As I approach the one year celebration of my big chop, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what the first year with natural hair has taught me. Hopefully sharing my lessons will help someone else on their journey!
- Persistence is key.
Sure, I’ve broken down in tears a time or two (bad hair days can be incredibly emotional, thank you very much), but we all have our ups and downs on our natural journeys. The hard days just make it that much sweeter when we finally triumph and master that goddess braid after the 6th attempt- woo hoo! For all you new naturals and transitioners, keep at it!
- You get out of it what you put into it.
Remember those nightswhen you went to sleep without your cap? Yikes. A little forethought is always needed when it comes to natural hair.
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Oh yeah, did I mention moisturize?
My relaxed hair didn’t demand nearly as much moisture as my natural hair does. I recently started sticking to a weekly deep conditioning regimen and within a few weeks I noticed much noticeably softer hair! Moisturizing your hair helps make it easier to style and manage and prevents breakage, ultimately leading to length retention. It’s a good idea to spend some time studying what kind of moisture your hair likes and how often it likes it. (Hint: a good place to start is water! 💦 Lots of naturals also like the LOC or LCO method.)
- Contrary to popular belief, silicones, and even direct heat, may not actually be the devil.
All things in moderation, ladies. Silicones and direct heat are not as damaging as they are often portrayed to be. I was so afraid to try Aussie Moist when I first went natural because I had read so many negative things about using silicones, but now Aussie Moist is one of my go-to detanglers. The same thing applies when it comes to using direct heat: just don’t over do it! Like most things in life there is no black and white, or a simple good for your hair and bad for your hair. If you feel like flat ironing your hair, go for it. Just be sure to pace yourself.
- Yes, I am still just as attractive (actually more!) as I was with relaxer and/or weave.
Silly as this may sound to some…one of my biggest fears in returning natural was that I would be less physically attractive. Hair is so intrinsically tied to mainstream ideals of femininity and beauty (hair is a huge reason why Black women have largely been excluded from mainstream beauty standards historically) that I felt like rocking my natural would make me look less attractive. But now that I’m on the other side, I feel so much more beautiful with my natural hair! Besides, my boyfriend loves me, and my hair, and accepts my fro and occasional crooked cornrows, and still calls me beautiful. 💕 (Side note: If you haven’t yet found a man like that, you should definitely keep looking. It’s so freeing just knowing you are loved for who you are naturally.)
- Hello, natural hair; bye-bye, water phobia.
Ahhh, summer! Bring on the sweat, the sand, and the surf! A little rain won’t hurt either.
- Having natural hair is an awesome way to bond with other Black women.
Whether they are natural or not, your hair is a conversation starter for sure, and thankfully it’s almost always a pleasant one with your fellow sistas. Not to mention all the amazing naturals sharing their journey online and through social media, all just to help you along your journey! It’s beautiful really. 😢 #sisterhood 💕
- No two naturals are alike.
So, you’ve finally found your hair twin! You have similar curl patterns, so all the techniques and products she uses will work for you too, right? WRONG. Curl pattern is one of the least significant factors in determining how to care for your hair. It’s much more important to know your hair’s density, how often it likes moisture versus protein, and how porous it is, for example. Face it: there is no shortcut! And while using all the same techniques and products as a popular YouTuber with a similar curl pattern might seem like the easy way out, you’ll save yourself a lot of money and wasted time in the end by spending some time now in studying your own hair. Although knowing the techniques of another with what you think to be similar hair as yours can be helpful in developing your own techniques and regimen, it will never be a perfect match for you. You are an individual, baby!
- I sure am glad I (finally) did it!
I know, I know: it can be scary at first. But embracing the hair that grows out of your head naturally is such a rewarding and freeing experience! The process of self-understanding, self-discovery, and ultimately self-love that learning your natural hair entails is unbelievably fulfilling. 💕
What lessons did you learn in your first year natural?