Going natural is no easy task--it wasn’t easy for me, and it probably won’t be easy for you. Being healthy in all respects is so necessary, and that includes having a healthy head of hair. Ridding your hair of harmful chemicals, heat and unnecessary manipulation is important and good for you in the grand scheme of things, but it doesn’t mean it is a smooth ride.
Going natural is like having a baby--every woman’s journey is different, and no matter how much literature you read, it’s never the way you expect it to be. I would say I have a combination of 3B, 3C and 4A hair, and before I went natural I chemically straightened my hair and straightened my hair daily for the span of 5 years.
I finally decided to go natural around 5 months ago when I became more active and couldn’t keep up with the time commitment needed to maintain my straight tresses. Admittedly, my broken flat iron helped catapult the decision. I used to straighten my hair daily, with no natural hair days in between. Then one day, I went cold turkey and just stopped.
Here are some of the things that I discovered:
My curl pattern changed
Finding the right routine
Learning about myself
As a child, my hair was more wavy/ curly, falling into the 3A category. Consistent artificial manipulation changed my curl pattern in ways I had no idea was possible. My hair changed from being 3A to an erratic combination of 3B, 3C and 4A, leaving behind no signs of my previous spirals. This was a hard blow- especially since my hair was already difficult to take care of with one texture. Having to learn to care of three new hair types made me want to pull every single rebellious strand out in frustration.
I constantly heard about how difficult it is to find the right routine with natural hair, and like ghost stories, I chose to ignore them. But the stories are true. There are so many factors that go into taming a natural mane--humidity, a cloudless sky or a light drizzle, products used, the amount of water in your hair, air drying vs. blow drying… The right routine is a fine art, and finding it can take months, even years. Your body is constantly changing, and the needs of your hair change with it too. The key to keeping your sanity is taking each day as it comes, embracing your good days and shrugging off the bad ones.
Shrinkage is probably one of the biggest factors that deter women from going natural - the time commitment that goes into growing out your hair can be ludicrous. When straight, my hair would touch my lower back. It took me over 3 years to get my shoulder length hair to that length. The intensity of shrinkage depends on the day; some days my hair is down to my lower back, and other days my hair is up to my shoulders. The inconsistency can be frustrating, especially on days when it seems like I’ve lost half my hair.
The amount of products, hairstyles and routines out there is overwhelming. Trying to figure out where to start made me feel like I was drowning. Should I do a twist-out or a braid-out? Should I sleep on silk sheets or cotton? Is silicone serum good or bad? Should I use coconut oil or shea butter? All the options and terms were so overwhelming that I didn’t know where to start. What I learnt was taking it one step at a time and experimentation is the only thing that works for me.
I had no idea how much I would learn about myself when I went natural. I learnt life is full of full of ups and downs, and that embracing the good days and letting go of the bad days was key to maintaining my sanity.
|"I had no idea how much I would learn about myself when I went natural."