Having been natural for about a year and a couple of months. I’ve learned a few lessons that I felt were worth mentioning. I wanted to share them with you all today. If you’re newly natural, then the list of points below is for YOU!
1)You ARE Making the Right Decision
Listen to this one carefully. NO matter how discouraging others around you are, or how insecure you feel about going natural, you MUST recognize that you ARE making the right decision. The decision to no longer put harsh chemical treatments in to straighten your hair is a good decision. It’s healthier for you. Don’t believe anything else others have to say about that. You deciding to accept your hair the way God made it to grow in is a good decision. It will not be a cakewalk, but it is worth any trouble that you experience as you go along in your journey. So don’t doubt whether or not you’re doing the right thing. KNOW that you ARE!
2)It’s OK if You Don’t Like Your Hair at First.
Don’t be surprised if you go ahead and big chop (whether you transitioned or just cut your hair super short) and you’re left feeling upset when you look in the mirror. It’s a rare thing to accept such a large change in your physical appearance without any feelings of regret. If you look in the mirror and cry, or if you look in the mirror and feel like you were an idiot for ever thing that going natural was a good idea, that’s ok. It’s normal and there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. Don’t give up just yet though. You’re just getting started with everything and the best is yet to come. You can’t appreciate the pride of achieving growth and more styling options with your natural hair if you don’t first understand what it’s like to start from scratch.
3) It’s OK if Other People Don’t Like Your Natural Hair at First.
Don’t expect a round of applause from friends and family when you show up fully natural. Just as you may have a rough time adjusting to your new look, they will too. It may take time for them to get used to the new you. If they don’t say anything, don’t push them to. They may not know what to say, or they may be more blunt with you than you wanted, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself if you get mad. Expect a bit of shock and silence as you strut your new natural hair around. Don’t tolerate insults though. It’s ok for people to say nothing if they don’t have anything nice to say. It’s not OK for them to criticize, belittle, make fun of or hurt you with insults, EVER. If they can’t play nice, get out of there. Make it clear that you won’t tolerate that behavior and then go on about your way.
4) Natural hair is hard work.
Natural hair is not easy. Think about it. When you had relaxed hair, you had to practice and learn how to take care of it over time; natural hair is no different. It will take time, effort, patience and determination to get your natural hair where you want it to be, so get ready to work, girl! All the web articles and You tube videos in the world won’t replace you spending time learning how to take care of your hair and learn what it needs. You will possibly spend hours on your hair at first, attempting to achieve new styles, testing conditioners and the like, and some days, all that work will be in vain. It may be the technique you used, it may be the products you chose, it may be that you didn’t work fast or slow enough. Whatever the reason, don’t beat yourself up over the whole thing. Write down what happened in a hair journal, so you don’t make the same mistake twice, and move on. You’ll have to get used to picking yourself up and dusting yourself off if you want to really learn and master your natural hair. There will be successes and there will be failures. Both are necessary for you to learn what you need to know.
5) It’s OK to be a Product Junkie
I often hear people say, “sorry I’m a product junkie” or “don’t be a product junkie” to new naturals. I say that’s rubbish. It is perfectly fine to be a product junkie after you are newly natural. After all, you have to find out what works, right? It’s no big deal if you buy lots of products at first. Don’t feel guilty about it. Some people will say that they were never product junkies…I never believe them. It almost instinctual, I think, to go out and try all kinds of stuff on your hair one your newly natural. It’s fun, and as long as you don’t break the bank while you’re doing it, there’s no harm. The reason I feel that it’s ok is because I know a simple truth about what will happen if you become a product junkie early on in your journey: You will get sick of it. Eventually you’ll stop being a product junkie without even trying. Why? There are two reasons why: (1) you’ll find a few staples along the way, and they’ll work well, so you won’t have to look for new things as often, or (2) you’ll get sick of buying all this stuff all the time and not getting results, so you’ll stop to re-examine what you could be doing wrong. For whatever reason your product junkie-ism subsides, just know that it will. Don’t worry.
6) Don’t Expect Extreme Growth During Your First Few Years.
Don’t worry if your hair doesn’t reach you arm pits, your shoulder or even your chin by the end of year one. Every one’s hair is different, and everyone’s hair needs different things. Your hair will not grow well and maintain its length until you figure out how to make it grow in healthy. That may take you two months or two years or longer. It’s ok if your hair is not growing super fast soon after you big chop. Growing natural hair is a process. It is often a slow process even if your hair happens to grow really fast. Natural hair is often tightly curled and kinky, so shrinkage hides it’s true length. You’ve got to first lock down a regimen that allows for maximum hair growth. That includes the proper techniques and the proper products that suit your hair best. Focus on hair health first, and all the rest will come along after you achieve that.