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So lately I have been approached from strangers, family, and friends saying, “I have decided to go natural, what do I do now”? I have found myself repeating my tips over and over again. Finally after having this conversation 1,000 times I have decided to blog about it. As you all know this is based off of “my” experience of transitioning back to my natural hair. The methods that worked for me may not necessarily work for you. View returning to your natural hair as a journey of trial and error and self-discovery. There will be great feats of success and substantial moments of failure but they all will be educational.
1) Decide exactly how you will return to natural. Are you going to transition or do the big chop? If you decide to big chop are you going to cut your hair, let a friend cut your hair, or go to a professional? Research these options and decide which one is best for you. If you choose to do it yourself or call a friend over to cut your hair, make sure you have researched how and where to cut. Take into consideration how much hair you are comfortable with rocking. I recommend wetting your hair and look for the place where the straight hair ends and the textured hair begins. This place is called the line of demarcation. This will give you a general idea of how much hair will be left on your head. If you are comfortable with that, then you or your friend can commence to cutting. If you aren’t willing to take any chances and would rather a professional cut your hair then begin calling around to salons asking them do they know how to cut textured hair. Most will tell you yes but ask them will they cut your hair wet or dry. If they say dry, run! No seriously, say thank you, hang up, and continue your search for a qualified stylists. Doing your big chop dry will only result in them cutting more hair than necessary or not enough. Also, unless you want it cut into a style, tell them you are only interested in getting rid of your straight ends. I chose to go to a professional and that’s exactly what I requested along with making it even all around. Keep in mind if you request it to be even they will cut off more hair.
Let’s say you wet your hair and you are not comfortable with the amount of hair that will be left. Then you can simply transition with various heatless styles until your hair grows long enough for you to be comfortable. When I decided to return to natural, I transitioned for 5 months and then big chopped. It took me that long to be ok with parting with my length and it was difficult for me because my hair was healthy and chemical free but it was heat trained or damaged however you choose to look at it. Personally, I don’t think of it as damaged since my intentions were to straighten it and keep it straight. Anywho, after 5 five months I grew tired of dealing with 2 textures and decided it was time. Your next option is long term transitioning. This is where you trim your straight ends a little at a time while wearing various heatless styles until you trim the last of your straight hair. This option gives you the opportunity to learn your natural hair over time. You will also have time to master all the of the natural styles and seeing what options work and do not work for you. This path is the for the extremely patient and determined to keep their length natural. Please note that no matter what path you take they both involve scissors in your hair!
2) Research, Research, and more Research. Now that you’ve decided how you will return to natural it is time for you to learn about natural hair in general. Read books, google, and join forums that teach about the properties of your natural hair. Find out what your hair type is and I say this loosely because you really shouldn’t get caught up on hair typing but you will hear about it so I will address it here. More importantly learn about the density, porosity and texture of your hair. These are all important when it comes to what methods you will implement as well as what products you choose. Speaking of products, you will try lots of them and that’s ok. It is not ok to go broke, but start off with a little at a time and as you figure out what works and what does not work, adjust accordingly. Also, make a mental note of the ingredients that are in the products that work. They will be an indicator of other possible products you may want to try in the future.
Accept the fact that trial and error is apart of the entire journey. Some products will cause your hair to scream yay and other products with cause your hair to scream what is this!! Don’t give up. This is what every new natural experiences. Use tools like youtube and the knowledge you’ve gained to narrow down products and styles that work for you. This is also the time to develop a regimen. A hair regimen is ideal for keeping focused on nurturing your tresses so that you can reach your natural hair goals. It will help you keep up with what is going on with your hair at all times. This is crucial for when you have a hair faux pas. You can back track and figure out exactly what you did differently or what you used that you do not normally use. It also works for your triumphs as well.
3) Own it Honey! Love and appreciate YOUR hair. It is a must that you learn to love and appreciate the hair that grows out of your head. I always encourage new naturals to watch as many youtube videos as possible to glean information and tips that could enhance their natural hair journey. However when you start to compare your hair to another person’s hair problems occur. The purpose of your journey is to get to know and love your natural hair. Be inspired by what you see and learn how to make it work for you and your hair. Also accept your hair’s limitations and realize that where you are limited in one area is only an opportunity for you to be creative in another area. Remember… Comparison in any form is an act of violence against the self- Iyanla Vanzant.
