1. You will feel like every other natural person’s hair looks better than yours.
You will see the most experienced natural-haired women AFTER you begin your journey. Before you go natural, you may see a few women with a fro here and there but after you go natural, you will see the women who look like they just stepped out of an issue of Essence magazine. Their curls are flawless, twist-outs epic and blowouts spectacular. This will discourage you quite a bit, especially if the women have longer hair. You may even want to rush the hair growth process so that you can find yourself on a level worthy to compete with them.
At that point, this will happen…
2. You will start looking into as many secrets to growing your hair as possible
Now this scenario is more accurate for the girls who either do the big chop or those who start their natural journey with the small fro. If you are one of these two girls, you will find yourself looking in the mirror every day and stretching out your curls, trying to map out if your hair has grown any longer since the night before. For the longest time, it will seem like it never does.
So this is typically when you go online and read forum after forum on women have used products, such as Hairfinity vitamins, to grow their hair faster. Now, depending on who you are, you will either try them or simply say “forget it.”
Either way, you will begin to explore additional options to achieve longer, (and more importantly) healthier hair. You will learn that your hair could also benefit from the use of more natural product. At this point, you will move on to the next step in your natural journey…
3. You will be an advocate for using only natural/organic products in your hair…for about 6 months
The first few months of being natural are liberating. This is normally when you will begin to see the benefits of letting your hair off of its chemical leash: it is softer, it grows faster, it is thicker, etc. With this comes the inevitable feeling that because of this, you need to treat it like your baby. After all, this is fresh start. You begin to nurture it with organic coconut washes, shop for products free of petroleum or alcohol, complete hot oil treatments regularly. You may even experiment with homemade conditioners made out of things like eggs, avocado or mayonnaise.
However, with your natural hair journey will come growth. After all, it is what you always prayed for. However, something unexpected will begin to happen: your hair will not respond the same to the methods you’ve been using and you will soon find yourself trying to find anything to make it manageable.
You will start caring less and less about whether or not there is petroleum in your products and more and more about what products will allow you to comb my hair. This leads into the next fact…
4. You will become a hair product hopper
Now, there is nothing wrong with this. Embracing your natural hair calls for quite a bit of trial and error. After all, you are becoming reacquainted with a part of yourself that you never really had to deal with before. You do not know what will work and what will not. It could take a while to find a product that works with your hair.
This can be a grueling process but you may be lucky enough to a few products that work miracles for you and eventually, something mesmerizing will happen: your hair will begin to grow.
And once this happens…
5. You will jump for joy when you can make your hair into a small afro puff.
Nothing is more exciting than the day you realize your small fro can now fit into a ponytail holder. It will put behind you any fear you had of your hair not growing and give you an appreciation for the little things (pun intended). If this stage does not happened to you, just give it time and you will see what I mean.
Once this happens, you will be more determined than ever to find new hairstyles to support your growth you will go online with some much hope.
Until this happens…
6. You will go to YouTube for styling advice only to find tutorials from girls with obnoxiously gorgeous hair.
This is perhaps the most annoying fact of all. In my experience, some the most successful video channels on YouTube are created by girls who have no idea what the 4c curl struggle is like (here is a good guide to finding your curl pattern http://naturallydivinebeauty.com/hair-types/curl-pattern-id/). They are the ones whose edges only require a dab of gel to stay down or the ones whose hair actually grows downward instead of up and out. However, all is not lost.
Hopefully, you will search through enough hair videos to find someone with your pattern; they are out there you just have to know where to go. If you are persistent enough, you will eventually find the perfect tutorial to follow. The hairstyle in the video will be everything you could have ever wanted and you will make it your business to follow it to the letter.
And then, this will happen…
7. Your hair will not look the same way it did in the tutorial.
Now, you will critique every step you did and wonder where it all went wrong. If you are dedicated enough, you may even wait it out and try the tutorial again. If this is you, I wish you much success and pray to the natural hair gods that you figure it out.
However, if you are anything like me, then you will easily agree with this next step
8. Beanies and decorative scarves become your best friend.
When all else has failed, you will inevitably have a day when you are fed up with your hair not cooperating and you will throw in the towel. And, also inevitably, if bad hair days are not your thing, you will invest in a beanie or a scarf. You may even find some decorative ones that go with your outfit, invest in a few different pair of earrings to dress the look up a bit; anything to make the chaos look intentional.
And this will be your look…
…that is until your hair decides it is ready to outgrow every beanie you own. Your hair will pull out a page out of the book of life and force you to deal with it.
Once your made the decision to move on from beanies, you will learn this:
9. Hair maintenance will become your part-time job
Be prepared to invest many precious hours a week to hair maintenance. This includes washing, conditioning, styling, detangling, you name it. Whatever the process, IT WILL TAKE A WHILE! Wash and go’s will work towards the beginning of your journey however, the longer your hair gets the longer it’ll take to manage. It will be frustrated and annoying ESPECIALLY detangling. There are days when I have literally had to make time in my schedule simply to detangle my hair.
With all the struggle, there will almost seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. That is until you discover…
10. Most of your experimental hairstyles will come out better than your intentional ones.
Many of the days that my hair has come out looking amazing had to do solely with experimentation. This will give you hope and inevitably inspire you to find what works for your hair. The internet can be helpful but it can be very daunting to beginners of the natural hair journey.
Embracing my natural hair has been the most exciting, challenging, confidence-building experience of my life and I am only 4 years into it. There are many things I am still learning but it is excited because it is new.
To those well into the natural hair journey and for those just beginning, embrace this challenge! I promise you it is worth it. Even if you have started multiple times and could not do it, I urge you to keep trying!
Other things that are likely to happen when you go natural:
- You find yourself looking at a ton of natural hair pics during this journey so prepare to go berserk liking pages on Facebook dedicated to natural hair.
- You will often contemplate throwing in the towel: It is very likely your hair will not grow how you want it to but don’t give up! I assure you it will grow on you…literally lol
- You will have at least one friend who makes going natural look easy: This is the friend whose hair is always on point.
- PEOPLE WILL STARE! Especially those who have witnessed your transition.
- You will encounter people who are overly fascinated and will want to touch it.
- It will be the most challenging yet rewarding decision of your life.