And for those who have decided to just start your natural hair journey...
Here’s how to’return’ natural in 2017…
Look at your image in the mirror.
What do you see? Ask yourself ‘Why do I want to return Natural? Because you want to get to know yourself? Because you’ve seen other naturalistas and realize how beautifully amazing what you have, or what you could potentially have is? Or is it the ‘IN’ thing now. Everybody’s returning natural and you no go carry last.
Why are you returning natural? You will need a solid reason, because this will be the back bone of your journey. And when push comes to shove, this will stand between you and your decision go back to creamy crack (relaxers). Why I went Natural; see my natural hair journey
At this point returning natural is somewhere on the list. Maybe not Top 5 on the New Years resolution list but it’s somewhere!
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step! (I love this quote!!) Your first step here should be research. Take it from me, you don’t want to start in on this journey totally clueless! Chances are you most probably have been on creamy crack from the age of 6, if you were lucky age 10 and you have little to no idea how to deal with your kinks. Gourg on beautiful natural hair images on Pintrest, follow natural hair vloggers on YouTube, google about natural hair and read natural hair blogs. This is also a good time to get a small book to document your findings.
Know that black hair is different
Yes your hair is SPECIAL! We like to say MAGIC! I mean it makes history all the time!
It has been proved scientifically that black hair has specific structural features that make it differ from other hair types. These differences are responsible for excess breakage, splitting of the hair shaft, knotting (SSK’s), shrinkage and all the other magical stuff that come with being natural.
It is also known to have fewer cuticle layers than any other hair type. So NO it won’t blow gloriously in the wind (until many years), you can’t run your fingers through it every other minute, and it certainly don’t wake up looking bed-head fab. You will learn to love it for what it is.
Reality Check! NATURAL HAIR IS NOT FOR LAZY PEOPLE!
If you followed the steps above, by now you may (or may not) have realized the effort other Naturalistas go through to get moist healthy-looking fros.
Its point-blank simple! Natural Hair is not for lazy people! It will cost time and effort to learn to understand your hair, the way it behaves, products its responds to, how to style etc. You will spend a fair amount of time watering your coils to keep it strong and fight breakage. I like to liken growing natural hair as to growing a plant. You have to water, protect, trim, cultivate it before it blooms.
When people refer to ‘LAZY NATURALS’ it’s about being laid back when it comes only to styling. All the other ground work of washing, conditioning and moisturizing is ALWAYS done. And that’s ok! You will find that the more you leave your hair alone, the faster it will grow.
Know that Natural Hair does not have to be Expensive.
Truth be told the only expense you will really need to invest in once you gain an understanding of who you are and how your hair works is Time. Using fancy products and styling tools are for the ones who want and can afford to. The term Natural will start to apply in every sense once you begin your journey and you will notice more life changing decisions in your lifestyle. You can be natural with just African Black soap, Shea butter and braids every other month as the next naturalista with the entire range of Caro’s Daughter and stocks of styling tools. It just a matter of choice really!
BIG CHOP OR TRANSISTION?
Even if it feels like the end of the world, remember there are worse things in life than cutting your hair. No one can explain to you in words the feeling of triumph, bravery and confidence that comes with shaving your hair off. Because at that moment, it will just be about you and you alone. And this only the tip of the iceberg of the wonderful burst of emotions you will experience on your journey. This feeling my not come immediately and perhaps not even in the next few months following your big chop. Till now I have not heard of a anyone who did the BC and have regretted their decision.
Most people who transitioned will tell you one thing, its haaaarrrrrdddddd bruh. Except you intend to forever keep your hair in braids or any protective style you love until your coils grow to a length you are comfortable with seeing, you will need to prepare even more for the work of caring for multiple texture of your head. Another thing with transitioning is that you will spend more time in general getting to understand your kinks than you would if you BC and baby step from day one. And seriously,who would want to miss Teeny Weeny Afro(TWA) stage????
Budget your 5 years
You’ve done the big Chop! Subscribed to Natural Hair Channels on YouTube, followed all the amazing natural hair blogs and naturalistas for hairspiration and you stay dreaming every day about your bra-strap length of glorious kinks that will belong to you.
Before frustration comes knocking on your door, let me quickly tell you to budget at least 5 years of growing time to achieve that . From what I’ve seen from long haired naturalistas, it takes about 4 to 5 years to get that big hair shoulder length after shrinkage kinda look. And from experience it takes about 2 years to even begin to understand the phenomenon that is our hair.
Everything is personalised in this game! What works for others may not work for you. Chances are you will do another big chop within your first 1-2 year on your journey. Sounds far-fetched? Just ask the nearest Naturalista. So you should actually be budgeting 7 years for that jaw dropping length most of dream of. LOL, it’s not that serious though. But for the first 2-3 years, try to focus more on the overall health of your strands and less on length.
Document your Journey
Once you establish in the corner of your mind that a huge afro won’t just grow on your scalp overnight, and that you will need to work for it, you know to relax and enjoy the journey. It’s not just a thing that we say. It really is a Journey, one of self-discovery. We have to learn things our mothers never knew and taught us. Keep a hair journal, start a blog, take length check photos. DO whatever it takes to keep your head and hair in the game, forming the habits of caring for your hair, finding out things that work and don’t. There is nothing more motivating than proof of progress!
Returning Natural is so much more than hair. To me it’s the one of the most self-empowering decision a black woman could make. I mean dealing with everything that comes with being woman, and then having our type of hair?? Talk about Super-Women!
I hope these steps help to guide you on your decision to returning natural. For more insight on natural hair Download my free e-book NappyHair by Ese|Guide to Beautiful Healthy Hair and to subscribe to NappyeseTv on YouTube for more Natural Hair care tips!
These post may also help:
All the best for the New Year♥ and see you on the other side!!