Everyone women wants to have hair like we see in the shampoo commercials. Having longer stronger hair can make a person feel more confident and attractive. Unfortunately, the hoped-for success of a silky, shimmering head of hair all too often fails to materialize; instead, it is flat, dull or has split ends. High time to get out the magnifying glass and look at the ingredients of the favorite hair products times more closely, because these have nothing to do with care usually. That’s exactly why natural hair care is becoming more and more popular.
But having a natural hair is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is therefore naïve and impractical to consider those who chose not to pursue it as ignorant or self-loathing. So when might you realize going natural is best for you?
You are frustrated with your hair
If at first glance you can find nothing but complaints within yourself about your hair, it might be time to consider a new route. Natural hair’s advantage over relaxed is the protein bonds (responsible for the curl pattern and kinky hair texture) are intact within natural hair strands. Therefore natural hair is stronger and more resilient by default.
You want a change
Our Caucasian counterparts are lucky to have lots of options when it comes to changing their hair. There are dozens of haircuts suited for Caucasian texture but sadly this isn’t the case with black hair. If you have been itching for a hair change and have exhausted all cuts possible with relaxed hair, then consider going natural.
Eliminate Growth Pitfalls
Relaxing or straightening creams are powerful chemicals. There is always a risk of scalp scalds or over-processing either of which could hinder or stagnate growth. Going natural frees you of this pitfall since there are no chemicals in contact with your strands.
Relaxed hair is not particularly fond of water so if you swim professionally or for exercise natural hair might be for you. The same might apply if your hair gets wet from sweat during intense workouts. Repeated rising to clean off sweat can become frustrating.
If you are seeking to maximize styling options for your hair, then going natural is absolutely the best alternative. It’s impossible to exhaust every natural hairstyle, including wearing it bone straight as if relaxed. But incase you do, you can always morph styles or coin your own natural hairstyle.
Going natural can be liberating because it allows you to really see yourself with no ”masks”. While the first few months can feel vulnerable, over time confidence and acceptance of natural hair develops.
Is Going Natural Easy?
If you’re thinking of going natural because you think it’ll be easy to manage your hair, you’re mistaken. Many women felt that their skills, talent and intelligence could and would be overlooked as people judge based on the hairstyle they choose to wear. Most of the time this issue is attributed to black women who wear their hair naturally in the workplace.
Natural hair also requires meticulous treatment due to its delicate nature, which may take longer than relaxed hair. Still, for a healthy head of vivid kinky hair, that’s a little price to pay. Before you go natural, keep these tips in mind.
1. Pros and Cons
As with everything natural hair comes with it’s pros and cons. For example frizz and puffiness are quite the norm with natural hair and can get even worse with humidity. This might be a con for some people but it is an inevitable part of natural hair. The importance of weighing pros and cons before deciding whether to go natural or not is important because you do not want to embark on a route that is destined to be a failure.
2. Why are you going natural?
Your reasons for going natural are your own but ensure that they are legitimate and not just a passing phase. There is nothing worse than regretting a big chop because it cannot be fixed. The shock of the big chop’s drastic change is enough to deal with. Be honest. Ask yourself why you are going natural.
3. Can you commit?
Natural hair care does not automatically mean 1-2-3 products and it’s done (how I wish.) To successfully nature your natural hair into growth and strength, you will need to take the time to study and analyze your hair then try out several products (a few if you are lucky) to find ones your hair not only accepts but also loves. A common misconception is that natural hair is easier than relaxed hair. There is no truth to that. Understanding how to care for natural hair might in fact take up more time.
4. Big Chop or Transition?
These are the two ways you can go about going natural. Big chop refers to cutting off all relaxed hair. The length left over during a big chop ranges anywhere from bald (no hair whatsoever) to ¼ of new growth. Anything above that is considered transitioning. Transitioning is a good alternative if you have trepidation around the drastic change of a big chop or you just can’t bear to lose all that length at once.
So you stop relaxing and when the new natural growth extends to your comfort zone, the relaxed ends are cut off. The relaxed ends can be trimmed off gradually as the new growth comes in or all at once to get it over and done with.
Read also: Your Ultimate Bedtime Hair Care Routine
5. Product Conflict
Products designed for relaxed hair might not work as well with your natural hair. The protein bonds, which are primarily responsible for kinky texture, are shattered during a relaxer process in order to straighten the strands. This process significantly weakens the hair strands therefore products intended for relaxed hair contain some type of protein (in most cases) to constantly repair the broken bonds.
As a natural, you might not require quite as much protein and may not need to mandatorily do it as you would if you were relaxed. Therefore that stock you had of protein-based conditioner might not be as useful. Of course this is a singular example but the same could be true of other products
6. Realistic Expectations
Going natural should be all about the you and not your perception of what that should be. Each head of hair is unique in its characteristics. Acknowledge and accept your natural hair as it grows without basing it on someone else’s texture or ideas. You will end up extremely frustrated if your natural hair texture turns out to be 4c and expect it to behave like 3a texture. The most realistic expectation is to have no expectations at all. Take each day as it comes knowing it brings longer, stronger hair.
7. Styling Challenges
It will not be business as usual when it comes to styling your natural hair. There are a lot of natural hairstyles but they tend to favor longer lengths. The shorter length, TWA is the most frustrating for most people. The challenges are not insurmountable because there are plenty of video tutorials on TWA hairstyles.
8. Ready for attention?
You new kinky hair will definitely garner some attention. While it’s no big deal for extroverts, natural hair attention might be more problematic for introverts. If you absolutely cannot brace the attention, a protective style (preferably a wig since you can take it on and off to care for your hair) might be a good idea. You can first try wearing your natural hair around people you are comfortable with then gradually work to wearing it out to certain places and hopefully flaunt it everywhere in a few weeks or months.
9. Support Groups
Going natural, whether you big chop or transition slowly is going to be a drastic change. There are psychological feelings of vulnerability and shock especially after a huge big chop. Natural hair support groups and forums are a choke full of information on natural hair care products, documentations, complete with photos, of natural hair growth and invaluable guides on what to expect during your journey.
Women with natural hair are everywhere and the majority of them are very eager to find other naturals to socialize and share advice with. Get a head start by finding support groups and natural hair blogs you like. Once you are natural, find someone with texture that is similar to yours, they will be the ultimate source of encouragement and hope for your own natural hair journey.
10. Hair Typing Demons
There is a lot of confusion surrounding natural hair typing. People are locked in the endless quest in search of what their natural hair type is. Hair typing is a ridiculous notion because most people have at least two dominant hair textures. And by the admissions of hair typing system developer’s, most people do not fit in just one category of hair type, which only propels the confusion. It’s far more worthwhile to dedicate your time to understanding your hair and use the hair typing systems as suggestions rather than the natural hair ideals.
11. Trust Your Intuition
With so many natural hair care products flooding the market declaring to “grow your hair faster” or “fix split ends”, it is paramount to trust your intuition and the good old saying….’If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.” And simply because a product is expensive doesn’t guarantee it works and vice versa.
Most companies simply seek to dig deeper into your pocket and will promise whatever you need to hear works for natural hair to get them there. Almost all “magical” hair growth products are a fabrication (hair growth rate is wired in your genes). Do your due diligence and understand ingredients, take other people’s product reviews into consideration but in the end, use or do what you feel is right for your hair.