4) Have fun! Last but not least have fun learning about how your natural hair is versatile, fragile, strong, and one of a kind. It’s relearning who you were all along. Allow this entire process to inspire and educate you so that you can inspire and educate someone else. Once you have gotten into your natural hair groove, you will receive the question, “Girl, how do I return to natural too?”
What advice do you have for new naturals and those who want to go natural? I want to hear from you.
This review is a long time coming because I have been using this condish for a very long time. I love, love this condish with all my heart! It is my holy grail, must have, will not eat for 3 days in order to buy because I can not run out product. Here are the ingredients…
Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG -7 Olivate, Guar Hydroxypropytrimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Matricaria Recuitita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Yucca Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Polysorbate 60, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance.
This cleansing conditioner is a staple to my WnG regimen. When I was shampooing my hair everyday my hair was always iffy. Sometimes it was tamed and other times it was dry and itchy. My curls popped one day and they frizzed the next. It was so frustrating trying to keep my hair moisturized and the shampoo I used wasn’t very drying. I heard about the curl junkie line on youtube and saw this when I went to their website. I was always skeptical about using conditioner to clean my hair because I just couldn’t see how it would cleanse it. When I saw that it was a “cleansing” conditioner I felt more comfortable with trying it than using something like Tresseme Naturals.
The consistency is creamy and thick. It coats my hair really well and has lots of slip. I can finger detangle while in the shower with this product. It has a sort of minty smell and feels like it “lathers” a bit on my hair. I like the feel of lathering, although it doesn’t actually lather on your hair. When I rinse out the product my hair feels very soft and cleansed. It does not strip my hair nor does it feel as if there is buildup on my strands. The product comes in a 12oz bottle and a 32oz bottle with a pump. I love the pump it is so convenient in the shower. Daily Fix Conditioner has definitely stepped my natural hair game up and I can not live with out it.
*Note: This post was written weeks/months before posting. I was still deciding whether or not to blog.
So, I have been deeply mulling over this belief that long hair equals beauty. After many nights of ranting to the bestie, I discovered that this “conditioning” came from many areas in my childhood which followed me into my adulthood. I remember in the 7th grade I got my first hair cut. I was very excited and loved it. I was an 80’s baby so the hair style I had was a mushroom cut with long hair in the back. All of my friends loved it and I did to until I overheard this particular conversation. There were these two boys who sat in the back of the classroom. One of the guys, the girls were absolutely crazy over. The other, well let’s just say his mommy loved him very much. Anyway, they were discussing what girls they thought were pretty and which ones were not. As they were judging girl after girl my name came up. I heard them both agree that I was cute except my hair was too short and I would be fine if I wasn’t bald headed. I turned around and said, “umm, excuse me but you cannot see my scalp and my hair is short by choice!” One of the long haired girls said, “yeah right.” Then, the boys said, prove it. Bring a picture tomorrow. By this time I am pissed, but being the Aries that I am I arise to challenges with the utmost intentions of crushing my opponent. I reply, not only will I bring a picture, I’ll show you (the girl who said yeah right) that my hair was longer than yours!
The next day I brought my pics and the boys say, “you are so pretty, why did you cut your hair?” Although I poked my chest out and gave those two a piece of my mind, that moment stuck with me deep inside my subconscious. Also, many of the guys I dated when I grew up were stuck on long hair. Even my grandmother was obsessed with it. When I told her I was thinking about going natural she was fine. But when I said I was thinking about cutting my hair she told me I was crazy and just about bit my head off. My apprehensions about cutting my hair began to makes sense to me now. I was now determined to shake off these past experiences and redefine for myself what beauty means. Also, I have a beautiful daughter who looks up to me and it is my job to set the example of how she should view herself. So, I shared these inner discoveries with the hubby, who loves long hair btw. However, he is totally supportive of whatever I decide to do, I’ll always be beautiful no matter what (hey, those were his words not mine lol)!
So, with that being said…
I did it! I cut off all of my heat trained hair and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Until next time…Lotus Blossom out!
*Note: This post was written months before posting. I was still deciding whether or not to blog.
So, I’ve been trying out new styles I’ve seen on my hair and, well…no. Let’s just say I need to stick with what works, lol. Well, at least I tried! Enjoy…
I flat twisted the front of my hair
Then I bantu knotted the rest.
