So basically, you’re tired of how weak your relaxed hair looks and feels, you’re tired of all the money you spend on it, and you can’t seem to grow your it past a certain point. Not to mention all the scalp issues. Yeah, you’re pretty much sold on the idea of letting your natural hair texture grow. Plus, it kinda looks cute judging from all the YouTube videos you’ve been watching… Yes, I can tell you it certainly looks and feels great, but before you go off thinking about starting a new journey focused on the finish line, here’re 6 easy steps to start your journey to natural hair.
EASY STEPS TO START YOUR JOURNEY TO NATURAL HAIR
#1| YOUR COMMITMENT
Making the decision to go natural may be a liberating one, however, it won’t be an easy one to keep as there will be many challenges in your hair journey. Despite best wishes, natural hair is not fully embraced in the black hair community or otherwise.
Additionally, although there is an increasing number of women, and men, joining and supporting the natural hair community, “fighting” natural hair myths and naysayers and social representations of what beautiful hair is may feel like an unfair, unbalanced or lost battle from the start. Only when it stops being seen as a movement and starts being seen and accepted as being as beautiful and as normal as other hair types will we move forward in this chapter in society.
However, the main battle will probably happen within yourself as you will have to fight your own fears, insecurities, prejudices and perceptions about natural hair, and many of them have been passed on through generations. They are embedded in our beings.
Answer yourself these questions to have an idea of how prepared you are to step into a natural hair journey.
- How prepared are you to deal with not feeling pretty when you have a new hair texture or two different ones?
- Do you think you’ll be confident enough to wear your natural hair texture to a special occasion (wedding, graduation, party, etc.)? Will you be strong enough to not straighten it (chemically or through heat)?
- How prepared are you to deal with people’s comments or looks about your hair being ugly, unprofessional or unattractive?
- How will you react if your partner asks you to relax your hair again or if he doesn’t support your hair journey? What will you do?
- Is this journey about yourself or are you just trying to look like your idol or best friend?
#2| BIG CHOP OR TRANSITION
Once you’ve decided you’re committed to your new hair journey, your first important step will be deciding whether you want to start your journey to natural hair in a bold manner, with a Big Chop (BC), or if you prefer to transition over a period of time. A BC implies cutting off your relaxed hair, starting afresh, and it generally translates into showcasing a teeny weeny afro ( a very short afro).
A natural hair transition, on the other hand, allows you to gradually adapt to the changes you’ll witness in your hair while still keeping your hair length over a period of 6, 12 or 24 months, whatever you want, really. When the day comes you cut off the relax ends and set your curly hair free.
Things To Consider
This is an important decision and can seriously affect the relationship you’ll develop with your hair. Before you make any decision make sure to consider:
- Will you be maintaining and styling your own hair or will you minimise manipulation with a protective style and wear a weave, wig, hair extension or sisterlocks? If you go for the latter, make sure to still take care of your hair, make sure you cleanse, condition, deep condition and keep it moisturised.
- How comfortable do you’ll feel starting your journey with a short afro or with two different hair texture and not being able to straighten it? You may become more self-conscious and it may affect your self-esteem. Make the decision that makes you feel more comfortable. You may feel apprehensive and, yes, maybe even a little scared, my advice is that despite this, make the decision that makes you more curious about the journey.
- Heat and chemical treatments alter the structure of your curly hair, therefore, you will need to stop straightening your hair and dyeing your hair as they damage will be irreversible and you’ll lose the curl pattern you’re desperately trying to grow.
#3| BUILD A HAIR REGIMEN
Everyone has a hair regimen even if they don’t don’t know what it is. It may be a good or bad one, but everyone has one. In essence, a hair regimen is a system you will need to set up to take care of your hair. It will be divided into 4 major blocks: Cleansing, Conditioning, Deep Conditioning, Moisturising.
In each block, you’ll decide what you’ll do, how often, what products or tools you’ll use and when. If you are consistent in your hair practices and apply good ones, you will reach your hair goals much quicker and with fewer surprises. Here’s an example of how you can set up your Cleansing block.
- Cleanse/Shampoo hair with a sulphate free shampoo once a week and clarify once a month or every 6 weeks to remove product residue and water minerals. When needed co-wash mid-week to refresh.
This can seem a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before, however, you can read the post Finally! A Hair Regimen That Works for guidance, download the worksheets that accompany it and fill them with your hair regimen details. This way you’ll have a something to refer back to when you need.
#4| PRODUCT INGREDIENTS
Once you get into #TeamNatural you will be introduced to a sea of natural hair brands that promise to cater for your curly hair needs and you will feel like you were automatically enrolled in a Product Ingredients Intensive Course.
These days, most of us are aware of parabens or sulphate free products. It’s inevitable as it’s seen labelled across mainstream hair products. However, if this wasn’t much of a concern to you until now, it will become one as you will soon learn that certain ingredients take the moisture out of your curly hair and make it drier than it naturally is.
How deep you want to dive into this education is up to you. Some naturals will prefer to have control into what exactly goes into their hair products and prefer to make them themselves, others will opt for renowned natural hair brands that cater to our specific hair needs and some will just use whatever is available, affordable or feels right.
Some Basic Education
Either way, the best way to make a decision is to have some basic education, here are a few blog posts you may want to start with:
- Transitioning To Natural Hair & Understanding Your Curly Hair
- Natural Hair Product Ingredients – What’s In Them?
- Reading Hair Care Products Labels – Case Study
- Natural vs Synthetic Ingredients For Curly Hair Products
- 4 Ingredients That Take Moisture From Your Hair
#5| STOCK UP ON THE ESSENTIALS
If you’ve gone through all the previous steps and you’ve decided that going natural is what you really want to do you will need to stock up on some hair products and tools. Make sure you have these essential hair products to moisturise your curly hair.
Now you don’t need to toss all your old products away and become broke buying new ones. No, I’m all about reusing or repurposing. You can finish the products you have and gradually buy new ones according to your product ingredients preference (natural vs synthetic). If, however, you wanna buy new ones don’t bin your old products there’s always something you can do with them (check this post).
You will also need a few tools or accessories that will help you keep your hair moisturised for longer or style two-textured hair. Here’s a list of 10 items you will need and find useful for your hair journey. You probably have most already.
#6| LEARN YOUR HAIRSTYLES
I’m not saying you don’t know how to do your hair, but, as your natural hair grows you will need to adjust a totally new hair texture or, if you’re transitioning, learn to deal with two hair textures. This takes some adjustment as your hair will look poofy or weird and unmanageable. You may feel self-conscious, awkward and clueless on how to deal with it.
To minimise and avoid all this it’s a great idea to learn some new hairstyles or how to blend transitioning hair depending on your hair journey path. With time you will feel more comfortable and skilled and your confidence will rise. Here are a few posts with tutorials that you can read:
- 6 Ways To Blend Transitioning Hair
- 8 Easy Natural Hairstyles That Are Not A Bun or A Puff
- 5 Ways To Rock A Bun Hairstyle While Transitioning
- Get 6 Wash And Go Hairstyles To Last You A Week
Now that you 1) know all the steps you need to take to start your journey to natural hair, now that you 2) know a few of the challenges involved in this decision and 3) have information to help you begin your new path you will have fewer surprises and fewer bumps.
Don’t forget to download the worksheets to help you build a hair regimen that works for you.