Photo by Freddie Harrel
I can look back over the past ten years and see a lot of changes in my life as well as my hair since I have gone natural, and while I have made several mistakes along the way, I treasure them for making me a wiser natural. There are a few things I wish I knew about earlier that could have made my journey less painful, so hopefully insight from my experience will make your transition much easier. 

Climate will greatly affect your products

My hair responds differently in a dry climate in comparison to a humid one, so when I travel I have to pack my hair care products accordingly. I wasted many a trip looking like a frizzy mop or a dusty rag before I realized the difference. In humid climates I have to use ingredients that respond well to humidity, such as thicker products to combat the frizz. Lesson learned.

You can wear a wash and go

I always envied women who could just wash and go. I would avoid water and use grease. I hated grease and hated the chemical bondage I found myself locked into. I also loved curls and knew how ridiculous it was to get a relaxer, come out with bone straight hair, and then roll set my hair for curls. Now, I have naturally coily hair and love it. I hate that I had to wait until I was 35 to find that out, but I have no idea what my hair looked like when I was a child so I had no clue what to expect.

Read more: Top 10 Wash and Go Tutorials for Type 4 Hair

Ingredients do matter

Before going natural I never looked at the back of a product. It never occurred to me to not solely believe the marketing claims on the front of the packaging. Some brands will highlight coconut oil or “all natural” on the front but when you look at the label you see that those desired ingredients are actually at the bottom of the ingredients list. I now know to turn the bottle around and I am a better consumer as a result.

I now know to turn the bottle around and I am a better consumer as a result.

My hair prefers natural oils, butters, and plant-based ingredients. Once I figured out what was in products I was able to narrow down what made my hair look and feel better, which spilled over into my other personal care products.

Your salon connection will not be the same

I tried to continue being connected at the hip to a hair salon once I became natural and it was a waste of money and time. I do go to the salon for cuts and color but I can handle everything else quite well myself. When going natural everything changes, from the products you use to the salon you choose and how often you visit.

Read more: This Writer Says The Natural Hair Movement "Killed" the Black Salon

It takes time

It took time for me to find the right products and regimen. I make sure to tell newly naturals this all the time so they can ride it out much better than I did.

Learning about my natural hair allowed me to become a smarter and more informed consumer. I became an expert on Sabrina’s coils and an expert on finding out what is in products. Yes, hindsight is all-knowing but trial and error makes the journey worthwhile.

Follow Freddie (pictured above) here:

Freddie Harrel and Instagram

What do you wish you knew before returning natural?