After seeing an increasing number of women transition to their natural curls, you too are considering leaving the Just For Me box on the shelf. For most women, everything started with that simple decision. From there, most began with a simple Google search. When you insert "how to go natural..." results come up from ehow, naturalhaircommunity, and even chrisitan living. Your first instinct is to look for inspiration via great natural hair photos and then dive into products, techniques and all of the scientific jargon.
Being the Newbie
One phase the natural hair community tends to forget about is how overwhelming the newbie experience can be. Questions of where to start, how to start and even what sites and forums to trust always run in the minds of the eager and confused newbie. At least, for me it did. Even though this new found interest in proper hair care has grown significantly, I'm not too prideful to admit that my initial searches were concerned with what made my hair the softest and cuteness, completely disregarding whether it would provide any health benefits to my locks. You initially look for a good gel and end up in a discussion about pH balance, porosity levels and something about a banana before bed.
As you continue to stumble on 15 solutions for one problem, it can grow increasingly discouraging as you spend time, energy and money purchasing multiple products and trying different methods during your hair care exploration. This journey is exactly that, a journey and although it does take time to listen and become acclimated to what your hair reacts positively and negatively to, sometimes curiosity should just stop at curiosity.
Keep it Simple
I have been on my hair care journey for three years, transitioned to natural for 10 months, and been officially natural for a year. It took a while for me to realize that not only is every solution not appeasing to my hair, but neither are all of them necessary. My wash day is already a two hour process to wash and style. I can't imagine reallocating time from studying, work, family time and prayer to overly nurture my hair. In my short time of learning what may hair does respond to, I refuse to alter my lifestyle for the worst just to continuously try and one up myself (lol).
The biggest mistake to make on the hair care journey is to transform it into something that consumes your life. Moderation is key. Do not allow your new found hair care interest to limit exploration in other areas of your life. If part of being natural is liberating then don't give up the relaxers just to be in bondage to excessive natural hair care.
The last thing you want to do is to miss the mark of this unofficial hair care revolution and run right back to relaxers because you mistook this beautiful experience for a trend or allowed it to consume your life and end in frustration.
Things to Do
1. Create a simple regimen
One way to avoid an obsession that could lead to frustration and discouragement is by establishing your staple method and products. Staples are called staples for a reason. Once you find what works for you, it may be best to stick to it. By experimenting with different products in the never ending hunt for the creme de la creme of products, you may not only damage your hair, but also be unintentionally re-prioritizing your time and spending. There's no reason to spend the whole day pre-pooing, shampooing, co-washing, deep conditioning, hot oil treating, ACV rinsing, black tea rinsing, protein treating, henna treating, moisturizing and sealing. Some methods cancel out others, you learn that with observing your hair and producing a consistent regimen.
2. Stay healthy
Another way to avoid becoming an excessive natural is to assure that you are not neglecting your physical health for luscious locks. Exercise has always been in the doctor's orders. For some reason women are under the impression that being natural will motivate you to increase your workout frequency. Not so much. You may try to avoid working out so that you won't need to wash and restyle your hair, but a healthy body is more important than and can also benefit the condition of your hair.
3. Enjoy the sun
Fun in the sun is also an activity that should not be avoided because you are so conscious of your hair drying to the point of no return. Relax. If your hair is that porous, hats are always available at your nearest department store. Don't become a home-body to assure that your twist-out remains in tact.
4. Take a swim
Swimming is another health promoting, fun activity that many naturals avoid. Although chlorine and salt water aren't anyone's best friend, your hair is not a valid reason not to spend time with your loved ones in the water. Even though much of the natural hair community is anti-shampoo it will actually help cleanse your hair with a gentle shampoo after swimming.
Too much of anything is never good. Moderation is key. Many naturals realize this after being exhausted with a product junkie phase. You can quit while you're ahead if you know you have a good, working regimen. Then you can relax and enjoy your natural curls, not obsess over them. Wearing and taking care of your hair in its naturally curly state should be just one positive part of your life. Yes, becoming a part of the naturally curly community and obtaining new knowledge is exciting, but it should not take precedence over your loved ones and other life priorities.
Has your new interest in your natural curls become overwhelming? Does it take up all your extra time and attention? How have you avoided becoming obsessed about your natural curls?