Sticking To The Plan
I was excited after making the decision to go natural. I felt a bunch of emotions; happy, excited, nervous, hesitant but overall, I knew it was a process that I wanted to start.
2019 started out pretty rough for me, and as I’m entering a new chapter in my life, I felt this was the perfect thing to do.
The first step in my transition was to avoid relaxers, (obviously). I was due for my regular relaxer about a week before I made the decision to stop, so my timing was perfect. My roots had grown out a bit and it was then that I was able to get a little bit familiar with them.
I did, however, find myself filled with worry at times; Did I really want to do this? Is this something I can handle right now? What if it’s not what I think? Will this affect my job? A few of the thoughts that ran through my head, but, I have stuck to my plan. I remind myself that my natural hair is something to love and nourish and most importantly, it’s beautiful. Breaking Western beauty ideals can be a challenge, especially when you’re so accommodated to them.
So for my second step, I went out and started buying hair products that (I thought) would work for my natural hair. After stocking up on Carol’s Daughter, spending a good 20 minutes in the Ethnic Hair aisle at Target (definitely an experience worth sharing – be on the lookout for a blog post on that soon!), I realized that I had a broad variety of options, but I wouldn’t know what would work until my hair grew out. Still, going into the bathroom and seeing Carol’s Daughter, it was a refreshing and exciting reminder of my new journey.
Some of my biggest hesitancy stemmed from my lack of knowledge about my natural hair. I didn’t know what it liked, what it didn’t like, the curl pattern or anything. I didn’t want to cut all of my hair off (though I am aware that I am going to have to cut the relaxer out eventually) without knowing how to properly maintain and treat my natural hair first. I was starting a new relationship and I wanted to take my time and get to know it first, and in this instance, it was my hair.
I used the good ole curl pattern chart and my (kind of) 20/20 vision to examine my hair – I believe my curl pattern is a 4a.
The Big Chop…Not.
When my hair was relaxed, I used to cut it all of the time – I loved short hairstyles and I wasn’t afraid to experiment.
However when it came to my natural hair, I was unfamiliar with it. I wanted to wait. I reached out, asked around on Twitter and in school for some ways to start transitioning. Many suggested the big chop – actually, a few suggested that that was the only way to do this. While this did startle me, I knew better than to believe it.
I kept asking around and started to receive a lot of suggestions on braids, protective styles, and styling with the relaxer still in my hair. I decided not to do a weave because I personally did not have the time to manage the upkeep. Being a full-time student, working two jobs and establishing my career as a journalist – don’t forget to add in self-care, extracurricular activities, etc. – weaves were just not for me. My natural hair wasn’t grown out enough for me to style it with my relaxer so I decided on braids. Braids were safe, easy, manageable, and a perfect way to grow my hair out for the spring/summer.
My braiding experience was one of a kind, so stay tuned for the post on that. For anyone thinking about going natural, I highly encourage you to go for it, but on your own time. Again, I waited until I was 20 to start my journey because I felt like now is the right time – so, wait for your right time as well, it will make the journey that much more worth it.
Comment below what hair products you use or what your natural hair journey was like!