I started my natural hair journey almost 3 years ago and it was kind of a spontaneous decision. I was curious to see how my hair would grow naturally versus with a relaxer, so initially, I started transitioning. After maybe two months of transitioning, I realized that wasn’t the move for me. Dealing with two different hair textures got old real quick, so I decided to big chop.
I wasn’t in love with my big chop but I knew it would take some getting used to. The process was interesting but still one of the best decisions I made. Like I said, going natural is a process that’s best prepared for. So, now that I’m three years into my journey, here are 10 things you should know when starting your natural hair journey.
Know What Process Works Best For You
When it comes to going natural there are two options. Transitioning and doing a big chop. Transitioning is when you allow your hair to grow out its relaxer with trims every so often. You will experience two different hair textures: your natural hair and your straight relaxed hair. This can be a lot of work blending the two hair type to look the same but you don’t lose any length and you get to ease into the process.
The big chop is exactly what it sounds like. You simply cut all your hair and allow it to grow in its natural state. You will lose a lot of your length and essentially start over with your hair.
The transition depends on you and what you’re comfortable with. If you think dealing with two different hair types may be too much work, then big chop. But if you’re not comfortable with short hair, then transitioning may be better for you.
Get To Know Your Hair
Whether you transitioned or big chop, it’s helpful and important to get to know your natural hair. Is it thick or thin? Is it wavy, coily, or kinky? Do you have low or high porosity hair? What products work best?
You basically have to date your hair find out what it likes and if you can see this as something you’d like to continue with, etc..
“If you knew better, you do better.”
Be Smart When It Comes To YouTube
Listen, when you are searching for natural hair bloggers. Make sure the person whose videoes you’re watching has similar hair to yours. Every natural hair isn’t the same, so what might work for him/her… might not work for you.
So if you have courser hair like 4C texture, watching an influencer with 3A hair may not be helpful. The needs are different. I made this mistake when going natural, I didn’t understand my hair type or anything for that matter so I was out here looking crazy and dry. Don’t be me.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Naturals
We shouldn’t compare ourselves, period, but it happens. It’s a common human trait. When I first big chopped I thought my texture would be like my mom and sister’s but if definitely was not. I constantly compared myself to not only them but other women with completely different textures. It doesn’t help when it comes to hair care, your self-esteem, or embracing your hair.. which leads me to my next point.
Love Your Hair Girl, It’s Beautiful
Natural hair is beautiful and all hair is good hair. It’s so important that you embrace your journey, if you don’t, it will be difficult to maintain or even want to keep your hair in its natural state. I’m the type of person that if I don’t feel or look good in it, I’m not doing it. However, I experimented and still found styles and looks that made me feel beautiful.
It’s new so you have to give yourself time to adjust and appreciate your new beautiful hair. Positive self-talk, trying new styles, and learning more about your hair helps. You’ll eventually find your signature look.
You Need To Be Patient
Listen. In order to be natural, you have to have patience. You have to be patient when it comes to hair growth, finding the right products, styling, everything! Allow yourself time to properly care for your hair and be patient with you and your hair. It can seem like a lot but you’ll find your flow.
Don’t Stress About Length
Shrinkage is a real thing. Natural hair comes with a lot of shrinkage so our hair tends to look shorter than it actually is. I got caught up worrying about length because I was accustomed to having my hair a certain length but when I big chopped that was another level of adjustment. Although your hair grows, you will always have some type of shrinkage.
So please don’t get caught up worrying about length and just embrace your new beautiful journey.
Know What Products and Ingredients Work For You
I touched on this before but knowing what products work for you is a major key. Products aren’t a one size fits all kind of thing. Every natural is different, so the needs are also different. I encourage you to experiment with your hair and how it reacts to different products. Once you find the ones you love, take note and add it to your collection.
It’s Okay To See A Stylist
I’m for letting the professionals do their thing — I even wrote a post about it. If you’re a first-time natural it can be overwhelming, so don’t feel bad for getting help. You don’t have to see a stylist every week but it’s good to see someone every now and then to help you better take care of your hair, give you professional hair treatments, trims, and even tips.
When I first went Natural I visited different stylists because I wanted to tea on what I should be doing, aside from YouTube. I also can’t do everything well, like trimming my own hair. That’s one thing I’m not great at and that’s okay, I have someone else do it.
Be Gentle With Your Hair
Detangling natural hair is nothing like detangling relaxed hair. Please be gentle with your crown. Being too rough with your hair can cause unnecessary breakage and it will be hard to track your growth — hair retention is just as important as hair growth.
I hope these tips helped! Good luck on your natural hair journey.