I have been natural since 2009 and it hasn’t always been an easy journey, especially since I transitioned for 24 months. There were many times when I wanted to quit and go back to a relaxer, but I didn’t want to give up on my overall goal, which was to achieve healthy hair. Some women may think that going natural is not for them and choose not to continue on their journey. It’s not uncommon to find your transition back to natural hair as challenging, but it’s helpful to know why and ways to overcome them. 

1. Comparing Your Hair to Other Naturals

This is the biggest downfall that I notice with many natural women. There is certainly nothing wrong with looking to other women for inspiration on your natural hair, but the trouble comes when you are constantly comparing the state of your hair to someone else’s. I would always get comments like, “Man, I can’t wait until my hair is your length.” I know that most women seek long length, but everyone’s genetics are different. Fine hair is more delicate than coarse hair and some have a longer anagen phase in their hair growth cycles than others. Also, using the hairstyling techniques of someone whose texture doesn’t resemble yours doesn’t help either. Try not to compare your hair to other naturals so much because it can sometimes be very disappointing and discouraging. Focus on the health of your hair, do what works for you, and be realistic with your expectations when incorporating tips from others.

2. Lacking a Consistent Regimen

Another reason you may fail in your natural hair journey is because you don’t have a regimen. Many women just go with the flow and don’t really create a regimen. Having a natural hair regimen in place will help you better understand your hair and also help keep you on track. Check out my hair care regimen from start to finish if you need guidance on where to start.

3. Not Having Patience

Patience is key for continuing on your natural hair journey. If you don’t have patience, you will quit tomorrow. If you are serious about your natural hair journey you will find that it definitely takes patience to deal with the changes in your hair, your regimen, maintenance, and styling. Healthy natural hair does not happen overnight. It will take time to learn what products work for you, which styles look best on you, and what’s needed for you to retain length. My suggestion is to just take your time, learn your hair, and be patient. You will find that it will all be worth it in the end.

4. Not Seeking Professional Help When Needed

Even though I can care for my own natural hair at home, it is just as important that I visit my hairstylist. I visit my beautician at least 3-4 times a year for a trim, to straighten my hair, and to make sure that I am on the right track when caring for my natural hair. Your stylist can also help you develop a hair care regimen that fits your needs and goals. I have developed a very good relationship with my stylist. She knows what my hair’s needs and has the professional eye to catch things I can’t detect, especially in the back of my head. It is important to find a hairstylist that you trust for services that are best left to the professionals, such as cuts and colors.

So hang in there and don’t give up. You will reach your natural hair goals in no time! Cheers to great hair in 2017!

Read next: 4 Reasons You Still Need a Stylist and Don’t Overthink Your Hair Care Regimen

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