For the last year and a half I have been embracing my natural curls. My curli-versary (or the day I big-chopped) was last month on December 6th 2016. It was a day I was looking forward to. I knew if I could make it through the first year of being 100% natural I was likely never going back to chemically relaxed hair. As excited as I was, I was so busy that I totally missed my curli-versary! I was having so much fun on a ski trip that it completely skipped my mind. So I've taken some time here to reflect on my experience and provide you with some tips in case you are thinking about going natural.
So what have I learned? The biggest lesson is that its a lot of work taking care of naturally curly hair. Using the right products for your hair type is so important and will make all the difference. I started off being a product junkie. I wanted to use all the products I saw the natural girls using on You Tube. I quickly learned that most products do not work on my hair. Here are some questions I've been asked since going natural:
Q: Will you ever straighten your hair again?
A: Yes, probably. However, I will only get a silk press and only do it a few times a year. One of my goals is to not use heat on my hair beyond deep conditioning and partially diffusing my wash-n-go's.
Q: What is the most important thing to know about natural hair?
A: Determine your hair type from the very beginning. By hair type--I do not mean the curl pattern (i.e. 3b, 4c, etc.). I'm referring to your hair's porosity. You need to know if you have high porosity hair, low porosity hair, or somewhere in between. Porosity refers to your hair's ability to absorb moisture. I have low porosity hair. My hair hardly absorbs any moisture at all!! This means that I can not use creams at all because my hair does not absorb them. Any kind of cream based product just dries on top of my hair strands and starts to flake. Not cute! There are basically only 3 products I use at this point: water, vegetable glycerin, and sweet almond oil.
Q: Did you big chop right away or did you grow your roots out first?
A: I tried to grow it out and just trim my hair until all my chemically damaged hair was gone. It didn't work because my hair would so hard to manage and the natural hair kept getting tangled in my straight hair. It was annoying. I lasted 6 months and then I woke up one morning and decided to big chop it myself. I felt liberated immediately. While I advocate the big chop I do think you should ONLY do it when you are ready. It is a drastic change and you need to be ready for it.
My 5 tips for taking care of your natural hair:
- Develop a care plan. Figure out what products work for your hair and stick to it. Your hair will thrive and grow.
- Get ready for the awkward phases. Unless you plan on keep your hair short, be prepared to find protective styles to get you through the growth process. Finger coils were my go to style for the awkward phase!
- Be patient! Just like a watched pot doesn't boil-- your hair won't grow if you obsess over the length.
- Keep your hair protected at night. Either sleep with a silk bonnet, scarf, or pillow case. Cotton is not your friend and will dry your hair out.
- Embrace your curls. Love your hair for what it is and do not compare yourself to others. Your curls are beautiful no matter what texture you have!
Here are some pictures of my chemically relaxed hair before I went natural and right after my big chop:
The fabulous ski trip that made me forget all about my Curl-iversary!
That's the skinny on my hair! I am by no means an expert but I wanted to share my natural hair journey experience with you. Post your questions and comments below.