Making the decision to return to natural (I use the word “return” because we were all born natural) can be one of the most exciting yet daunting experiences in your life. Returning to natural creates an awareness inside of you that no one really prepares you for, especially if you, like me, believed that the relaxer was the only way of life and that your beauty comes from the straightness of your hair.
So many of you have inboxed me to ask how to start the process of “going natural”. I’ve done this list before (in 2014) but I thought that I would update it a little. I know that it can get a bit intimidating, so I’ve put together a list of 6 easy steps to natural hair. Whether you decide to do your big chop immediately or to transition until you’re ready, these steps will definitely work for you.
1. Say Goodbye to heat
Besides staying away from the creamy crack aka relaxer, you should also stay away from excessive heat. Heat destroys your natural curl pattern. In fact, using too much heat on your hair could be just as harmful as chemicals. Abstaining from heat to assist your hair on its road to health.
Tip: Use a diffuser attachment to dry your curls when you do a wash & go. The diffuser assists in spreading out the heat, making it less harmful on your hair.
2. Product ingredients
You can easily tell whether someone is on the road to natural when you spot them reading product ingredients in the hair aisle while shopping. Avoid Sulfates, parabens, mineral oils and anything ending in cone (yes, even silicone). They either dry out your hair or prevent the good oils from penetrating your hair.
Tip: Make sure that water / aqua is in the first 3 ingredients. Our hair needs as much moisture as we can possibly get.
3. Deep Condition
This one applies to any hair type. Whether you decide the natural way is what you want to follow or not, deep conditioning your hair at least once every second week is an absolute must. Deep conditioning assists in nourishing and it helps to retain the moisture and strength in your hair.
Tip: Once you add deep conditioner to your hair, wrap it up with cling wrap or an old plastic bag for a few hours. Old school methods work wonders.
4. Listen to your hair
I often get asked which are the best products to use when you return to natural. My answer is simple – I don’t know. Your hair will tell you which products or methods it prefers as all hair is different. The best thing you can do for your hair is to listen to it.
Tip: If your hair type is 4c, it does not mean that you have low porosity hair. Do a porosity test to find out which products you should use.
5. Deflate the negativity
The one thing websites rarely inform you on is the negativity you will face when you decide to do the big chop. Cutting your hair can be a very emotional, yet liberating experience. One many who are not on the same journey as you will not understand.
Tip: Join a support group such as Cape Town Naturally to connect with naturalistas who understand what you are going through.
6. Good night
Do not forget to cover up your hair at night. Invest in a great satin bonnet to keep your hair from being damaged by your cotton sheets.
This is a step that no one really likes but trust me, going without your satin bonnet, scarf or pillowcase at night will cause damage to your hair. I learnt this the hard way. Don’t be the girl with the dried out hair. Take precaution!
Tip: If bonnets are not your thing, wrap a satin scarf or fabric over your pillow. Works like a charm.
What are your favourite tips for the newbie natural?