If there’s one thing all natural hair newbies have in common is a not always smooth love affair with their hair. Yes, it can be a bumpy road, especially in the early days when there’s still a strong attachment to the look of relaxed straight hair and you’re confronted with the reality of voluminous, disobedient hair. Yet, you can still have a healthy relationship with your curly hair has your hair journey begins.
It’s no secret that relationships can be hard, complicated and never simple, and the one you have with your hair is really not that much different. One day you’re in front of the mirror looking at your growing curls with goofy eyes and the next day you’re frustrated at their inability to do exactly what you want them to do. Talk about having two hair textures or the weird stages of hair growth after a big chop, right? 😕
Still, long lasting successful relationships, like the one we’re nurturing with our natural hair, is not about being perfect, but being able to steer through the ups and downs all relationships go through.
Trust me I was in a 2,5-year long relationship with my transitioning hair, been natural for over a year and been married for 18 years. Yeah… I know a little bit about being in relationships. 😆
So, if you’re interested in being the captain of your hair journey and steering it to where you want it to go, here are 5 ways to build a healthy relationship with your curly hair as your journey begins.
All relationships need to be ‘fed’ if they are to flourish. In other words, both have to feel happy, understood and loved. But, in order for this to happen, you gotta be able to give what the other one wants or needs and to do this you have to listen. No, not hear! Listen, you have to listen.
It’s very common to assume and misread things based on assumptions and past experiences and end up doing the wrong things or creating more problems. In this particular case, your hair relationship, you may be doing now the same things you did to your hair as when it was relaxed, and now you’re wondering ‘Why this natural hair thang is so hard’or ‘Why is this so easy for others, but not for me’?
The relationship you had with your relaxed hair is nothing similar to the one you now have with your transitioning or natural hair. Different relationships require different approaches. If your hair is extremely dry now, even though you used the same products as before and everything seemed okay, then you need to listen to your hair and change them.
Your hair is changing and you need to know and understand it as you journey together. So listen, pay attention to the signs your hair is giving you and act accordingly. In return, your hair will give you more than you expected – higher self-esteem, confidence and sense of empowerment.
To get you started on the right foot why not do my free 8-day email course Boost Your Hair Moisture? You can read all about it here.
#2| Take a Breather
Listen, no one is telling you everything will be a bed of roses, ’cause it won’t. You won’t always do the right thing, your hair won’t always do what you want it to and you will certainly find yourself frustrated with your hair at some moments.
I always say that in long relationships, which is what we’re aiming for here (let’s not think about relaxing again), you have stages where there’s intense passion, then calm, but strong love and other moments where quite frankly both parts can’t seem to see eye to eye, and it continues on a cycle.
If things don’t seem to be going along well, and you’re at this stage in your hair journey where your two-textured hair looks weird and you’ve tried everything but you’re just not loving it, take a breather.
Yes, take a deep breath and put things into perspective. If you’re going through this or something similar to the weird stages of growth after a TWA, know that all this will soon pass, it is just a phase. If you don’t know how to flat twist or haven’t yet found the perfect product combination, you will with time, practice and trial and error.
You can’t expect to have everything fall magically into place, it takes time. So breathe deeply, take care of your hair and let all frustration and stress abandon you. Before you know it you’ll be more attuned to your hair and the passion-love stages will last longer.
#3| Create A List Of Positives
Creating a list of positives is always a good thing for when your relationship is going through hard times and you think you might be ready to throw in the towel. It is at these moments you may find yourself making comparisons and only seeing negative things in your curly hair.
Do you want to go back to the comfortable predictability of relaxed hair? Are you feeling unmotivated and lacking behind in your hair routine? Are you engaging in more hair damaging behaviours (ie. bleaching, heat styling)?
Creating a list of positives will help you counteract all of this and make you appreciate what you have now, instead of looking back at what you had (trust me, it wasn’t all good too). Write down on a piece of paper:
- What you felt when you saw your first curls,
- What it means to not have to relax your hair anymore,
- How good it feels to have healthy hair,
- Write the first compliment your hair got (and all others, please)
- How accomplished you felt when you mastered a hairdo,
- How you’ll feel when you finally reach your goals…
You’re basically doing and affirmation-slash-vision-board-kind-of-list for your hair. Have it handy and refer back to it when needed or as often as you like. Pretty soon you’ll be on the passion or love stage. -_-
To get you started I created a nice little pdf you can find in my Library of Resources and download again and again to write a list of positive things about having natural hair. I baptised it the Feel Good Hair List! (Suitable, right?!:D )
#4| Find Support
This is an oldie, but a goodie. Everybody needs a friend to get things off their shoulder. You know someone who has been through a similar situation, someone who can support or just listen to you. Sometimes, the simple act of voicing out your thoughts to someone can have an immense power. It can be therapeutic, many times the other person doesn’t even have to say anything.
It’s all about letting it out. You know how we women like to talk and share experiences, don’t you?! 😉
As I said, relationships can be hard, having a support system can be the key to a successful hair journey. You know… having a friend who will listen to you, someone who can relate to your experiences. If you don’t have one why not join a community or a forum with your peeps?!
As it so happens, The Curly Queen Adventure is our Facebook Group where you can share all of this, find support, feedback and more. You can join the group here. It will be great to have you join us. 🙂
#5| Don’t Give Up
When things get hard, painful or difficult the normal reaction is for us to want that feeling to stop or to give up completely on the relationship.
Some relationships can be corrosive and poisonous and, in this case, I totally support your decision to move away from it. When it comes to your hair, if you find you’ve tried everything you can and you never experienced any rewarding or fulfilling emotion since signing up for your hair journey, then maybe you should consider giving up.
However, if this is not your case, giving up can later on torment you with the “What if…” kind of thoughts, especially when you see all those who made it through.
To battle this, go back to number one on this list and work on all tips from the beginning. Being a natural hair newbie or transitioner is not easy and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel may seem hard sometimes.
I remember, when I was 5 months into my transitioning hair journey and detangling my hair was nothing short of a nightmare, a nightmare I was not interested reliving every wash day if that was what being natural meant. But I liked my curly hair too much to just give up, so I found a way to do what was best for my hair and me. I found a solution. I didn’t give up and I hope you don’t either if you’re like me.
Building a healthy relationship with your curly hair as you start your hair journey takes time and work, it simply doesn’t take off smoothly the moment you embrace it. There are ups and downs, obstacles and learning curves to go through. But you know what they say, “Nothing worth fighting for, comes easy” because easy doesn’t last, we don’t value it!
Stay strong, trooper!
For further support in your hair journey you can read:
- Going From Natural To Relaxed Hair Again
- What Not To Expect When Transitioning To Natural Hair
- 4 Tips When Dealing With Natural Hair Problems