Growing up I had long thick relaxed hair, I guess you could say when it came to hair, especially natural hair, I was very ignorant. Hair was not something I took notice of in my early years and for the most part, I did not even know what natural hair looked like. Yes, it was that uncommon.
“Virgin hair”, as the hairdressers in Nigeria would call it, had a bad reputation. It was notoriously known for being difficult and making young girls cry, so it was no surprise that at the time people opted for relaxers for themselves and their children.
Looking back, they just did not know how to properly take care of natural hair. Against this backdrop, the looks of pure disbelief I received when I made it known that I was going natural did not come as a surprise. Not the big chop though, the plan was to transition.
At the time I had no clue what I was doing or what changes it would mean for me, but a rude awakening awaited me which I will share later. However, as I progressed in this unending natural hair journey, I learned a lot of things that would have made the ride smoother when starting out. I will therefore be sharing with you, six things I wish I knew before going natural.
1. Not All Curly Hair Is The Same
Remembering my surprise when I finally cut off the last bits of my relaxed hair, to reveal my mini afro almost has me laughing. My 4c hair looked nothing like the type 3 curly hair images I had seen online. You see, I had gone in without the knowledge that “curly hair” is only a general term and has a different density, texture and curl pattern depending on the individual and most importantly, all hair types are beautiful.
2. Don’t Sleep On Professional Treatments
For the most part of my natural hair journey leading up to now, I used to think going to a good natural hair salon and getting specialized hair treatment was completely unnecessary. I was so wrong. If I had made seeing a professional for treatments and hair check-ups a routine, it would have tremendously improved the health of my hair instead of trying every hack on the internet that left me in tears more often than not.
3. The Health Of Your Hair Is More Important Than The Length
I was so desperate to have long natural hair that I was willing to try anything, even the inversion method just to have a few extra inches added to my hair. What I really should have been paying more attention to, is the health of my hair because as cliché as it may sound, it is healthy hair that grows. If you want to see your hair grow to its fullest potential, focus on maintaining the health of your hair.
4. You Do Not Need To Try Every Hack You See Or Hear About
As naturalists, playing around with our hair when it comes to different styles and hair care tips can be fun and satisfying but trust me when I say it is not every haircare hack or ‘D.I.Y’ recipe that needs to be on your hair, or work for you. I fell victim to this many times and it did more harm than good. Everyone’s hair is different, even people with the same hair type have different hair identities and needs. It is important to identify yours so you can help your hair thrive and reach its fullest potential.
5. Moisture Is Important
I cringe every time I remember going to just any salon and feeling how crispy and dry my hair would feel after it was blow dried without any form of moisture being previously added, only hair oils. Natural hair because of its kinks and curls does not enable the sebum produced at the scalp to reach the full length of the hair, making it more prone to dryness. Natural hair loves moisture, whether it is deep conditioning or leave-in treatments, adding moisture back into your hair is so important for its manageability and overall health and softness.
6. You Do Not Need To Buy The Whole Store
There is a lot of consumerism in the natural hair community and truthfully, we do not need a lot of the products marketed to us. I used to get so disappointed when I could not get the newest product release, or the PR products natural hair gurus raved about. It is important to know your hair needs and tailor your product purchases accordingly to avoid overspending. Your wallet and hair will thank you
Through the highs and lows of what has been my natural hair journey so far, I would not change a thing. The journey has taught me self-love and self-care in ways I did not think were possible and I am nothing short of grateful for the crown that is my 4c hair.
What is something you wish you knew when you started your hair journey? Let us know in the comments and if you like this content, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing when we publish, and do share with a friend.