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A year ago, I decided to go natural – because I raise my dogs naturally? Nope. Going natural wasn't planned and if it were left up to me, I'd have continued with protective styles forever. But the woman who did my hair moved out of state and I couldn't find anyone in the area that could do my hair at an affordable rate. So I decided to try rocking the natural style and immediately fell down the YouTube rabbit hole of natural hair influencers, purchased way too many hair products and took the weave out of my hair.
I've spent months trying to replicate styles that I found on Pinterest and YouTube with little success. I was at a point where I was going to give up and return to a protective style and then COVID happened and the only person who could do my hair. It took some time to figure out what worked for my hair, but I have a routine that works. But first, if you stumbled across this blog post because you're on your natural hair journey, then I hope to be able to give you some advice that will save you time and money.
3 Things To Remember on Your Natural Hair Journey
1 – Don't compare your hair to the impossible. Often, during this journey, I found woman rocking gorgeous curls only to learn that their hair texture was far different than my own. There isn't a product out there that will change my hair from 4C to 3C so I had to stop watching videos by women who didn't rock my hair type.
2 – It takes times to find the right products. Save your coin and start with one line and give it a few months to see if it'll work for your hair. Of course, there are some products that let you down during application, no need to keep going if it's an absolute fail. However, the temptation to buy every product featured in a video showing gorgeous curls will leave you broke. So go one product line at at time.
3 – Hair care doesn't stop at the strand. When it comes to hair care, we have to focus on more than applying products to our hair and scalp. Hair is also influenced by what and how much we eat and drink. So drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Eat a healthy diet, limiting junk food. And keep the stress level down; my stress goes straight to my hair.
Learning How to Care for Your Hair
When it comes to learning how to care for my hair, I found YouTube to be the most helpful. The natural hair movement seemed like a trend and I'm so thankful that it turned into a moment where women began embracing who they are instead of who we're told to be. I'll be honest and say that I love long straight hair – but it's a pain in the butt too. In order for me to have hair that is easy to care for, I either need to damage my hair with a chemical straightener or I have to spend hundreds on weaves and wigs.
I don't like to spend lots of time dealing with my hair and, surpisignly, embracing my natuaral hair is easy and less time consuming than I realized once I developed a routine.
A Natural Hair Care Routine: Tanika, Missy Bee London
Tanika went natural many years ago after making a mistake I made with my hair (mixing relaxer with color). Like me, Tanika's hair is a mix of 4b and 4c. For those of you who don't know, this explains how tight the curls are – both of us rock tight ringlets. During my journey, I've learned that there are many textures when it comes to curly hair. And many of us area dealing with multiple textures on our own heads.
Tanika's hair routine is simple and I love it because I've been walking around thinking that black hair was too hard to care for and it's been thanks to influencers like Tanika that I'm learning that it doesn't have to be that complicated.
- Deep condition every wash day.
- Detangle hair when it's damp.
- Moisturize hair when it's damp with a leave in conditioner, hair oil, and a hair moisturizer.
- Refresh style every couple of days with a water based hair spray and hair moisturizer.
Tanika rocks twists, braids, or flat twists. She doesn't wear loose styles often because when our hair is out, we're more likely to comb and manipulate it, leading to breakage. When Tanika does wear her hair out, it's in a twist out hairstyle (my favorite). She loves her hair's body, movement, and texture. What surprised me is that Tanika isn't a fan of gels or edge control because they don't mesh well with her hair – lots of flaking once dried. I can relate to this because I've had the same experience wtih some gels I've tried.
I asked Tanika, “what surprised you most about going natural?” Her response was inspiring.
Let me twist this into being natural, not going natural. My hair still surprises me every day, but I am understanding it more. I used to not like hair shrinkage, but now I embrace it. And admiring my curls more now, than I did before. My hair is happy when I look after it and lets me know when it is not its best. The key takeaways are having patience, understanding your hair and time. And learning what works in your hair. And even though you may not notice it, your hair is growing.
Connect with Missy Bee London
A Natural Hair Care Routine: Ternesha, Boy.Mom.Life
Ternesha went natural in 2016 because it was time to grow healthy, happy hair. I can truly relate. Her hair type is 4b/4c, which means that she's rocking tight coils (like me). Once a week, Ternesha shampoos and deep conditions her hair, following up with a leave-in conditioner and a curling cream to do two strand twists. Her favorite brand is Earth Supplied.
A few years after her choice to go natural, Ternesha shared that what has surprised her most is how confident her natural hair has made her.
Connect with Ternesha, Boy.Mom.Life
My Hair Routine
I've had relaxed hair most of my adult life and decided to go natural because my hair was so thin and damaged. Instead of the Big Chop to remove the processed length, I decided to wear protective styles (braids, crochet styles, weaves) for a few years. I would have continued on this path because I hate doing my hair, but the woman who did my hair moved out of state. So I decided to try a natural style and I'm glad that I did because of COVID. The pandemic made it impossible for me to get my hair done so I had to learn to do it myself.
I thought it would be hard to go natural. Today, it's no big deal. Going natural saves me a ton of time in the morning and it saves me a ton of money. I have YouTube to thank, this is where I learned more about hair care and various products. I tried many things until I found a routine and products that work for me.
I wash my hair once a week, doing a co-wash midweek when necessary. In the summer, I'm outside doing yard work regularly and it's a messy chore and I need to wash pollen, grass, and dust out of my hair between washes. I deep condition after my shampoo and follow up with the LOC method: leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream. The next night, I wet my hair with a conditioner/water mix that is in a spray bottle and massage in a hair product that does a good job too. And the following days, I freshen my hair with the conditioner/water mix and Luster's Scurl (a blast from the deep past).
Curly Hair vs. Natural Hair
I used to think the Natural Hair Movement was something new. Nope, it's just new to me. Black women around the world have been embracing their natural hair and kicking chemicals to the curb. So, you guessed it, natural hair is unprocessed. Black women are kicking the creamy crack (relaxer) to the curb. In our case, natural hair IS curly hair. But, when I think about it, natural hair is also curly hair for women of other ethnicities who were born with spirals. What I love most about the curly hair community is that while I may not use all of the same products others use, I can still learn from everyone.
So, what's your curly hair routine?