This blog might be a little late for some people since the natural hair movement has already hit its peak (I think) and most people have transitioned from perm to natural. But this blog is for the few people who still haven’t and are trying to decide orrr for the hair lovers out there like me! 🙋🏾These are important things to consider before going natural.
There are various hair types that exist and are labeled through combinations of numbers and letters. (Pictured below) These are very loose categories because hair textures are so unique and I feel like we can’t all fit into these few boxes. I have seen many people with 4c hair that looks completely different and reacts differently to products, water, and styling.
Before going natural most people are imagining what their hair type is and what it will look like. Even as new growth comes in during the transitioning stage, you can start to see a curl pattern develop. Although I didn’t transition myself, I have heard that your curl pattern can change after cutting off all the permed hair. This means the pattern you’re seeing grow right now, may not actually be your final curl pattern. Another indicator people try to use to figure out their hair type is their parents' hair. This is a great way to figure out hair type if your parents have similar hair types, but because your hair is a mixture of both parents, you can't 100% decide from that either. I have seen mixed children with hair anywhere from 2c to 4c textures. You really don't know which combination of textures you’ll get and which texture you’ll get more of. My advice is to not have any expectations about how your hair will look. You don’t want to be disappointed when you discover your hair type.
Natural hair is time consuming. From wash day (yes, DAY) to styling, to wash and “go”, our hair takes a long time to do. If you aren’t willing to be patient and dedicate time to taking care of it, or if you aren’t willing to pay someone else to… it may be best to stick with a perm. Even when it comes to styling, you may not be able to twist your hair at night and then take it out in the morning. It may not be dry. This is additional waiting time before achieving your desired style, but it’s part of the process. Moisturizing, oiling your scalp, and covering your hair are all other important steps that take time. Unless you plan on having your hair in protective styling 100% of the time (which also takes time to get the style done), be ready to devote HOURS to care for your hair.
One of the most fun parts of going natural is shopping for products. There are sooo many different products out there because companies have realized that they can make money off of us loving to try new things on our hair. Be aware that all companies also don't have your best interest in mind… they are interested in being PROFITABLE… aka selling the product to you. You don’t have to try every product you see or hear about. Hair products are expensive. Luckily I am cheap but I am definitely one of those people that HAS to go down the hair aisle in every store just to see what products they have. I won’t buy, but I will look. I recommend checking Youtube (my preference) or finding credible sources that review the products. The main thing about Youtube is making sure the video is not sponsored, finding consistency in product reviews, and making sure the Youtuber has similar hair to you. You can’t watch just one video and decide to buy the product unless that youtuber is credible and has the same hair type as you. That is like reading 1 review on a product and buying it. Do research on the worst ingredients for your hair and make sure those aren’t in your products. (Blog coming soon on my favorite hair products)
Whatever your current hair length is right now, be prepared to regularly have your hair shorter than that when natural. Unless your hair is blown out or straightened, it really won’t show it’s actual length. Even stretched styles still experience some type of shrinkage. Many products you see will claim to reduce shrinkage, elongate our hair, maximize growth, etc. I have found with my hair and most 4c hair, you can’t beat the shrinkage unless you intentionally stretch your hair and let it dry while stretched. You also don’t need “growth” oil, our hair is always growing. You have to focus on length retention more than hair growth.
Erase all expectations you have for being a natural and what your hair will look like.
Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your hair (and money unless you will do it yourself)
Research products before buying and don’t buy everything you see
Your hair length will probably be shorter when natural due to shrinkage.
Always remember to be patient, practice, and learn to love your hair! Just cause it’s different than what you’ve seen doesn’t make it “bad”.