As a newbie, and as you’re starting out, there is a whole set of things you’re meant to be doing to nurture your hair and boost its health to an optimal condition. It’s also very important you stay vigilant of any possible signs of lack of moisture, breakage or split ends and address these promptly to avoid any setbacks. Though it certainly feels we’ve got our work cut out for us as we land into a new world, there are 3 important things you need to do when going on a natural hair journey that can have a determining factor on how you achieve success.
A lot is said, written, discussed, talked about and even debated around curly hair and most of the emphasis is put on things like knowing your hair porosity, deep conditioning, protective styling, sealing and or wearing your satin pillowcase. All essential topics you need to know and practice once you start your hair journey.
Are You Really Ready To Be A Natural Girl?
However, I feel there’s not much discussion (if any) on what a natural hair newbie needs to know and do Before she starts her hair journey, and no, it’s not what you’re thinking. Sure, it’s also ideal you know what you need to do, how and what the normal roadblocks may be before you take your first steps, but this is not what I’m referring to. That’s the practical stuff, what you DO in relation to your hair.
But, what about your mental or emotional readiness to take the driver’s seat on this journey?
Are you emotionally and psychologically ready to be able to succeed? Going natural isn’t the hardest thing you’ll do in life, nowhere near it! What can get you down is the emotional toll it can have on you. How many accounts have you read or watched of people who tried to go natural more than once and failed, or of those who after a few years decide to go back and relax their hair? Better yet, what about those who stay on the journey but regularly complain how hard their hair is in relation to what is was before and how they wished it was more ‘____’? Or why isn’t their hair more like ‘___’? (you fill in the blanks)
Listen, I Get It!
Listen, I get it! You’re tired of all the chemicals and all the money and time spent on your hair, your hair looks a hot mess, your scalp is all scared, your hair isn’t growing anymore and is breaking heavily, … You can’t do anything with it! You just wanna do this thing and start seeing your hair grow faster, stronger and healthier so you can enjoy it, possibly even more than before, right?
Though you can never be truly ready for what ‘being a natural means’, I can tell you from my own experience (2,5 years transitioning and 1,5 years of being natural) and what I witnessed from others, that there’s more to being a natural than what you do to your hair. You also need to be mentally or emotionally ready to pursue this journey, otherwise, you run the risk of making it much harder than it is or a complete failure.
Here’s how you can get mentally ready to start your hair journey:
- Audit & Review Why You’re Going Natural
- Stop Any Unrealistic Beliefs
- Make a Commitment
Short and sweet, right? So unlike me. 😉 Nah… Let me go a bit deeper and explain some more.
#3| Audit & Review Why You’re Going Natural
I know I just made of list of the reasons why you may be going natural, and they are all valid and reasonable. My decision was made on an impulse, I was tired of having limp, dry hair that was breaking heavily and I wanted healthier hair. When I look back on the pictures of my hair back then, I am sooo glad I made the decision to let my natural curls grow.
On the other hand, for some people, their reasons are rooted in challenging beauty standards or experiencing what they see as a new trend. Whatever the reason is, this decision will have a psychological effect on you. Any decision we make in life is made based on possible pros and cons and when we decide to move forward or take up a challenge we expect a bigger gain than loss.
However, going natural means facing new challenges like having to deal with two hair textures, unruly frizzy hair, longer wash days, decoding your hair, learning a whole new language, etc. The point is, these challenges will affect you emotionally and if the reasons why you’re are going natural are not rooted in you (a strong wish to stop harming your hair and yourself and being ready to love your new texture), but are externally rooted (trend, following a new movement) you may seriously struggle to reach your goals and to enjoy the journey.
I witnessed major changes in my personality during my hair journey. I became more self-loving, self-respecting and I got a higher self-esteem. I gained a lot and I know others who have too.
ACTION TIP. Make a real audit of reasons why you wanna be natural and weigh the pros and cons of (1) continuing as you are and of (2) letting your curly hair grow. Consider what you’ll lose as of result of that decision? How would it affect you? Is it still worth it?
#2| Stop Any Unrealistic Beliefs
Okay, so now that you dug deep into yourself for answers, and decided that going natural is what you really want to do, you now need to check if you have any unrealistic beliefs or expectations about your hair that can still undermine everything (Yes, it all seems like a thriller with danger lurking everywhere and testing our decision 😉 ).
