We've got tips and support for surviving your first year of having natural hair
Document your progress—I can’t stress enough how important documentation is, especially in the early days. It can actually be the difference between continuing and returning to a relaxer. Hair with a natural curl pattern shrinks and without an effort to document your length over time, you might fail to realize that your hair is growing and thriving. Journaling will also show you how much healthier your hair is getting as you go on.
Many naturals can see the results instantly after they stop processing, and our memory can trick us into thinking that our hair was always this healthy and full. And, with online journals (Fotki, PhotoBucket, Flickr, etc.) readily available there really is no reason not to. Journals also help track our good hair days and the styles that suit us best, so that we can survive the bad ones.
Love your curls!
Find a support system—going natural is not always a decision that is supported by our close ones. Personally, I remember the remarks and not so subtle disapproval that I met when I decided to, as one my aunts put it, “go bald.” I won’t even mention some of the horrifying experiences of other naturals. It is no question that our family loves us, but Lord, can they be cruel and discouraging! That said, it is essential to find individuals who share your same experiences and can provide support and comfort to you when needed. In addition, starting a new venture is always more fun when surrounded by like minds. Naturallycurly, Nappturality, and now Texture Playground are wonderful online communities with women (and men) who have had your same experiences and have embarked on the same journey. The advice you will find is invaluable and the friendships you can harvest are just a great bonus.
Keep negativity to a minimum—this is an extension of the previous tip. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to let someone know that you do not appreciate their impolite and destructive remarks. If that does not work and it is a relationship you can do without, keep your distance. Hopefully, they will come to realize that their remarks have caused a divide and try to mend the situation, and if it doesn’t bother them any, now you know.
Keep your goal in mind—there is a reason you wanted to go natural. On days when nothing seems to work, think of that. What was it that made you want this enough to stop relaxing and engage in a process that is so enduring? Our reasons can be a world apart, but I’m sure whatever it is that gave you the courage to venture into naturalhood is powerful enough to keep you going.
Bad hair days happen—not because your hair is natural or kinky or curly! It happens because hair is expressive and opinionated! There are bound to be days when you wake up and your hair had a rough night and refuses to cooperate regardless of how well you care for it or how much you sweet talk it. Don’t take it personally! Just give it space and start over the next day. My experience is that fighting your hair will make it more furious. So, beware!