The Natural Hair Journey
There always seems to be a lot of questions when people start talking about natural hair. Some can’t stand the hype, others want to know and see more. If you’re going natural, whether transitioning or cutting all of your hair off and starting over, you’ve got to remember to have realistic expectations. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be excited about the whole process. It’s great, fun, interesting and it can be a challenge.
Do your research. It’s helpful. Google is your friend. There’s a lot of information, conflicting views and opinions out there so you have to learn to be selective and filter what you read and watch. Know that most bloggers and youtubers, like myself, are not experts, we’re simply sharing our experiences and own ‘research’ or assumptions.
Your hair is going to shrink. It’s going to shrink a lot. If you don’t stretch it (with a style or blow out), you’re going to be walking around with half the length you know it really is. But that’s ok. The best advice I can give you is stretch it with braids or twists when you have the time/energy and learn to style it in the shrunken state. Shrinkage does have its advantages. It’s really not all bad. But you have to learn to make the most of your hair at whatever stage or length it is. Remember that it won’t be that way forever and you may find that you miss it when it grows out. So enjoy every stage of the ‘journey’, experiment and see what works for you.
It will seem like everyone else’s hair is growing faster than yours. I’m sure most natural women feel this way. There’s rarely an accurate basis for comparison to be honest. Textures vary so much that hair on 2 different women that might be the same length may look completely different.
Someone with hair that grows quickly who is unable to retain length or keep it healthy is no better off than you with your average growth. I don’t believe in products that claim to make your hair grow faster. There are steps you can take to facilitate growth and to stimulate blood flow in the scalp. But these miracle products that claim to make hair grow really fast do not convince me. They’re normally packed with drying chemicals and pricey too.
There are no short cuts. There’s only time, patience and care.
Following on from growth, it’s important to keep in mind that long hair doesn’t always mean healthy hair. Long, heat-damaged hair with fried, dry, split ends is not hot. We want healthy, soft, full, moisturised hair. That’s the goal. No matter how long it takes, if you’re keeping your hair healthy, moisturised, eating right, and staying hydrated your hair will grow.
Know what I’ve found? A lot of the products work better in other ways. Let me explain…
Butters do more for my hair when it’s almost or completely dry. Only certain leave in conditioners really give me the desired results. The rest of the time I have to use a normal conditioner and then moisturise again later and seal with oil. A lot of women swear by castor oil, saying it makes their hair thicker and glossy. Others claim it has made their hair greasy and prone to breakage. Don’t believe the hype. Try and test these things. I say again, experiment.
Some conditioners work better as leave-ins. Some moisturisers work better as leave in conditioners. Some products are meant to be applied directly on to wet hair may work better on your dry hair. Don’t expect exactly the same results you’ve seen on someone else’s hair. Even if you have similar curl patterns, there are other factors that may affect the way a product works for you; length, density, porosity, condition of hair, how clean your hair and scalp are etc etc.
One of the most unrealistic expectations naturals seem to have is this belief that buying a load of products they see their hair crushes using will change their hair texture, make it grow and look like the hair crush’s hair. Don’t hold your breath. Most of the products the people I admire use do NOTHING for me. MahoganyCurls swears by TREsemme naturals conditioners. She used the product as a leave in and the results were always amazing. Doing that left my hair PARCHED!
Be realistic and work with what you’ve got
Natural hair is amazing. I love it. I love mine. I love everyone else’s too. Although I’d love for my hair to grow as fast as hers and be the same texture as hers and look this way like hers does when she uses so-and-so product I’ve come to understand that this isn’ther hair, it’s mine.
My hair, my experience, my chance to learn and work with my texture.
If you really want to make the most of your natural hair you don’t need to lower your expectations but you need to adjust them to make sure they’re realistic.
Stay healthy, Stay happy, Stay blessed.