I went natural by accident. It wasn’t an accident in the sense that I did intentionally cut off my relaxed ends, but going natural was not on purpose. You see, I have this grand plan to go platinum blonde for New York Fashion Week. The only issue was if I dyed my hair blonde AND had a relaxer I would, with no doubt, end the day with clumps of hair on the floor.
I decided that I could seize on the fact that I had not relaxed my hair in a few months in preparation for getting braids over the summer. My hair was short, so doing the “big chop” was not as traumatic as it is for others. I was in and out of my barber shop in 20 minutes just a couple inches lighter and with almost entirely natural hair (still had a few processed pieces that were cut off during a second chop).
I ran to the beauty supply store to load up on natural hair products. I got home and immediately hopped in the shower. When I got out, for the first time in seven years, I saw texture.
My initial plan was to just wear my hair slicked down, which I did in the beginning. Then one day I woke and decided that I wasn’t in mood for the taxing process of getting my curls to lay flat. From that day on, I rarely slicked it down.
I started to really see my curl pattern and my natural jet black hair color that years of processing had stripped away. Side note, my hair was so brown at points that I actually forgot it was this dark. Eventually it dawned on me, I do not want to dye my hair blonde.
I can’t help but find the irony in it all. I had a plan. Wear my hair slicked down, dyed blonde, and kept short. Instead I rock my super dark TWA and plan to let it grow out to see where it goes. Plan change I guess. Here are few lessons I’ve learned along the way!
I am pretty strong when it comes to the beauty department and have been natural in the past, but at the end of the day I do not know it all. My sister has been natural for about 3 years so she has become my go to. In addition to having done her own extensive research over the years, I know we have a similar texture/curl pattern. Every bit of advice she has given me has been highly beneficial from product to styling tips.
If you don’t have a naturalista in your corner, YouTube is a great asset. It’s busting at the seams with knowledge. Just be sure to take certain tips with a grain of salt. The platform makes everyone an expert and all YouTubers are not created equal.
No two days are the same
This rule could be applied to hair in general, but it is especially true for curly hair. Recreating the exact same style, definition, volume, or all of the above is nearly impossible even if you do it the exact same way as you did it the day before. So, don’t even bother.
Figure out a routine
Find products that work for your texture and stick to it. It’s fun to keep trying something new, but I have found that having certain level of repetition is essential to hair health. I have a set of products I use on wash day and additional products that I use when I am refreshing my curls. More on that below:
Wash Day (once per week)
- The Mane Choice Shampoo : I try to only use shampoo once per month. I have noticed that it is best for me as shampoo tends to really dry my hair out.
- As I Am Cowash: I use this three out of four weeks of the month to deal with product build up. I work through the same way I would with shampoo (including rinse and repeat).
- Eden Bodyworks Natural Deep Conditioner: I deep condition once per week. The best results are when I deep condition overnight.
- Aunt Jackie’s Leave In Conditioner: This product is great when I want my curls to be hydrated yet weightless.
- Shea Moisture Black Castor Oil Leave In Conditioner: This product is essential when my hair needs a little extra TLC. It is super thick and moisturizing.
- Camille Rose Naturals Strength & Restore Oil: I use this oil almost daily as it is great for locking in moisture.
- Eden Bodyworks Curl Defining Cream: I massage in a generous amount and work the product through my curls
- ORS Curls Unleashed Curl Boosting Jelly: I apply this all over and then work into hair with a twisting motion finger curling the ends of my hair.
DevaCurl Mister Right: Depending on state of curls I either spray this all over or directly on sections that seem a little frizzy
I use the oil everyday and occasionally use leave in conditioner and curl boosting jelly. It really depends on how I wake up. If the curls look super frizzy/undefined or feel very dry I use extra product. I try to be as low manipulation as possible.
Bonnets are life
In addition to having a routine, I have developed a deep appreciation for the satin bonnet. Not only does it preserve my hairstyle, it also helps retain moisture and prevent damage. I always wore a scarf to bed when my hair was a relaxed pixie, but the bonnet is new for everyday use.
PS- Apologies to my boyfriend because I pretty much have it on all of the time when I am in my apartment. I realized that every time I lay around on my couch with nothing on, I am potentially damaging my hair. So, I wear the “chef’s hat” as he affectionately call it.
Stop trying to be perfect
I am a perfectionist in every aspect of my life, but when it comes to my hair it’s a whole other level. Appearance is very important to me, but I have had to teach myself to be happy with a good hair day and stop striving for perfect hair everyday.
I started out spending an embarrassing amount of time on my very small amount of hair. I have been learning to embrace the frizz. Not fully there, but working on it!
The natural hair movement is lightyears away from where it was years ago when I was last natural. So the self love has come easier now that it did back then. That being said, in my heart of hearts, I still prefer straight hair and sometimes miss the ease of having a relaxer.
I don’t miss the damage and chemical burns though. So, I am learning to embrace my texture more and more each day. Let’s regroup a year from now!
Are you natural? What was your journey to getting there?