The ease of your natural hair journey depends on a lot of things: the strength of your hair, your styling ability, your access to products and information, etc. For some women things align perfectly, and their transitioning/natural journey goes off without a hitch. For others it might feel like a start-and-stop, two-steps-forward-one-step-back process.
However challenging the journey is we believe that it’s ALWAYS worth it. Here are 7 things to remember when you’re struggling with your hair:
1. You are learning a new skill that can take years to master
After years of being relaxed, you are turning a corner and learning an ENTIRELY new approach to hair care and inevitably, for some women, this will be a long process. We live in a world of instant beauty, but learning a new approach to hair maintenance takes time. That is why keeping a hair journal can be a great tool for struggling naturals. Keep track every month of what’s working for your hair and what isn’t, and make the modest goal of improving your hair care skills incrementally, one month at a time.
2. You’re a natural girl in a straight hair world, and the resources geared towards you are still somewhat scarce
A black woman with a relaxer or weave can walk into 80% of salons and encounter 5 or 6 stylists who know how to style and care for her hair. Natural women do not have that luxury. And while there has been an upstart in companies providing products for natural hair, there still is a deficit of solid hair care and styling information. Realize that your personal struggle with figuring out your hair is part of a larger trend, and reflects the times we live in. And feel proud of yourself for going against the grain.
3. Natural hair is always the healthier choice
Every woman has her reasons for why she styles her hair the way she does. But when it comes to the healthiest approach, natural hair always wins. As a natural, you are not compromising the strength or health of your strands with chemicals, or the weight of a weave. And you have the freedom to moisturize your strands on a daily basis, a luxury that chemicals and weaves do not afford.
4. You are setting an example for your present/future daughters and nieces
Next time you are in front of the mirror struggling to figure your hair out, remember that everything you are experiencing now is knowledge that you will hand down to the next generation. Just think of how incredible the next generation of naturals will be when, as 3, 4 and 5 year-olds they’re introduced to the concepts of co-washing, pre-pooing and finger detangling!
5. Your beauty is unique — and that includes your hair texture
For a long time black women have viewed natural hair as defective, something that must be “fixed” so that a woman can look presentable. That notion is inaccurate and deeply damaging. Recognize that your hair texture and color are a unique part of your beauty and embrace them as such. And while there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with straight hair or color (it’s part of the fun of being a woman!), don’t forget that your natural hair complements you perfectly.
6. There’s no shame in reaching out for professional help
The online natural hair community is very “do-it-yourself”, and while that ca be a good thing, it’s important to remember that not everyone is capable of it. Some women will be able to manage on their own, while others will need the help and guidance of stylists. For the past three years BGLH has been collecting a list of stylists who are patient and knowledgeable about natural hair, and come highly recommended by readers. Find one in your area if you need help along your journey.
7. Mastering your hair is an amazing feeling!
Just like losing 20 pounds or learning how to eat healthy, achieving a hair health or length goal brings a great sense of satisfaction. Gain inspiration from naturals who have ‘crossed the finish line’ and can share wisdom about their journey.
Ladies, how do you stay encouraged when the hair journey gets tough? Share your thoughts below!