What do you all think?
Talk to you all later…xoxo
*Note: This post was written months before posting. I was still deciding whether or not to blog.
As I stated in a previous post, bantu knots and pony tails are my go to hair styles while I am transitioning. I’ve added buns to the list and attempts at twist outs/braid outs. I have had some great hair days and some not so great days. Here are a few pics giving you a glimpse of what my journey has been like so far…enjoy.
My go to style…
Yeah it pretty much obvious that WnG’s are NOT an option right now. That was a major fail.
Until next time …(Whatcha’ll doing)?
*Note: This post was written months before posting. I was still deciding whether or not to blog.
When I made the decision to go completely natural, I made it my mission to transition long term. I took very good care of my hair and I was not the one to just go and cut my hair. So I researched for hours on YouTube and CurlyNikki.com for tips on long term transition styles. My go to styles were Bantu knots, and curly pony tails. Wash n Go’s weren’t an option because half of my hair curled just fine, while the other half had major heat damage. Eh, what’s a girl to do. I didn’t mind the transition styles. I had fun trying to figure out what style to do next. What I did mind was the detangling process. The first night of detangling my hair I cried. I had never lost so much hair in my life. It took me 2 hours to detangle my hair!!! I’m actually convinced it was longer to be honest. I frantically went to the Curly Nikki forums searching for help. Someone suggested detangling in sections, so the next time I washed my hair I did just that. It helped some but not very much. So I went from using Giovanni conditioner as a rinse out to Tresemme naturals. It helped a little but I was frustrated because it was still taking an 1hr to 1hr45 minutes to detangle.(I began to seriously consider the big chop) Even when I sat under a steamer it didn’t help. I tried Hair Rules quench to detangle and that didn’t help. The only relief I got was to dry detangle. “Say what?!” Yes dry detangle… well technically. Let me explain. I would gently separate my hair up into 8 sections. Then I would spray that section with Jane Carter’s Revitalizing Leave In Conditioner. (It is an excellent detangler!) Next, I would use my Denman brush to detangle and then braid that section into one braid. I did this for each section. It made detangling easier, but I still had a lot of shedding/breakage. Then I would wash each section one by one, add conditioner, clip up, and baggie. My hair would tangle right back up after rinsing the conditioner out and I’d have to detangle all over again with more shedding/breakage. I realized that one of the issues that contributed to my tangled mess was the fact that I had just gotten color 2 months prior to my natural hair discovery. (See previous post) It dried my hair out significantly. I purchased product after product. Nothing seemed to work. It seemed as if the big chop was eminent.
I came across the book, “Science of Black Hair,” along with the discovery of Denim Pixie’s (Elle) YouTube channel and blog, “Quest for the Perfect Curl.” She did a video called, “Some Tidbits on Protein,” which I found very informative and the “Science of Black Hair” really broke it down further for me. So I grabbed all of the products I had and realized I was causing major protein overload in my hair which was causing it to be perpetually dry and shed/break. I began looking for moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. I used Hello Hydration conditioner as a rinse out first. I still hadn’t found a moisturizing shampoo. I had significant improvement on detangling but it still took awhile. I was down to 45 mins detangling in the shower, and for the 1st time my hair felt somewhat softer. Also, my shedding/breakage decreased. I returned to Elle’s blog and on her Holy Grail list I saw Creme of Nature’s Argan Oil Moisture and Shine Shampoo. I went to my local beauty supply store and picked it up. Score!!!! My hair felt so soft while washing, still in sections but much easier. The Creme of Nature coupled with my hello hydration decreased my shedding/breaking and detangling time significantly. I was down to 30 mins and was finally experiencing regular shedding. All is well in my world so there is no need to big chop now … Right?
18 was the age I began admiring the girls with the big curly hair. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. However, my hair was bone straight and I just didn’t possess those type of genes so I just admired them and moved on. I had to work with what I had. Back in Jr. High I stayed with the local trends in hair. My mom allowed me to be a little freer in that area the older i became,which was far from where I had come. My hair regimen as a child was wash, condition, sit under a dryer until dry, hot comb with grease, and various pony tails. My grandmother was a hair stylist who prided herself on being able to grow and maintain hair. She was right to do so because she had my hair down the middle of my back. No matter how much i begged her to relax my hair, she refused.
