I Want To Go Natural, Now What?

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Nothing warms my heart more than a woman who says to me, "I've made a decision: I want go natural." But it's the second part of the question that makes me take a deep breath and sit down:

"How do I get started and what should I do first?"

It is almost impossible to answer this question "correctly" but I'll shoot my best shot (thanks Betty Wright).

1. Examine why you want to go natural.
Are you doing it to be trendy or are you doing it improve the quality and health of your hair? Oftentimes the bandwagon effect pulls people in and the next thing you know, they've chopped off their hair only to realize that may not have been the best move for them. Why not embrace who you are as you are? And if you decide to change it up, then do so and do it confidently.

2. Research, Research, Research.
I spent months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds doing research about natural hair before going natural the first time. I knew going from permed to natural was going to hard on my hair. I armed myself with the knowledge of natural hair and treatment during the transitional period. I joined websites, message boards, read articles and even solicited information from strangers. Get out there and dig.

3. Do what works for you.
Twist-outs, braid-outs, bantu knots, oh my! Youtube can be overwhelming and trust me, you will want to try every style. Don't. Enjoy and take your time with the transitional process. Be gentle with your hair. It's fragile during this time.

4. Do not immediately jump into natural products.
I took my time easing into using all natural products during my transition. After a month, I decided to start co-washing.  By month 5, I chopped off half my hair and wore braidouts and rodsets using shea butter. By month 7, I big chopped and the rest was history. I only recently started using more organic conditioners and oils on my hair. Take your time experimenting so that you give your hair a chance to used to a product. It may take a couple of tries.

5. When in doubt, ask.
I was fortunate enough to know a lot of natural women who were happy to share suggestions and experiences with me. It was through their advice and mentoring that I made it this far. Who knew a random woman on the street would have such a wealth of information about what I could use to keep my hair moisturized.?

Making the decision to go natural is a personal decision. If you are unsure if you want to do it, take that time to ask others why they did and gain more knowledge on how your hair "works". Ultimately the decision is yours, just make sure it's the best one for you.


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September 05, 2010 10:11 AM delete

I had been toying around with the idea of going natural. I had heard so many positive things about it. I loved my mohawk and my straight hair, but when I saw how much hair I was losing because of the heat and the drying spritzes and such, I knew I had to make a change. That isn't to say that I will use only all natural products or never use heat or my hair, but since I've been reading your blog and others like it, I am finding products that work better. I don't necessarily have to use a setting lotion or foam to do a rod set because of the drying alcohol, and who knew you could actually WASH your hair with conditioner? After seeing so many beautiful heads of natural hair, I have come to an obvious but profound conclusion: black hair will do and be amazing if you just let it grow! I haven't weeded through my products or thrown out my flat iron or blow dryer, but I'm excited about picking the right hair care regimen that works for me and fits my lifestyle, and I look forward to the many opportunities I will have because I won't have to say, "I just got my hair done. I can't go here or do that." Thanks Monique!