It’s been seven months since I decided to let my curls, coils and my kinks bask in all of its glory!! These seven months have been filled with failed hairstyle attempts, classes at YouTube University, and several trips to the beauty supply store. It’s been a ride and I can honestly say I wasn’t prepared for what I got myself into. Yep, I read articles, I spoke to friends, and watched YouTube tutorials, but I was in over my head. I’m sharing seven lessons I learned on my natural hair journey, so far. But first let me tell you my story.
My last relaxer was January 2010. I rocked my natural hair, but it had to be straightened. I also wore protective styles. I stayed weaved up, sew-ins down. I hardly ever wore my natural curls. Probably twice in 10 years. So, practically never. But last year I seriously started to flirt with the idea of my natural hair on television.
My former executive producer encouraged me to wear my curls. She would always ask, “when are you going to go natural?” I never really had an answer. In my head I decided, I would go for a test run on my Christmas vacation. I was going to be out for a week. So here was the game plan: Get my sew-in removed, wear my hair pressed on air for a few days, and towards the end of my vacation wash my hair and see how I like the curls.
If I didn’t like it, I would get my hair pressed again and then back to the sew-in. Well, I never followed through and it was a day before I was scheduled to go back to work . I had to just go for it. I washed my hair, used the little products I had at the house and prayed I didn’t look like a fool in the morning.
The hair gawds were on my side. It actually looked cute. Super short, but cute. And short is also cute. I just wasn’t used to seeing myself with short hair. So after some nudging and procrastination on my behalf I’m now letting my curls do the dang thang.
I’m happy with my decision, but it hasn’t been easy at all. Let me give you the real truth on how what’s it like going natural. Here are seven things I learned so far on my natural hair journey.
It Costs to Be The Boss:
I thought I was going to save a coin by going natural. No longer was I spending $200 plus on Sew-ins and nearly $500 on hair. I thought this journey was going to be cheaper. I lied to myself. It’s expensive to try this natural life. The highest expense so far has been the price of hair products.
I’m paying any where from $15 to $20 for one styling product and that’s just one styler. I have multiple stylers in my arsenal. Let’s not forget shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, conditioning caps, styling tools, and much more.Because I’m heavy handed I run out of product quickly and have to re-up on my favorites often.
Wash Day Is Really A Day:
In the beginning washing your hair is like pulling a shift at a job. Once you determine a routine the process won’t be as timely. In the beginning I was pre-pooing my hair. That caused me to use more product and more time. It was an additional step I didn’t need.
Wash day requires several steps and depending on the hairstyle I’m attempting just add another 50-11 steps and another hour or two to the process. And let’s not forget drying time.
I’m a wash and go girl because that’s the only style I like on me right now. It’s also the only style that comes out like I hope it will.
The wash and go from shampoo to the final product application takes about three hours. Air drying my hair will take another 10 hours. I wish that was a lie, but air drying my hair is time consuming, but I’m not in the business of putting a lot of heat on my hair.
So the next time a girl tells you they can’t hang out because it’s wash day, believe her!
Your Journey, Is Your Journey:
I’ve said it before and this is no different. Comparison is the thief of joy. Embrace your own journey. If you’re always looking at the next person you’re not focusing on yourself and the growth of your own hair.
I understand, it can be so discouraging to see others having major hair growth with curls that are so juicy, While you’re still in your big chop and TWA phase. Don’t let it get you down. Your time will come. More importantly, all hair is good hair. All hair is beautiful if its healthy!
Health Is Wealth:
Natural hair doesn’t mean it’s healthy hair. That’s the furthest thing from the truth.
Sadly, some assume just because they’re relaxer free, it means they’re sitting with a head of healthy strands. Yes, ditching the chemicals is the start to hair health, but not the only step.
Make sure you’re keeping your hair moisturized, trimmed, and keep your body hydrated. It also helps to develop a regimen that works for you.
It shrinks, No seriously It SHRINKS:
I’ve heard the girls say shrinkage is a reality in the natural hair world BUT experiencing it first hand was another ball game. When my hair is pressed its down my back. When it’s curly, my strands hit my bra strap and depending on the wash day the curls could fall just below my chin. I had to get over this quick. Shrinkage will happen. It’s inevitable. How much shrinkage depends on the person, the styler , and the hair style you’re planning to wear.
Every Style Isn’t For You:
This is something I had to learn the hard way. I’ve tried twist-outs multiple times. I tried braid outs, rods, and flexi rods. All failures. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but the only style that’s tried and true, is the wash and go!
But even that style can have its moments. As you know, no two days are alike. My wash and go’s can look different from week-to-week even if I follow the same steps down to the letter.
I haven’t given up on trying new styles. I’m going to nail the twist out and a flexi rod set before the year is out. Wish me luck!
Self Doubt & Insecurity Will Happen:
Not going to front but I wondered if I would look cute with my natural hair. Crazy, I know. But like many women I was conditioned to believe there was a certain standard of beauty. Women with straight and silky hair were the definition of beauty. Plus, I’ve literally been wearing sew-ins for nearly a decade and really forgot what my hair looked like. I wondered if I would be as confident with the curls as I was with the silky smooth hair. Glad I didn’t give these thoughts too much validation. Honestly I surprised myself with how confident I felt after a few months with my new hairstyle.
Everything I was concerned about like maintenance, products, and costs turned out to be valid concerns. It’s a commitment. I seriously reactivate my curls every morning for work. That requires water and a touch of product. And it costs money to try all these products out to find out what works for me. I’m still working on that and when I say working on that I mean spending more money. Ha!
What I’m most proud of is how this decision now brings representation and more diversity to the mainstream. I’m a black woman with her natural hair on television reporting the news. I realize now how important it is for young girls to see someone that looks like them. I hope they see themselves through me. And that little girl could be anyone of my five nieces who are all embracing their curls and kinks. My natural hair journey is a work in progress. I would love if you follow along on Instagram and YouTube.
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