Before i decided to go natural, I went back and forth toying with the idea for months after transitioning for over a year. I hadn't the slightest clue what I was doing before I started looking further into it; the whole thing was overwhelming! I didn't personally know anyone who had natural hair and I had no idea what I'd do with it or how I would make the next move. After two and a half years of fro, I've come up with a few things to consider if you're thinking about going natural...
Why do you want to do it?
If your sole reason is to jump in on the trend (although I hate calling it that, but right now it seems like it is), that may not be the best reason. Trends come and go in a matter of months, maybe a year or two. Hair growth takes much longer than that. Whether you're transitioning or doing the BC, it's much more of a commitment than a fad.
The best reason is because YOU want to. simple as that.
Why I did it:
- My scalp was getting worse with each relaxer I got. (Bad reaction, redness, scabs, maybe my scalp is sensitive? allergic? who knows.)
- The older I'm getting, the more I want to eliminate harmful chemicals from my life.
- Genuine curiosity!
Get ready for attention...
Good. Bad. Stares. Glares. Questions. Comments. You will not believe the increase of attention I gained when I chopped off my hair and started growing my curls. Unless if you currently have an already out-of-the-norm hairdo, you will gain more attention. Although the number of natural dos is growing, it's still a minority within a minority. Most of the attention is positive and/or curiosity. For instance, the most common question I get is, "How does your hair do that?" To which I reply "It just does!" However, I still get negative glares now and then. I think a few of those from older generations are firmly under the impression that "nappy hair is bad hair." I just shrug it off; what can you do?
You'll be spending more time with your hair.
In my opinion, natural hair is generally easier to maintain. HOWEVER, everything was new to me my first year of naturalness. My mom was my hairdresser and natural hair was uncharted territory for her--and many hairdressers I might add. I have yet to find a hairdresser who knows how to manage natural hair. In fact, I don't think they learn in school how to do anything with fros except how to straighten them. If you live in a metropolitan area (especially Atlanta) you might find a salon that caters to your hair, but I'm not that lucky.
This means you will be left to discover your own hair. If you're used to salons, this might be a big jump for you. Take advantage of the growing natural hair community among the interwebs! I suggest doing the BC (if that's what you want to do) during a time of year when you're not too busy, like winter break or summer vacation. This will give you ample time to play around with your hair and figure out what you like in terms of products, routines, and maintenance.
Get nerdy, do research
This sort of plays off the last topic. There is a wealth of information available on how to take care of natural hair. Like I mentioned before, this is a minority within a minority, so most people dont know what to do with it. But there are some lovely hair gurus and more experienced natural ladies (and gents) that can help you out! You'll most likely be using a whole new set of products and tools, so it's good to start learning about what you want/need for your hair before you go natural.
Lastly, have fun!
It's your hair, you can do whatever you want with it. Natural hair is fun! But so is relaxed hair, and braids, and wigs, and weaves, and whatever else. Do what fits for you, your style, and your life. Don't listen to the debbie downers out there either. There's bits of controversy even within the natural community; like using heat or combs or certain less potent chemicals; but don't let that bog you down. In due time you'll figure out what you like and don't like.
Hope this helps! Any other naturals have any tips to make the decision?