This post is for those who are still on the fence…..it’s not a shame to admit that going natural is a big decision!
I was once that insecure transitioner having mega doubts about whether I was doing the right thing….Would I be able to look professional? Would my natural hair make me look dirty/slobbish? Would I ever be able to look glamorous? Would I look sexy? Was my new routine too much work?…..
In a bid to start the day with some positivity, I thought I’d outline my top 5 reasons why I love being a natural! If I could go back in time, I’d love to reassure myself that everything would be ok!
I’m A YES Person!
My hair used to dictate what I was going to do that day. If someone spontaneously called me wanting to go swimming and it wasn’t a wash/straightening day…..the answer was NO!
I did not go camping. Why would I ever want to be so far away from a plug socket?! Maintaining flat ironed hair and extensions was high-maintenance…..camping was a no go zone! Believe me I lost out on many family holidays because of this very superficial reason.
The rain! I would cancel all plans if it was raining…..ALL PLANS! I’d been caught out in the rain a few times previously…..my leave out (which was about two inches long) would turn into a frizz ball leaving my 18 inch long extensions to go stick straight and stick to my face…..not a good look!
These days…..I don’t have any of these problems! Natural hair is low maintenance! No more clips/tracks to hide, no more worrying about reversion, only needing a spray bottle and some conditioner…..I can say YES to spontaneity! I can start enjoying the great memories and not let my hair hold me back from having fun!
Shaniqua doesn’t do camping…
The Scissors Are My Friends!
I think everyone whose ever had relaxed/straightened hair will remember the fear of the shears and scissor-happy hair stylists!
When I was 10, I got a relaxer. My hair was tail bone length. Slowly but surely, it broke off and was very uneven. Every trip to the hairdresser resulted in my hair just getting shorter and shorter, until one final trip, she cut my hair to chin length! That’s right…..I went from tailbone to chin length within a year!
This gave me a permanent fear of the scissors and the false idea that my hair didn’t grow! During the times I knew that my hair needed a good old trim, it was the last thing I’d ever do! This of course prevented me from ever having healthy hair that grew past my collarbone.
These days as a natural, I have salon grade shears of my own….and I bloody love ’em! I’m so obsessed with having healthy hair and perfect ends, that I cut my hair far too often! And after every cut I see fast healthy growth…..within a month or two, it’s all grown back! The mental shift to valuing the health of your hair as opposed to the artificial look is probably the most rewarding thing about going natural!
Natural hair is versatile. I can rock my hair in any style and state without having to worry about exposing those dreaded clips (updo’s used to be out of the question!)
I can do twist outs, braid outs, bantu knots outs, roller sets, perm rods, blow outs, full on flat irons! I’m no longer limited to one straight lifeless texture…..I can play with them all!
Whilst I’m still weary of heat, I haven’t cut it out completely! I now know the ways to protect my hair from heat damage and how to care for it before, after and during the damaging process.
I can literally change my style for every day of the week…..what’s more girly and fashionable than that?? The fashion world needs to get that in their pig-stubborn heads too….(But that’s for another video :P)
I no longer have to go to the hair shop (where they literally sell just human hair) and spend £50-£60 on two packs of crappy quality extensions every couple of months.
I no longer have to go to the salon every 6-8 weeks for relaxer touch ups (£30!!!).
I no longer buy every expensive treatment on the planet in the hope that it’ll be a genie in a bottle and repair the wreckage of my hair.
The straight, long, Ashanti look was draining my purse, and as a student, I could have used that for more alcohol!….or maybe food shopping…?
Going natural is cheap and cheerful! I style/cut my hair myself, make my own leave in butters and my good old Palmers coconut oil shampoo & conditioner costs less than a tenner together. Anything I need other than this is just a luxury and only for months when I’m feeling a little flash (which is never these days!)
I used to have to wake up an hour earlier than I needed to before class. In that hour, I’d reapply my ratty clip in extensions, crispy fry my hair with the flat iron in an attempt to blend and use mineral oil rich cheap products to “add in moisture”, leaving my hair greasy and heavy. I’d also leave the room smelling of burning hair and Pink Lotion.
Getting ready for a night out was a three hour long struggle. My curls had to be flat ironed into oblivion and then curled with a wand until it was Cheryl Cole like – big, fake and obnoxious.
On holiday, the pool was a battlefield. No diving. No jumping in. No underwater swimming. If anyone dared to splash me, they’d probably lose a hand. I’d wade into the water until it was up to my waist and I’d just stay in long enough to cool down, then quickly jump out in fear of having my hair ruined! Not fun! Bit of a killjoy for holidays away with my friends/family.
My old hair style was too high maintenance! My poor boyfriend was getting sick of it, he begged me to go natural simply because he was sick and tired of it holding us up and making us late whenever we wanted to go out.
Flash forward 4 years and my hair is not an obstacle. I wake up twenty minutes before I need to be out the door; shower, eat and shake my hair out of a pineapple. Nights out, I usually wear just a wash and go….again 10 minutes tops styling time! If I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll do a roller set, but it’s so low maintenance that I can just get on with my day whilst waiting for my hair to dry in it’s desired style.
Prime example of just how impractical this old hairstyle was!
Now when you first go natural, I have to admit, it is an emotional and mental journey too.
You will be faced with your demons. You will come to realise that those closest to you have made some pretty mean, undermining comments about the hair you were naturally blessed with. You will realise that the society which you live in tells you that there’s only one way to be beautiful and they subtly mock anyone who doesn’t fit these ideals….the John Frieda advert anyone??! “What can you do with curly, frizzy hair?…..make it go away!” Fuck off!
In the first few years, you’ll probably become a natural hair freedom fighter. You’ll probably avoid all brands from your previously straightened past as their lifelong deception is just too raw and painful. You’ll probably become such a passionate advocate of natural hair that you may border on natural hair nazism….I did it myself ladies; judging women for using relaxers, flat irons and certain ingredients with a holier than thou attitude.
A lot of this anger comes from the realisation that you have been conditioned all your life to see certain features as acceptable/beautiful and that painful reality will then turn to breed a lot of insecurity and frustration.
Go through it and then move past it. As I enter my 4th year of being a natural, I’m just not bothered anymore! I’m confident with my natural curls and I know how to take care of them. No amount of showing me beautiful models/actresses/singers with straightened hair is going to change that.
I’m a natural hair veteran now. I know what works for me and do not need to jump every time I hear Shea Moisture has released a new product range. What I have noticed about natural hair veterans, is how chilled out they get! A great example is Naptural85 (one of my fave youtubers), she started off using all natural homemade products…..has anyone else noticed her recent descent into using shampoo, becoming a face for Carol’s Daughter and the occasional heat styling? (the day I saw her do a flat iron, I swore I saw a pig fly!)
Waking up in the morning, taking out the pineapple and just rocking a fourth day wash and go without a second thought is so liberating! What I love about this fifth reason, is that with time, hair just stops being a big deal! Self acceptance is the ultimate healing potion in this natural hair world….that’s when you come to realise…..that it’s just hair!
What other reasons can you think of to go natural? Comment Below!