After my mom and dad split we moved to a different state away from my grandmother. My mom continued the hair regimen faithfully (plus a few burned ears). Fast forward to Jr. high as we returned from summer break, things had changed. There were no more ponytails and barrettes. They were replaced with wrap styles, asymmetrical cuts, and relaxers. Here I am thinking I’m cute with my one big pony tail to the side and a big bow. Geesh, how come I didn’t get the memo? I couldn’t wait until I got home so I could reason with my mom on the necessity of getting a relaxer. After all, I was older now and needed a more mature look. Before the words perm could come out of my lips, no was declared to my dismay. I had to regroup, there had to be a way to appeal to my mom. After about a day or so of plotting on the phone with my friends, we came up with the ultimate pro-relaxer argument. Mom, if you put a relaxer in my hair, it will cut our hair routine time tremendously. (Not bad for a bunch of 7th graders huh?) Any who, she thought it over and decided to apply a Juust for meee (singing the commercial)! SN: Just for me was just a horrible, horrible relaxer. I mean really. Basically, I was on the creamy crack from that point on until I turned 24/25. Until then I cut my hair short, grew it back out, wore it in hard gel styles, braids, color, highlights and whatever else the trend was at that time. Not to mention relaxing my own hair in between salon visits myself because I could get it straighter. (Yeah right LOL , I tickle myself sometimes).
After years of hair abuse, my hair decided she couldn’t take it anymore. I was in my phase of wanting long hair and growing it back. However, I noticed that my hair in the back of my head at the top-middle section was extremely short while the rest of my hair was just past shoulder length. I decided to go to the salon and see what was going on. She told me it was a stress spot and it had damage. We came up with a treatment plan and decided to try it out for about 3 months and see if that helps. She explained that if it didn’t get better that she would have to cut my hair short and I’d have to start fresh. I DID NOT WANT THAT. So I followed the plan faithfully but to no avail. Alas, we would have to cut my hair. Needless to say I cried like a baby. I rocked the short hair for about a year and then decided it was time to grow my hair back. When I informed my stylist of this she said okay. Then she dropped a bomb on me. I’m not going to relax your hair anymore since you are growing it out and you can’t have any color either. My mouth dropped. She explained that she felt that to keep my hair at its healthiest it is best to eliminate all chemicals whatsoever and do thermal heating instead ( just a fancy way of saying flat ironing). After the complete shock and ranting about how nappy my hair would be, I finally relented and began my long hair journey. My hair growth was very successful. It grew back very thick and long. I’m talking past BSL long ( that includes every bra I owned).
So, it’s 2011 and my hair is long, healthy, and full. I don’t have a complaint in the world except, I’m bored. My hair is boring and blah and I’m tired of wearing the same styles over and over. So I call up my stylist and ask for color. Something to liven up my hair. I get a warm rich brown with golden brown highlights. I absolutely loved it. While at the salon I tell my stylist I am bored with my hair and wanted to perhaps get a sew in of big curly hair. She informs me that my hair is too long and thick for a sew in style. So I say what about braids? She replies, your hair is too long for braids. Ugh! Well cutting my hair is NOT an option since I worked hard to grow it. She replies, Girl i don’t blame you. Hell I took the journey with you. I then asked, why can’t I wear my hair curly, I mean when my hair gets wet it curls up. She says, you just don’t have that textured type of hair (don’t give me the side eye; when we know better, we do better). Ugh. I really like that hair I say. Frustrated and bored, I returned home. That night I went home and turned the TV to HGTV.
A new show was coming on and its host was Tanika Ray. She had the most beautiful big curly hair and she looked like me. I thought to myself, umm, is she mixed because she doesn’t look mixed but she has big curly hair!!! I immediately picked up my laptop and typed “Tanika Ray Hair. The first link I saw was Tanika Ray’s Hair Journey on curlynikki.com.” I was opened to a whole new world!!! I had no idea that this world existed!! I saw so many different women who looked like me rocking the big curly hair. I was so freaking stoked!! I read for hours and hours until my eyes were burning, only to wake up and start it all over again the next night. Oh, and when I discovered the natural hair community on youtube…that. was. all. she. wrote. I immediately announced to everyone, I’m going natural. Thus my natural hair journey began. Hmph, it turns out I could have been big haired and curly after all .
Well, those are my thoughts of the day. What cha’ll doing? 😉
Hugs and Kisses!