Having just chopped off all of my hair and feel all new again, I got to thinking about what it was like when I decided to stop relaxing my hair and first went natural. This was back in 1998, and at the risk of sounding like an old timer, I gotta say, you naturals have it good today, better than I had it back then. There was no Curly Nikki or even Wonder Curl back then. Nope, there was one or two sites about natural hair, and they weren’t that useful to me. And don’t even get me started on YouTube. It’s all good, because going through the “struggle” has enabled me to give great anecdotal stories to you newbies as well as appreciate my hair that much more. With that, I am here to impart my wisdom to you so that you don’t have to struggle as much as I did. You’re welcome.
1. Don’t be afraid of your hair.
This is easier said then done. At first, you’re in love with the curls that are growing out of your head. You stare at them and think “Wow, look at all these curls.” But, as your hair grows you start to realize “whoa, look at all these friggin curls, what on earth will I do?” This has happened to the best of us. I’ve texturized in the hope of taming the curl, but this didn’t do anything for the thickness of my hair and really, it caused damage. I discovered the flat iron, this was great until my hair completely stopped curling and my hair got thin. Finally, I just stopped, took a breath and started over for the third time with patience.
2. The back of your hair is probably the softest. Remember how you used to relax your hair and refer to the back as your ‘kitchens’? (I never got that joke btw.) Well, now that you’re natural, most likely what you thought were ‘beedie bees’ are really soft, fine hair that you can’t keep your fingers out of. You then start to fantasize how much easier your life would be if only all of your hair could be more like the back. Which leads me to…
3. There’s like 3-5 different textures of hair on your head. In addition to the soft back of your head that probably has the loosest curl pattern, the center of your head might be the coarsest, the front curls just right, but one side is thicker than the other. Well, at least that’s what it’s like on my head. It’s as if a bunch of different people decided to get together and have a party on my head. This only becomes more noticable as your hair grows too. And that’s the best segueway to…
4. It only feels like your hair isn’t growing because of shrinkage.
Shrinkage to us naturals is like the biggest joke of them all. You know your hair is growing because it’s the healthiest it has ever been. But, you have to pull it down to show everyone how far you’ve come along, and then everyone marvels at both how long your hair has gotten and how short it is at the same time. It’s not a game.
5. Hair with product is totally different from hair without product. You know that friend who can literally wash and go and her curls are fantastic, I’m not her. My hair, when dried to its own devices is a giant bush where things gets lost like a giant purse. My hair with product looks like a completely new texture. People ask, “What did you do?” or “How did you get your hair like that?” That, my friend, is the power of product, and sectioning, and waiting to dry and not touching my hair for a week.