my hair experience is to accept the change from the start. The best way to make that declaration is to CHOP IT OFF! (It’s ok to cry for a few days)
2. Practice is how your hair grows.
People ask me all the time how I grew my hair past 22inches. There really are no tips or tricks to such things in life so stop wasting time searching for them. The key to longer hair is time and maintenance. It’s like “mysteriously” gaining weight; it has to grow faster than it breaks off. On the bright side, it’s easier for your hair to grow when it’s natural because you get tired of fussing with it and just let it be.
3. It’s very, very expensive.
Seriously, going natural takes on a life of itself when you first start your journey. You will read so many articles about products that are bad for your hair and you start tossing your mini sally’s beauty supply shelf out the window. Simply to replace it with even more expensive products of which you don’t have time to use …..which brings me to my next misconception.
4. It’s time consuming.
I wash my hair every morning and night (yes, like a white girl). But whether you’re doing bantu knots or a roller set, it’s all such a pain in the butt. Don’t get me started with the weekly deep conditioning. Who has time for that? If you’re crazy like me, then you’ve tried to make your own hair product as well. Tossing mayo, eggs, oat meal, vinegar, coconut oil, ect into your hair. Overtime you will master a method that works for you, however, as your hair continues to grow you will need to refresh your method. Refreshing means more money.
5. You will not be in love with your curl pattern more than others.
The most interesting thing about going natural is the surprise of learning what was hiding away all those years. My mother even asked me how I got my hair to be very curly as she uses a curling activator. The fact is that everyone’s hair is different from long, thick, tight, loose ect. But the best part in obsessing over what you don’t have, is making other natural sistas feel good about what they do have. Being part of the #teamnatural is the best because we always work together to keep surviving the journey, and saying “omg, I love your hair” is the best way to keep each other encouraged.
6. Bad hair days occur more often than you think.
I thought by going natural it would make my life easier but natural hair is difficult to manipulate and extremely unruly. You have every element in world to battle from humidity, heat, snow and even rain all which play an important role in determining how your hair looks by then of day. If anything, you wear the same hair style every day and have little expectation for it look “yassss” worthy.
7. Split end are a _______ !
You think heat-free equals damaged free but my hair has never been more split. The fact is that curly hair breaks much faster. That’s partly why I straighten it every month; I want to see the growth as well as the damage. It’s recommended to trim your ends every 6 months but I do mines whenever I start going crazy looking at my yucky ends. The relief comes in knowing that your hair will grow fast anyways!
8. Every product or technique will not work for your hair.
Stay off of YOUTUBE. After you’ve watched several videos you should know enough to begin your journey on your own. I wasted money buying things that worked on someone else but ended up breaking my skin out. My favorite products are hardly talked about in blogs. So go on the limb and trust yourself.
9. Two extremely different reactions.
Some people will love your curly hair and others will love it straight. It’s rare that a person will not like one over the other because the change is that dramatic. Plus people are still warming up to the different looks. I personally straighten my hair every month to pacify the addition to the creamy crap as they say. But more importantly, I want to embrace all facets of me. Don’t be the girl that “never” straightens her hair.
10. You’ll want to quit!
This is one of the hardest journeys and to think I want to do this the rest of my life sounds insane. It’s frustrating and packing 3oz hair products to squeeze in a Ziploc bag is rocket science. I can’t stand everyone touching my hair, and when I straight it, it only last for 1 day! But my hair is my best accessory and truly the best conversation piece I OWN.
Tweet us at @millennialnews_ with one of your learned secrets that they don’t tell you when you go natural. Make sure you hashtag #butiwontquit .