I considered making this a “natural hair journey” post, but I got bored while writing it so I couldn’t imagine someone actually reading it. This post feels more personal, and it flows much better than the original. Here are some lessons I’ve learned since going natural:
1. My Hair and I are Meant to Be
My hair has been natural for approximately two months. I transitioned for almost two years before getting my relaxed ends clipped. In the transition period, I was afraid that I wouldn’t like my hair. My hair had been relaxed since I was in grade three or four. I was completely unsure of how my hair would look. What if my (natural) hair wasn’t pretty or soft like the natural hair girls on YouTube and Instagram that everyone fawns over? Most people don’t like nappy hair. We’ve been conditioned to believe that the looser and silkier the curls, the more beautiful and acceptable they are (bull-shark).
I had to change my mindset before I did anything else. If you think you can’t go natural because your hair is “too nappy,” change your mindset, not your hair.
My life didn’t magically change when I went natural. In fact, it took me a while to adjust to my hair. It’s what I imagine getting a puppy would be like. You’re both happy to have each other, but you’re still confused as to what the other is like. If you care for a puppy enough, it’ll care for you right back. You both just have to take the time to adjust. Then you’ll be two peas in a pod.
You know when you finally find that perfect pair of pants? That’s how I feel with my hair. It suits me, which makes me feel ten times more confident. I love it like I love my flowy pants from American Apparel (but more).
2. Hair Porosity > Hair Type
Listen to me, hair typing does not matter! At all! Hair typing is based on the texture and curl pattern of your hair. I don’t know about you, but my hair has about three different curl patterns & textures going on. It’s difficult to just place myself into a box. Hair typing is useless information to me because it doesn’t benefit the health of my hair. If you’re still confused, here’s a visual chart:
It’s pretty self-explanatory.
More importantly, hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture. This information can help you figure out which products are best for you. Here’s how you can learn your hair’s porosity level:
My hair is low porosity. My hair is not easily moisturized, or that’s what I thought! For years I thought because my hair is thick that my products should be too. I was wrong. Turns out, products that are too thick just sit on top of my hair. Whereas hair-milk type products (water-based) work wonders (for leave in purposes).
Shea Moisture’s JBCO leave-in conditioner is my holy grail. It’s not too thick, and my hair feels intensely moisturized even when it’s dry (rare). Ever since I did the porosity test, moisturizing my hair has been less stressful. Knowing my hair’s porosity helps me to avoid products that probably won’t work for my hair and go for the ones that are most likely to. Cheers to saving coins. My hair is also easier to manage in general because it’s more moisturized. I’ll insert a link with more information on hair porosity at the end.
3. Deep Condition WITH HEAT!
I deep condition weekly. Honestly, deep conditioning with a hooded dryer changes the game. My hair feels so much more moisturized afterward. It’s insane. If you don’t have a hooded dryer, try standing outside for a while (if it’s hot enough). I’m usually under the dryer for about 20-30 minutes with a plastic cap on (the shower caps you get in hotels). I tried deep conditioning over night a few months ago, but it just didn’t work well for me. My hair felt moisturized, but it didn’t last as long. One time, it didn’t feel moisturized at all after I rinsed it out. I swear by deep conditioning with heat because it works phenomenally every time. Don’t knock it til you try it, folks. One of my favorite deep conditioners is the Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Hair Mask.
4. Tackle Three Styles
Do you ever watch hairstyle videos on YouTube where the hairstyles seem near impossible? I remember watching some of those and being like “wow, I can barely put my hair in one with a scrunchie/hair tie.” Instead of those, I learned how to execute at least three (simple) styles decently before anything else. It took me a month to get my hair in one without a scarf or a headband. Now I can use a simple elastic. Do you know what that means? It means that now I can put my hair in a bun. Additionally, it means that I had to take baby steps and get more familiar with my hair.
Being newly natural isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible.
5. No, It’s Not That Time Consuming
I was convinced that doing my natural hair would take three times as long as my relaxed hair. I was wrong. My hair is time-consuming because it’s thick, not because it’s natural. Given that it’s thicker when it’s natural, of course, it’s going to take longer. However, it’s not as time-consuming as I assumed it’d be. To put it in perspective:
I washed my hair after I came home from work on Tuesday. Around 6:15 p.m. I showered and washed my hair. Then, I sat under the dryer to deep condition for 20 minutes. By the time my hair was rinsed it was probably 7:15 p.m. Afterwards, I braided my hair. There were probably about 6 or 7 braids on each side of my head. That usually takes me over two hours to do. Last week it took me about an hour and fifteen minutes. I was over the moon. I felt like the most accomplished person on the planet.
It should be noted that I did have to wake up a bit earlier to undo my braids. However, I only go through this process once a week. Otherwise, my hair isn’t much of a hassle (because I have three go-to styles down pat and that’s all I really need). My routine is becoming easier and less time-consuming because I’m consistent with it.
Slowly but surely, I’m becoming an expert on my hair.
I planned for this post to be longer, but I didn’t think I’d write this much. Maybe I’ll do a part two sometime. Hopefully, this was interesting or enlightening for you. I just wanted to share my “going natural” / “newly natural” experience. If it resonates with you, then feel free to tell me about it!
Happy is Nappy, Nappy is Happy,