This year makes 5 years since I decided I was no longer going to relax my hair and 4 years since I’ve big chopped. I’ve been seeing a few articles floating around lately about “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Natural” and thought I would share my thoughts and experience. YOLO. If you decide you want to go the big chop route (the route I took because I am impatient), you have to commit! Please be advised that your hair may not be as long as it was before. You may be in temporary shock because you’ll have to learn how to style and rock your possible TWA with confidence and grace. Also, you’re more critical about it than anyone else so if you don’t like it right away, don’t worry, mostly everyone else will and it’ll grow back.
The search for products. When I went natural, I wanted to try everything that was available on the shelf and smelled nice. I had a general idea of what my hair needed but that didn’t stop me from picking up everything and bringing it home with me. Eventually, I buckled down on the products I knew worked well and committed to them. One shampoo, 1 conditioner (every changing because I’m still searching for the perfect one), 1 deep conditioner, and so on. I do try new things every now and again because there is so much more available now than there were even four years ago but I also make sure I completely finish a product before buying a new one.
Track your progress. This is one that I am still struggling with. I’m not a very photogenic person so I never really think to take pictures of my hair and do length-checks, but after this many years, I really wish I took more pictures. I would definitely suggest taking pictures every few months at the very least, even if you don’t intend on sharing them with anyone. You won’t regret it.
Be patient You will definitely have to learn to be patient about EVERYTHING. Growth, washing, styling, detangling–all of it. Natural hair takes more time than relaxed hair and you have to take your time as well. Once you learn what works for your hair, just continue to show it love and it will return the favor. Bonus: Length is a nice-to-have, health wins. If you hair is healthy, you’ll appreciate that over length everyday.
Haters and Nay-sayers Some people will hate on you hard once you decide to go natural. Ultimately, the decision is yours, you have to deal with your hair. No one else. When I decided to big chop, a few people were telling me not to or that short hair wouldn’t look right on me, and my personal favorite, my hair it too nappy to go natural. My hair literally grows out of my scalp this way and people were telling me it wouldn’t suit me.
Ultimately, DO YOU, BOO! It’s your hair and no one else has to deal with it so if going natural is something that you want to do even after all the research you’ve done, I say go for it. I do not regret my decision not one bit and I can honestly say that there’s only been about two times in 5 years that I “missed” having straight hair (and that’s only because I want so badly to rock a wavy long bob; still do).
Drop your questions or comments below. I’d love to know what you wish you knew before a major hair switch-up.