If you are reading this, you probably want to go natural but are a bit hesitant about it, or, you have started your natural hair journey but still trying to find your way. 😉 I went natural three years ago and I wish I was more prepared for what lay ahead. Whether you are transitioning , or doing the big chop, there are a few things that you should bear in mind as you take up your natural hair journey.
1. Learn all you can about your hair/ Research
It’s very important that you understand your hair. Understand your hair texture, your curl pattern, your porosity level (how dry is your hair) , etc. Most of us aim for curly and bouncy natural hair yet we don’t quite understand the natural texture of our kinky hair. Do the research and find out all you can about your hair so that you can give it the best treatment it deserves.
2. Come up with a regimen
Once you have an understanding of your hair type, invest in products that will work best for it. They don’t have to be expensive but they should be effective. Just because product x works for person X, doesn’t mean it will work for you. That is why you should ‘listen’ to your hair as you formulate a regimen. Find out what works for you.
When I did the big chop, I washed my hair so frequently and therefore since most shampoos are harsh and strip off our natural hair oils, I opted to condition my hair weekly. I settled for basic oils I.e, coconut oil, castor oil and olive oil. These actually worked very well for my hair. Basically, if your hair is shorter, it’s easier to come up with a regimen. As my hair grew, it needed more care. I shared my regimen last year here, but this year I am trying out different products and will share the new regimen soon.
The key things to look for when building a good regimen include, a sulphate free shampoo, a conditioner, a protein based deep conditioner (don’t overuse it though since too much protein is also dangerous for your hair) , hair oils that penetrate the strands for daily use as well as Prepoo (e.g. coconut oil), and a sealant to prevent drying. Read this post here to see the products you should always look out for.
3. Embrace the journey
It’s not as hard as you think, but some days it can get really tough. I know we make it look easy, but sometimes it’s not. You just have to have the will to stay natural. There are days I have no idea what to do with my hair. That’s when protective style mode kicks in. But either way, you have to embrace your hair journey, enjoy it, make it fun, try out different styles, try protective styles when you need to. There are so many support groups for naturalistas and they can help you gain confidence and psyche to keep on. E. G. There is Tricias Naturals , Nurtured Knots,etc. Seek inspiration from instagram pages like 4cHairchicks, Healthy Hair Journey, My HairCrush, And yours truly here 😉 Join the community and the hair conversations: you will know that the struggle is not yours alone. But most importantly, avoid comparing your journey to others. Embrace your kinks.
Society is yet to fully accept the naturalista look, I.e. the kinky hair. The older generation is yet to embrace kinky hair. I know it can be tough to rock the Afro look and even tougher if you have not embraced it. But hey, be bold, be you ?
4. Don’t underestimate the importance of deep conditioning your hair.
As a new natural, I overlooked the importance of deep conditioning. Well, you shouldn’t. Our hair is made of protein. With every exposure to sunlight, dust, friction against pillows, plaiting, there is the risk of breakage. Therefore to strengthen the strands, it’s good to deep condition your hair every month with a protein based treatment. You can also use non -protein based but only once in a while.
If you are transitioning, it’s very vital that you do protein treatments often. The effect of relaxers on our strands is that they break protein bonds in the hair that give it the kinky texture. You therefore need to deep condition your hair as it grows so as to have healthier strands.
5. Be patient.
Length takes time. Be patient and enjoy. Healthy hair is more important.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before going natural? I would love to hear from you. (C’mon, comment below or let’s connect on instagram?)
Till next time,
Body suits and high waist pants are bomb, right?
Body suit: Sasa Mall, Nairobi
High waist pants : Bria Styles
For this shoot, I collaborated with the awesome Fashion Stylist, Glen Bryson and photographer, Stephen