By Terez Howard of www.naturalicioushair.com
I will never ever go natural… and I will certainly never get locs.
That’s what I told my future self. Well, future self is eating crow. I am happily natural and ecstatic with my locs. But this post isn’t about me. It’s really about what a young teenager recently told me.
She expressed dissatisfaction with her relaxed hair, broken off from too many chemicals, direct heat and drying products. “Well, you don’t have to do that anymore,” I told her. “I will never go natural, Terez” was her abrupt, matter-of-fact response.
For the life of me, I can’t understand why a woman hates her hair but refuses to do anything about it. But don’t let me get started on that rant.
No more than two weeks later, she asked me to guess what she was doing. “Going natural!” she exclaimed. What changed her mind? Another girl her age made the decision to go natural, and she decided to join her.
How to have a successful transition
I am all about having a buddy during your natural hair journey. The only ladies I had that were wearing natural hair like mine were the ones I encountered online. In my town, I had absolutely no other naturals to talk with about my fears, bad hair days, length goals and styling options. I was a blog-stalking, forum-watching natural, kept afloat in my journey only by the photos and stories I could read on the Internet.
If you find a friend to go natural with you, please keep the following in mind:
1. Natural hair varies. Just because you found a natural sister does not mean you will be hair twins. It’s extremely likely your curls and coils will not be like your friend’s. Don’t be disheartened when your friend’s hair does things that you cannot force yours to do. Embrace what you have.
2. Share products. If you and your friends are interested in similar hair care products, share one another’s products. This way, as you discover what your natural hair likes and doesn’t like, you can sample products at a fraction of the cost.
3. Take photos of one another’s journeys. With your fellow transitioner, take photos of how your hair changes and grows as well as the styles you try. As you progress in your journey, you can start a blog or a scrapbook along with your friend.
4. You have to want it yourself. Don’t go natural just because your friend is doing it. You will not stay natural if that’s your real reason for doing it.
I look forward to watching my two young friends go natural. I know that at their age, I would never have had the confidence to wear my natural hair. Gaining that confidence is essential to becoming content with the all-natural you.
So, tell me. Would you rather go natural with a friend or on your own?
By Terez Howard
Why do you spend all that time on your hair?
That’s what my husband used to ask me about 6 years ago. I was natural. But I didn’t wear my natural hair. I straightened it as straight as I could. I rolled it every night in curlers. I rarely wore my hair down for fear the dreaded moisture monster would scare my hair into its natural state.
Now I spend about 8 hours retightening my locs every 5 weeks. And he says, “That’s really fast, Terez. You’re getting good at that.”
That might seem ridiculous. However, my white husband appreciates that I am wearing my natural hair. Ethan has been my No. 1 biggest supporter. Although I had a lot of chemical-free bloggers, Internet-based DIY-ers and online naturals to turn to, if I didn’t have him in my corner, I don’t think I could have done this natural hair thing.
When we first got married, he did not understand what I had to do to make my hair look “presentable.” I would not dare go out with freshly washed hair. Ethan would always ask why. I always retorted, “I can’t.” He was the first person to tell me there was nothing wrong with wearing my hair after it was washed. I think that was on our honeymoon.
By Terez Howard
So, you’re natural now, and you want every other black girl to be natural like you?
It’s not an uncommon reaction when you discover the wonders of your curls and coils. Your natural hair can do things that your permed hair could never have done. The online community of naturals spurs you to take your message of natural hair care to the streets.
But if you aren’t careful, your helpful mission could turn into a beastly re-run, the kind that no one wants to revisit. If every other word out of your mouth gets glares and constant backlash, you might want to consider refining your approach.
Here’s how you can retain your status as a natural hair ambassador without coming off like a jerk:
Ultimate curl definition.
The softest, silkiest fro imaginable.
Guaranteed to stimulate long, healthy hair growth.
When you read advertisements like that followed by realistic testimonials that say, “This really works!”, don’t you feel impelled to give that super product a chance? We naturals might like to believe that we have the strength to not try every up-and-coming natural hair care product on the market. Some of us do.
On the other hand, some of us label ourselves product junkies. As the name suggests, we are addicted to hair care products. Our hair care arsenal looks like bomb shelter, but instead of canned food and a first aid kit, we have rows and rows of gels, shampoos, conditioners, serums, cleansers, clarifiers, glosses, moisturizers, creams, lotions and detanglers. How much can one head of hair handle?
Less is more.
The more products we pile on our natural tresses, the greater the need to cleanse our scalps of nasty product build-up. The first couple days after we load our hair with product might give it the look we desire. But after those couple days, too much product will start to irritate the scalp and weigh down fragile strands.
Less is more. The absolute least amount of product that gives the greatest results will help your hair and scalp stay cleaner longer, looking cute in the process.
But what if you haven’t found that miracle product yet, the one that detangles, moisturizes and defines your unique curls? You don’t have to give up cable because you are a product junkie. You also don’t have to quit cold turkey from buying natural hair care products.