On your marks, get set…hold up? How do I start returning to natural?
This is a popular question that I get. I was in wholefoods a few of days ago and was served by a young black girl with a head of Indian? Malaysian? Or it may have even been synthetic hair who knows? She commented on my hair and said that it was nice. In my mind I was thinking “my hair hasn’t been moisturised in about 3 days and is a ruffled mess, I could do with something to cover my hair too!” She mentioned that she would like to go natural but doesn’t want to cut all her hair off, and her chemically treated hair is at shoulder length and doesn’t want to lose all that growth. I didn’t have time to engage in a full conversation on how to prepare for returning to natural, apart from nodding my head and smiling.
The encounter I had with this young girl has prompted this blog on ‘Top tips For Returning To Natural’. I feel I have a duty to share knowledge and I failed at this with my young sista in Wholefoods. So this is for the girl in Wholefoods, Natural Curlies wants to help you and others to embrace their beautiful curls, kinks and coils with confidence!
Big Chop or Transition?
There is one of two very clear routes you can take when returning to natural. You can go for the BC (big chop) or Transition. Decide on what you think the best option is for you and your lifestyle. The BC will suite you if you feel that you may become impatient and frustrated with the process of transitioning. Having to manage two very different textures can be a difficult process for some, therefore starting your natural hair journey with a BC may be best for you. For some a BC maybe an opportunity to embrace a shorter natural hair cut also! Others may feel transitioning is the option for them because of work or simply because they would rather keep length to their hair before snipping off those chemically treated ends. The decision is yours but you will know what is right for you when the time comes.
If your transitioning it’s time to start treating your chemically treated hair as if it were natural. Some transitioners begin straightening their natural hair to fit their chemically treated hair, but I would opt to do it the other way round. Your natural hair is delicate and applying heat to it could mean damaging the natural hair you have spent time to grow. You don’t want to have to start growing out the heat damage so be really careful when using heat. I would suggest wearing your hair in styles that create texture to your chemically treated hair. Twists outs, braid outs, perm rod sets and flexi rod sets are a fantastic way of not revealing your transitioning secret.
Educate Yourself Girl
Look for inspiration and encouragement from another naturals that are on the same journey as you or who have been on that journey. Read blogs, watch YouTube videos, go to natural hair events and workshops. There is so much information in abundance out there, and to be honest it is a lot more accessible then it was 10 years ago. The natural hair community has come a long way so never feel like you are doing this journey on your own because there is plenty of support available to you.
This would be a good time to start thinking about the products you use in your hair, that is if you have been using products which do not benefit natural hair in my opinion. Such as products that contain mineral oil, petroleum, silicones and sulphates. A lot of the ingredients in products targeted towards chemically treated hair tend to have unnatural ingredients which create a fake shine and dry out natural hair. This can impact on the growth of natural hair journey. I would look for products that are less harsh with natural ingredients that do not create a lot of excess product on the hair and scalp. This will mean that you will not have to use products with harsh ingredients to remove the product build up from your scalp.
Just Do It
Just do it! Take the plunge and return to natural. I hear a lot of women say they aren’t ready right now, but I will do it next year. Stop putting it off because of timing! If you do there will always be a reason why it isn’t the right time. The right time is NOW, it’s time to embrace the texture that was meant for you.
If you are reading this and think that I have missed something off the list that has helped you, then please leave your comment below, we would love to read them. In the meantime good luck to everyone who is embarking on their natural hair journey and have fun with your new found natural hair texture.