Three women with curly hair show off their hair texture standing arm and arm

Image: @dazhaneleahphotos

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by your choice to go natural? We know that the care and keeping of natural curls can be a lot of pressure at first. There's a ton of information online to help you learn but everything is broken down into curl pattern, there are a million different products, and you're not sure what applies to you, your style, and your texture. There is so much to learn about your natural curls and how to care for them that it can definitely feel like information overload. So many of us have made mistakes early on in our transition to that natural life - take it from us and avoid these frustrating oops moments.

1. Don't Overwear Your Protective Style

You really can have too much of a good thing. Protective styles are essential to supporting the quality and health of your hair and helping your hair grow. Over-manipulation of your hair can cause stress, breakage, shrinkage, impediment to growth, and an unhealthy look and feel to your hair and protective styles can help - but there's a limit. Never wear your protective style for longer than 8 weeks; 6 is plenty. A huge part of caring for any type of hair - especially curly and coily textures - is keeping your scalp healthy and giving your scalp and the roots of your hair room to breathe. Try this routine after taking down your protective style to feel revitalized and prevent hair mishaps.

2. Don't Brush Your Hair

The brushes and combs you used for your straightened, relaxed hair is not cut out to be used on curls. If brushed, your curls will blow out and expand, become frizzy, and could experience stress or breakage. The wrong choice of tools can have a massively negative - and long term - impact on your new, natural curls. Choose a wide-tooth comb with stiff, separated bristles to separate and define your curls without frizz, snags and tangling, or damage.

3. Give Your Edges Some Love

The care and keeping of your edges isn't just about the way you look. Of course healthy, cared-for edges will look more polished and beautiful framing your face and supporting the roots of your hair - but there's more to it. To polish your appearance - especially if you're used to the look of chemically treated hair - your instinct may be to pull your edges tightly into protective styles and gel them into place. Resist! Constantly yanking your edges into formation will only cause them to break and strain. Instead, condition your edges, loosen the tension when you style them into place, and keep them nourished with cocoa butter or shea butter.

4. Don't Skip the Deep Conditioner

How does your scalp feel? When transitioning to natural hair, many women feel dry and itchy or irritated. If you're experiencing a dry scalp, your curls won't have enough moisture to travel down your strands and keep them strong and smooth from root to tip. You would benefit from the addition of a deep conditioner. (We love this one from Dominican Magic). The quality and feel of your hair will improve, your scalp will be less itchy and more comfortable, and the overall health of your head and hair will improve drastically by conditioning deeply once per week.

5. Give Yourself Time to Learn

Being a natural girl comes with a lot of lingo and knowledge that takes time to develop. You may feel in a hurry to learn everything you can, try every new product you hear about, and learn everything there is to know about your hair type. The fact is, you're in a growth phase. Your hair type may change and evolve with your growth. The experience you have with different products may change as you grow or learn different tactics. As you transition, be mindful that all you have is time and make sure that you don't pressure yourself to look, feel, or perform self-care in any certain way. This metamorphosis takes time - try to welcome and embrace your texture as it evolves and don't compare yourself to other natural girls who have different hair or more experience than you do. You're doing great.

For more tips for your transition, here are some transition do's, some transition don'ts, and some transition support for you.

Are you transitioning? Let us know your hair struggles in the comments below so we can help you along your journey.