Jul 26 , 2020
I’m a Black woman, in my mid-thirties, with 4B hair, and I just learned how to “slick” my thick hair down for the first time last year. It took some youtube views and failures, but I did it. I decided to go natural because I thought twist-outs were pretty (true story). That was the first time I went natural. I’ve had some perms in between. But if you ask me why I’m natural now, I would give a “mature” and “woke” response like “because I wanted healthy hair.” Transitioning to natural hair isn't an easy process. There are some things I wish I knew beforehand.
There are different curl patterns and densities on the natural hair spectrum.
I’d always admired bomb twists-outs but I didn’t know that all twist-outs look differently. YouTube set me up for the okie-doke plenty of times because I was trying to get a twist-out with looser curl patterns than my own. This also plays into hair products.
Trial and error may be necessary to find which natural hair products work best for you and your hair.
Commercial products aren’t for everyone. Some hair requires more moisture than others. Some products may flake more than others. Quite frankly, some products may be more costly.
Natural hair care is high maintenance.
I don’t regret going natural but I can admit that I didn't know how much more maintenance it requires. I have to block out my schedule for wash days. Some days I avoid it altogether and go to a salon for a wash and deep condition. Natural hair still has to be trimmed. Some stylists also charge higher rates to style natural hair.
The growth process takes patience.
I thought my hair would grow faster after my big chop. It’s actually taken years for my hair to get the length that it has. It's been worth the wait though. I’ve also learned that none one exaggerated when they said shrinkage was real.
Heat damage is of the devil.
I thought being natural was as simple as no perms. So, I would continue to get blowouts. As my roots grew out, it became obvious that the heat had to stop because I was delaying my own process. I have lost a couple of inches due to heat damage. I used heat excessively. Protectants are helpful; but, we should consider how much and how often heat is being applied.
I love how much flexibility there is with natural hair! I can have puffs, twists, or a banging blowout all in the span of a week. Depending on the heat or humidity, I may have a blowout and a puff on the same day. I don’t regret going natural. But, I admit there are some things I would've like to have known. Either way, I would not change my decision to go through with it. It has been one of the healthiest decisions that I’ve ever made.--