Natural hair is the new black. Once unthinkable for all but the kookiest members of our community, in the last decade, embracing curls, coils and kinks has become, well natural for Black both here and abroad. Going natural is considered a journey, and transitioning its rite of passage. The process of gradually cutting chemically straightened strands to make room for curly new growth involves both physical and mental evolution. The voyage used to be tough, confusing and frustrating, but thankfully it no longer has to be. Today, prospective naturals have a much smoother road ahead, if they’re willing to do the work. Interested in returning your mane to its natural glory? Here are six helpful guidelines.
1. Natural Hair Takes More Time and Attention
Remember those days of shake and go, hair? Kiss them goodbye. Natural hair is gorgeous and versatile, but getting it down takes more work and effort than just rocking a relaxer. It takes time to get to know your textured hair, and the products and, more importantly techniques it needs to flourish. Seek out women with similar textures, both online and in real life. Ask tons of questions. Read great books like ‘The Science of Black Hair’ by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy. Practice, practice, practice. Once you’ve mastered a basic regimen, caring for your curls will get much, much easier. It won’t ever be effortless, but at least you don’t have to worry about scalp sores and scabs anymore.
2. Learn How to Detangle
Don’t just expect to run a comb through your hair. Tugging at textured roots is a recipe for disaster. Natural hair has to be handled more gently than relaxed strands. Managing curly and straight hair at the same damn time means taking extra special care. Detangling should only be done on wet or damp hair. Use detangling brushes, wide-tooth combs and even your fingers to carefully remove tangles and snarls. Comb from the tips, slowly and carefully working your way up the hair shaft for tear-free detangling.
3. Schedule Regular Trims
The goal of transitioning is to gradually embrace your natural hair. So while you’re choosing to slowly go natural instead of chopping all the relaxed ends off at once, eventually the straight hair has to go. Trimming it on a regular basis helps keep hair look neat and reinforces your commitment to the process. Aim for around a½ inch per month to keep hair the same length, or more if you’re daring. If you don’t cut it out, it will start breaking off.