I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to ladies who are thinking about going natural but don't think they have what it takes to make it through the transition process.
They tell me they have thoughts about it and even do research on it but they just don't want to leave the routine of getting a relaxer. They think it's too hard and time consuming. I can't blame them for feeling this way because if getting a relaxer is all you know, it's going to be difficult to make such a huge lifestyle change.
Now, I am not here to claim that the transition from relaxed to natural is easy, nor am I here to say it's for everybody, but what I can say is that it's worth the time, energy and sacrifice if you want to truly see the potential your hair has to grow.
If you're one of the many women out there struggling with the thought of going natural keep these tips in mind.
1. You don't have to go natural alone--Find a natural hair buddy who you admire or a blog about natural hair! There are so many natural hair resources out there and you just have to go seek it and join the conversation. Trust me, if you're thinking it some one else is too. I remember I went went natural because of my sister. I went to visit her a few years ago and was in awe of how healthy, shinny not to mention how stylish her short Rihanna look a like cut looked. When she told me that she was natural my mouth fell to the ground. I didn't believe her until she took me to the stylist who had urged her to go natural and nurse her hair throughout the transition process. After that day, I never looked back. So, often times it just takes connecting with that one person to help you make that change.
2. Don't have unrealistic expectations--To alleviate the some of the stress while thinking about going natural, forget about any unrealistic expectations that might pop into your head. Some people think that that they know their hair well enough to predict exactly what kind of curl pattern is going to grow out from transitioning, but truth be told, no one can predict that. So, sit back relax and enjoy the journey. Leave the worries and expectations behind. Before getting a relaxer my natural hair texture was more kinky than curly. So, when I was transitioning, I never expected my natural hair to grow out in spiral curls. However, I was surprised to see that my natural hair texture had changed. This proves that you just never know what's going to happen while transitioning. Don't worry yourself with trying to get the perfect curl. Just let things happen, naturally.
3.Attend a natural hair event--If you are thinking about going natural but you just don't know yet, I urge you to attend a local natural hair event/meet-up. There are SO many natural hair bloggers out there and more and more natural hair events are popping up all over the U.S. Stay connected via social networking and find your nearest natural hair event. Going to the meet-up will open your eyes to a sea of different women with varying hair textures and you will feel nothing but encouraged! My first natural hair event was actually a few months ago, when I went to the Carol's Daughter flagship store in Harlem for a product launch. The experience was phenomenal because of the diversity of natural hair that was present. Nothing compares to talking to other naturals and hearing about their story. I always learn something new!
4. Document your experience--I wish this was something I had thought about 3 and a half years ago when I transitioned. People encouraged me then to do it, but I never did. To me, writing is the most therapeutic way to make it through a tough time. Now, transitiong from relaxed to natural might not be the toughest of times, but it is challenging. So, I encourage you to get a journal and write about your experience, start a blog or video blog, it doesn't matter what outlet you choose to release your feelings and thoughts just do it! Someone out there will always benefit from your story.
5. Allow your number one motivation to be healthy hair--Some women who get relaxers will argue that their hair is perfectly healthy. Now, I can't argue with that notion. When I had a relaxer (before my color damage) my hair was half way down my back and "seemed" to be healthy. However, In 1999 the American Journal of Epidemiology released a publication that began with, “Several studies suggest that toxic chemicals in hair products may be absorbed through the scalp in sufficient amounts to increase the risks of adverse health effects in women or their infants.” The studies were on black women and the effects their hair relaxers might have on their unborn babies. Sodium hydroxide, ammonium, and formaldehyde are just a few named chemical ingredients that can penetrate the scalp skin and enter the body of the mother and unborn baby. Outside of straightening hair, these same chemicals are used as drain cleaners, household cleansers, and embalming fluid. So, if having healthy hair isn't that important to you, at least think about your health in the process and make that your number one motivation.
If you are still going back and forth and playing with the thought of going natural, I hope this post gives you the encouragement and motivation you need to JUST DO IT! I'm here to support you! And so is the rest of the natural hair bloggosphere!