Ok. So. I . Decided . To. Go. Natural.
****First and foremost, I want to thank all the beautiful women that surround me daily. You guys have been such an inspiration, and it has been with helping hands and the influence of all of you naturally amazing ladies that I even thought about giving this a go. You guys are a daily muse, each and every one of you. xoxo
Now, I didn’t do the BIG CHOP… I couldn’t do it. Praises to all of you that had the balls to do it, you all will forever be my heroes.
However, I did decide to go natural through transitioning. Transitioning to natural hair is a simple process of growing out your natural texture before cutting off the processed hair or damaged ends. Transitioning can sometimes be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be completely complicated.
My last perm was over a year ago, and I literally have an inch or two left of my processed hair left. After I take my hair out of the protective style I have in now, I plan to cut the last bit off. I’ll admit in the beginning I was being stubborn and trying to hold on to all length and hair I had possible. Now that my hair is a good and healthy length on its own, its time to just let it go, plus anyone with natural hair will tell you how much faster their hair started to grow once they got rid of all the dead hair. I’ll keep you guys posted when I do the chop.
I chose to transition simply because I refuse to ever cut my hair short again. Remember the Rihanna cut that took over a few years ago? Yea, I was one of those that fell victim to it, and although it was cute, the grow out process was the worst. The mullet, the mushroom, every time I see how much my sides have grown back I rejoice and celebrate. That’s why transitioning was always the answer for me.
Last year, I went back and forth with whether I wanted to dive into the natural hairstyle, and one night while frustrated with my hair … I permed it, and instantly was filled with regret. My hair wasn’t as full, and I naturally have really soft hair, so all my body was gone. It was at that point that I decided to just bite the bullet. (Perm pics below.)
AND HERE I AM ! A little over one year later, and so much happier with my hair. Theres no such thing as
“good hair,” all hair types are beautiful, and manageable if you take the time to learn how to properly take care of your hair type.
When I first started on this journey I read any and every blog post, and article on transiting to natural hair so I could figure out what worked for me. So far I’ve been really impressed with my hair growth, and the state that it is in. I wanted to share some of the things I found most helpful.
1. Gradually Cut Damaged Ends
In my opinion, this was the best solution to my Big Chop problem. Instead of going balls to the wall, gradually trimming my hair every 4-6 weeks was a nice compromise and made for a good fix. The cutting wasn’t abrupt, and trimming in general is good for your hair. It was a win/win.
2. Protective Styles are Gifts From the Hair Gods
Protect. Protect. Protect! Until you get to a length that you are comfortable and happy with, a protective style is your safest and best bet. There are endless styles, and the key is to find a wonderful and understanding hairstylist that is willing and ready to venture into this hair journey with you. I personally don’t keep a style in for more than, 8 weeks. If I really want to push it, I do 10 weeks, but no more than that. After a certain amount of time in a specific style, it can actually do more harm than good to your head.
3. Protective Style Doesn’t mean Neglect
JUST BECAUSE YOUR HAIR IS PUT UP, DOES NOT MEAN FORGET ABOUT IT. You still need to act like you have hair on top of your head. Proper nourishment is key to growing your hair. If you have braids, make sure you still wash, and handle your scalp. If you have a sew-in, treat that Brazilian as if it has grown out of your very own head. Don’t get anything that tortures your edges. The goal is to not have to use these protective styles forever. If you don’t take care of your real hair, you’ll always need some style to cover it up.
4. Shampoo Type Matters
Whenever my hair is out, I wash it every 10-14 days. As far as shampoo, the healthier/gentler in ingredients the better. Purchase a shampoo that states no sulfates, no parabens. That info usually is always on the front of the bottle. Of course there are all sorts of shampoos, but that type is always a good start, and has worked wonders for me.
5. You Will be Nothing without Moisture
Keeping your hair conditioned and moisturized is basically the key to natural hair growth success. Google or read anything about growing your hair… all the posts/articles are going to go on&on about moisture and everything in between. After I shampoo my hair, I deep condition every time. I saturate my hair, often using 2-3 conditioners at the very least. I’ll use the shampoo that goes with my conditioner, I’ll add a deep conditioning treatment, and honestly whatever else I can find. I mix all of them, and then put a plastic cap on my head. Leaving conditioner on for more than 30 minutes increases the effectiveness by 60-100% ! Exactly. That’s amazing. Heat opens up the hair cuticle, but if you don’t have an overhead dryer, just keep the cap on for a while. Sometimes I even leave it in over night. Whenever you wash it out, use cold water. Why ? Click here !
6. Use Heat Sparingly
This is a no brainer kind of. A crazy amount of heat is harmful to any type of hair, use it only when necessary. When I have my hair out, I try to only use heat every 2-3 weeks. As of this last year I have only used a blow dryer, as far as heat utensils. I use coconut oil on my hair, and spread that evenly through my tresses as a heat protectant.
7. Wigs . Game Changer.
I remember reading an article years ago about how this woman grew her hair to waist length with the help of wigs. My hairdresser has wonderful hair, and I use to ask her all the time what was her secret, and she swore by wigs. I’ll admit , at first I was hesitant because no one wants to look wiggy. It all comes down to finding someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to constructing wigs. How it helps? Wigs enable you to still care for your real hair properly, while having that brazilian on your head. I got one bomb wig done, and I promise you I will never get a weave again. It was a game changer for my world.
8. Leave it Alone
Let your hair breath and just be great on its own for a while. Whether you take it out of a protective style or just have it out, leave it alone. What I mean by this is, just let it be. I use to be the hair dye queen and even though it has killed me not to throw some color on this thing, it has been for the best. I have seen such an amazing change in my hair when I stopped fussing with it. No perm, no products, no hair dye etc. Leaving it alone has actually given me the opportunity to appreciate my real texture/grade of hair.
Vitamins have been known to be a great asset in aiding hair growth. Biotin, prenatal pills, or some hair vitamins from some store. Locate some, take them everyday, and make them part of your every day life. A good vitamin will not only promote hair growth, but will strengthen your hair as well. You can’t have flowing locks if they are weak and constantly enduring breakage. Get you some vitamins and give your mane the extra push it needs.
10. Educate Yourself
No one can help you, like you can. Educate yourself, and learn some things about your hair, and find interests that will make this journey more enjoyable. I am a sucker for DIY projects, and sometimes its fun to sit at home and find a good experiment on Pinterest. Different things work for different people, find out what works for you.
11. Be Patient
This is the most important point of them all. Be patient. We would all like to wake up and have the hair flow of Tracee Ellis Ross (my hair goal crush) , but sometimes that’s just not how it works right away. Stay focused, optimistic, and patient. If you keep doing what you need to do, you will get what you want to receive. The smallest things use to turn me off when I first started this venture. Shrinkage is real and I use to get so discouraged after I would wash my hair and see this curly fro on top of my head. One day I got curious about my actual length and decided to get a bomb blow out … and my hair was FAB. That alone was enough to keep me going, and now months later when I wear my hair out and people notice my growth or make positive comments it feels that much better because LAWD knows I have worked for this. lol. Now keep in mind, I’m nowhere near being Tracee, but I’m far from where I started, and that’s good enough for me. My point is … you will get to your hair goal, just keep on pushing.
* Now, by NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM am I natural hair guru. Far from it. I’m just sharing my journey and what I have been doing. I understand this natural movement isn’t for everyone, and that’s perfectly fine. I am just sharing my journey and what has helped me. For those of you on this natural hair ride with me … please share your stories ! I would love to hear about other tips, and how things are going with you on your personal hair venture =)