I made the decision to transition my hair to its natural state (I abhor the phrase “going natural”) almost a year ago. I did as much research as I could about the process, and reached out to many of my friends around me who already made the transition, however there are some things that I just wasn’t prepared for. First off, whoever said that this was easy straight up lied. I don’t know if it is because I am dealing with two textures, but natural hair is far from easy. I honestly don’t see how much different it will be in managing and caring for my hair when I’m completely natural, outside of not having the headache of dealing with my relaxed ends. I know every person is different; we all have different textures, bodies, habits etc. However, here are some of the things that I wish I was more prepared to deal with. You jiggas could’ve told me that:
- My scalp would have the death itch from hell. I don’t know what it was, but a few months after I began my transition my scalp began to itch like crazy. I swear, it was so bad that I wanted to tear my hair out. I tried not to scratch, because I didn’t want to damage my scalp, but Looooooooord…………I wouldn’t wish that itch on my worst enemy. The solution? After doing research and asking around, I ended up doing a clarifying rinse with apple cider vinegar. That rinse was heaven to my scalp. I also purchased some tea tree oil and mixed it with a bit of olive oil and massaged it into my scalp. This worked better than a charm for me, and I haven’t had this problem since then. Whenever my scalp feels a bit itchy, I cleanse with a tea tree oil shampoo and make sure to massage my scalp often. I also make sure that I’m moisturizing enough, and that I’m drinking enough water.
- “Wash DAY” should be taken literally. This is where I feel like the “natural hair is so easy” fallacy is proven wrong. Wash day really is a wash day!!!! With all the pre-pooing, sectioning, detangling, washing, deep conditioning, and styling, you need to make sure to devote enough time to cleanse your hair properly. I wash on days that I know I am not doing much else with my life, because I will need the time. Some people will deep condition overnight, while their hair is in a protective style if they are short on time. That can work as well.
- What is up with these knots? My hair is growing to the point where sometimes, I get knots in some strands. This takes patience and time, in order not to break or pull the hair out. I usually finger detangle, or get a small pin if I need to until the knot is loose and straightened out.
- Protective styling is your friend. Protective styles help me keep the manipulation from styling and heating very infrequent. Some of my favorites are buns, braids, twists, twist-outs, and bantu knots. Find something that reflects you and your style. Just make sure to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. I’ve also found that manipulating my hair while wet has been easier for me and my hair. When doing the twist-outs or bantu knots, let your hair air dry a bit before creating the twists or knots. I’ve done these styles on my hair when it was very damp, only to unravel very damp hair in the morning 🙁
- I wish I was prepared for the ultimate shade I’d receive from family and friends. It is all done in love, but I get it bad on wash days, when I try new styles, while my styles are setting (twist-outs or bantus) or just because. I’ve been called Celie, a Killer Clown From Outer Space, a Truffula Tree (Lorax), Dough Boy from Boyz in tha Hood, Dashiki, and Sheneneh. I don’t care though, I’m still fine!
Taking care of my hair has truly been a labor of love. Whether you decide to transition, or big chop, make sure that you are ready to commit yourself fully to getting to know your hair. The reward for me has been looking at how much my hair has grown, and how strong it is compared to the relaxed portion. When I see my curl pattern, I get excited because it is ME. When I see these Chili from TLC baby hairs sitting there all glorious, I get hype! Whatever your reasoning or goal is for being natural, keep that in mind when going through the process. Use it as a chance to get to know and love you the way God created you. Ask questions, do research, and don’t be afraid to try new things. There will be a lot of trial and error before you find out what really works for you.
- If You Love it, it Will Grow. Dr. Phoenix Austin
Are you currently natural? Transitioning? What are some of the challenges that you’ve faced? What did you to do overcome them? Let us know in the comments section below.