Surviving the First Natural Year (Long)

All experienced naturals can look back on their first year and for a moment feel—excitement, fear, hopefulness, freedom, happiness and even at times discouragement—the very emotions that they felt early on in their new journey. This is my focus for this article. Finishing the first natural year is a great milestone that many have fallen short of because of a few reasons. Going natural often is a difficult decision for many and the scares and lack of social acceptance that they meet is enough to cause them to return to the relaxer and slam the door on such a great journey.

I have compiled a survival guide for all our newcomers. Please take heed to the advice provided and enjoy your journey to the natural side of hair.


Don’t be afraid to experimentthe sad fact is that many of us never learned how to properly care for our hair in its natural state and find ourselves clueless once we decide to go natural. At first, some women note that it is complicated and that they are not getting results with the product that they used during their relaxed years. The truth of the fact is that natural hair still needs to be cared for and the new routines and product rotations that it requires are different from what you used in the past. So, until you learn what products work best for you, it is perfectly OK to experiment with various ones. It is also important to experiment with styles to see which fit you best leave your hair in an absolute state of awe. Wash and go styling was my top choice my first year, it was simple to achieve and looked great on my short curls. You will soon enough learn about your hair and stabilize your routine.

Educate yourself—you would not move to a new country without making every effort to learn the language and culture, if you want to succeed and adjust that is. Well, it’s the same principle. Natural hair is uncharted territory and increasing your knowledge about your hair is key to your adjustment. Thankfully, there are article repertoires online, like Naturallycurly, Nappturality and Motowngirl that provide wonderful educational materials. There are also useful books that you can add to your collection, such as Textured Tresses by Diane DaCosta and Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. Dedicate time to learn about your hair and see how fast you fall in love with every strand.



Document your progressI 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.


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 minimumthis 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 mindthere 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 happennot 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 personal! Just give it space and start over the next day. My experience is that fighting your hair will make it more furious. So, beware!



More articles at Texture Playground


My two strand twists, ten months into my journey.

Video of my first year to come!
My blog : http://www.textureplayground.com/blog





Last edited by Fleurzty; 12-07-2008 at 09:11 PM.
Awesome post!!!!!

And o-m-g THE cutest siggie picture everrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!
3c spirals & corkscrews!
Transitioned Sep'07-Nov'08
BCed 21st Nov 2008!!

My hair likes:
Alba Botanical Leave-in is my irst HG :-)
Condish: AOHR
Co-wash: Original Source Tea Tree Mint
Post-BC hair HATES protein!
Thanks for the post! I'm 6 months into my transition, and these tips are great! Thank you.
Hi Veggiegirl, I hope they can me very useful to you. I will be posting more of this type on my blog. Stop by some time.
My blog : http://www.textureplayground.com/blog




I love this post! Great job, and Thank You!
Fleurzty,

Thank you... thank you... thank you so much!

I'm having a horribly frizzy hair day today (mostly 3C curls - 13 months since relaxer), and I am soooo hating the two textures!

But I've stuck with it because I know once I cut it (sometime January or February), I will have healthy curls.

Your post (and that cute little face!) have lifted my spirits. (And I will check out your blog!)

Have a beautiful day!

"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?' Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night.' "
- Charlie Brown
HEY!!! Follow me at http://www.twitter.com/kurleeedna
Thanks KurleeEdna, I am glad I could help. My son is known to do that, he's my . Your hair is growing and your persistence will pay off.
My blog : http://www.textureplayground.com/blog




Thank you for sharing your experiences. This will help all of us that are transtioning. I am 21 wks, and it can be trying, but I am learning as I go. Others have been kind to answer questions, and hope you don't mind if you are contacted for suggestions as well. Congrats!!! Love your Sweetiepie!!!
Thank you! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I may not know the answer, but I sure will try.
My blog : http://www.textureplayground.com/blog




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