Me, personally… I thought that from where I was, from My perspective, my hair situation could only get better. I mean, how could it not?!… Relaxing was a bad thing, so making the decision to stop using it altogether could only make things better, right?!
Well, no! Though I didn’t have many expectations about natural hair, mainly because I’ve never ‘known’ mine, I did expect that taking care of my curly hair would be, at least, as easy as taking care of my relaxed hair. It turns out it’s not! It takes more time and bit more effort. Don’t be scared. I didn’t say it was harder, it’s just different and it will take some adjustment on your part. (Please don’t believe those who say it’s otherwise. It’s not!)
If you’re stepping into your hair journey expecting your curly hair to be a specific hair type because it will be easier to manage or you look up to some blogger wishing and expecting to have the same hair texture, you are in for a major disappointment.
The fact that you’re a newbie means you are embracing a hair journey that is new to you, so after years of relaxing you’ll be introduced to your new hair texture which means there is a learning curve. Just because you have the same skin tone or ethnicity as someone whose curly hair you have a crush on, it doesn’t mean your curly hair will be the same. Just like our fingerprints, each head of curly hair is unique and yours will be too. The sooner you realise this and are open to the novelties of this journey the more open you’ll be to truly embrace and love your new hair texture.
ACTION TIP. Make a list of all the expectations and beliefs you have about naturally curly hair, take some time, put your thought into it and write all of them on a piece of paper. Once you’re finished, cross any you are not 100% sure of. Now look at the ones you have left and think what supports that belief or expectation? Is it realistic, what is your proof? Do you have examples of the contrary? Are you basing it on someone else’s expectations, beliefs or experiences?… In the end, you may just find yourself with a long list of crossed over expectations and beliefs.
#3| Make A Commitment
Going natural takes commitment. Curly hair takes a bit more of your time, your patience, and your attention because it is naturally dry and therefore, more prone to damage. Whereas before the main focus of your hair care was on aesthetics (how it looked to you and others), now you are focusing on your hair’s health so it can look and be as healthy as it’s meant to be.
However, this takes commitment. This means you’ll need to adopt and abandon specific practices in oder to achieve hair health. It means adjusting to a new reality that won’t always be easy. I had a hard time adjusting to detangling my new hair texture, it was one of those things that really affected me mentally and almost had me return to the relaxer box. (don’t worry, it was a moment of temporary madness. I persevered and found a way to deal overcome the obstacle).
The way you experience your hair journey has positive or negative feelings attached to it that affect your determination. A ‘bad‘ experience (negative feelings) can jeopardise everything. What really saved me was my determination. But, if you want to overcome these ‘growing pains’ there are two other things you also need to have other than determination and they are Determination and Consistency (I’ve talked about them before in this post).
Determination & Consistency
To be able to come out on the other end of this journey with success you have to be determined, and this is something that can only come from you, you have the power to achieve anything. Determination is not external to you. It’s not something you can borrow or somewhere you can draw power from. It’s in YOU, and once you know this you need to commit to your specific goal (healthy hair). There can be no continuous questioning about what others will think or any deep doubts about the journey you’ve just chosen, this is how naysayers will erode your decision and determination (they’ll feed off of your doubts).
Questioning what your hair will look like, if you’ll look good or, how easy it will be to style your hair is normal and it’s a part of human nature (curiosity). However, you can’t keep going back on your decisions and not committing.
The other thing you’ll need to be is consistent. Being consistent in you hair routine will allow you to determine the best hair care practices, the best products, what your hair likes and dislikes and more. You’ll have a far more easy and enjoyable journey if you’re determined, committed and consistent.
ACTION TIP. Set yourself hair goals. Given that your ultimate, long -term goal is to have healthy hair, set short-term hair goals that will get you closer to you long-term goal. Your determination will increase as you reach each small goal alongside positive feelings that will feed your commitment and keep you motivated to be consistent.
The best way you can set and track all this is by using a hair journal and keeping a record of everything you do to your hair. You can not only set your hair routine and record your curly hair care practices, but you can also track your results which will help you adopt, abandon and adjust practices for your hair. In the end, it’s a win-win situation for you.
The bottom line is, if you’re serious about growing healthy and strong curly hair and becoming your own curly queen then you seriously need to get clear on these 3 things before going on a natural hair journey. If you already started, don’t worry, follow the tips given here and strengthen the foundations of your journey.
Do feel you have what it takes?