Going natural is a journey, start it off on the right step.
PHOTO COURTESY OF STYLEGALLIVANTER
Let’s just call a spade a spade. Resolutions are hard---even the easy ones.
So why do we make them? Well, because it makes us feel good about instituting real change in our lives. It makes us feel proactive. And if one of your resolutions this year is crossing hair relaxers off your shopping list and joining the growing membership of the natural hair movement, keep reading---help is here.
First things first, what does “going natural” even mean? By common definition, it simply means saying “hasta la vista” to your relaxed hair so you can experience and relish its natural texture. This is a voyage or a process that can last anywhere from a few days to a few years. Here are a few travel necessities that will make this trip, however long or short, more scenic.
Getting to the base of the basics
Let’s examine some Natural Hair 101 basics. Hair, specifically natural hair, is like caring for a plant or baby. It needs things---all the time.
The most vital of those things is moisture (water).
The moisture needs to be preserved or “sealed in” with natural oils after spraying it with water (water bottles are your best bet) and these things need to be done with consistency or just like a plant or baby, it can become dehydrated and very unpleasant to care for.
Is ALL hair “natural” ready?
Despite popular belief and all of the bouncy afros that leap from the television screen, computer monitor, and the latest issue of “ANYONE can go natural”, not everybody can achieve the same amount of volume because not everyone’s hair has that bushy density that expedites the process (and it IS a process) of going natural.
For example, if your hair is a little on the thin side, it’s not practical to commit to the reality that once you’re all natural, your hair is going to bounce off screens onto your head. It may take some time. But, be patient---it’s been rumored that it’s worth it.
The more you know, the further you grow
If you’re standing in the store check-out line and overhear a woman saying, “I’m a 3c and I just can’t find anything that works for me.” No, she is not referring to her breast cup size (even if you are in a lingerie store), she is referring to a classification table that groups hair based on curl pattern.
It’s important to know your hair type because it will help to define or customize your needs in this process.
Once you have that piece of information, other things to consider are hair sensitivities, how porous your hair is, what products work best, the thickness of your hair, and last but not least, its texture.
All these things will get you that much closer to smoother ride to naturalville.
Don’t overdose on product
In other words, don’t let your bathroom cupboard and sink space become a meme-worthy .gif for product hoarders.
Sure, there will be trial and error when combing through the consortium of available products trying to find ones that make your hair smile, but this can be a VERY costly practice.
To avoid as many wrong turns as possible, ask lots of questions of people who share your hair texture, talk to your stylist (or find one that specializes in natural hair, specifically YOUR type of hair texture), and research as much as possible BEFORE buying products.
Detours are OKAY
Because the journey to natural hair can be longer for some, it’s okay to either do it in phases and not go directly to the BIG CHOP. Feel free to experiment along the way with transitions like extensions, or maybe the old yet still fabulous, hot comb.
Perhaps, you’ll get almost all the way there or not even in the car yet and decide to nix the idea altogether. That is OKAY too. It’s just hair --- though important, it is accented part of a beauty you can control in so many ways. Plus, who says that resolutions only belong to the New Year?! Carpe Diem!