Getting started as a natural!

The road to going natural is paved with expectations, goals, challenges and achievements. At the very beginning of this road you are faced with a choice and the decision that you make will determine the climate of your journey. Going natural is more than changing your hairstyle; it becomes a lifestyle of making good, healthy choices that will be beneficial to you and your hair. Once you have made the commitment to treat your hair with the love and care that it deserves, you can ease into the journey by transitioning or you can be bold and do a big chop. Here is all you need to know to make an informed decision:

Before we get started on the pros and cons of transitioning and doing a big chop, there are two important details that every beginner natural needs to know.

  1. It is time to say goodbye to your relaxer, perm and any other chemically harmful hair products. You are starting a new era in your life so get ready to get excited about your very own curls, growth and being who you are, naturally.
  2. In order to make progress you have to cut out on things that can damage your hair and this includes heat. If you regularly use a flat iron, blow dryer or curling tong, gradually cut down on your use of these tools until you are able to go without them. Starting your natural hair journey is riveting and you want to provide your hair with the best potential-filled environment so that you can achieve all of your hair goals.

Making the Transition
Transitioning is the process of going from your current state of hair to your natural state of hair over a period of time (without making any drastic changes). If you are skeptical about chopping all of your damaged hairs off in one go or if you are simply not comfortable with losing your length, then transitioning is for you. This approach is more subtle and as your natural locks start popping up from the root, you can slowly but surely trim your ends. The key to transitioning is making sure that your old hair and your new growth work together. This can be achieved by making sure that you pay special attention to your line of demarcation (the line that separates the new hair and older hair) by always keeping your hair moisturized and nourished.

Pros:

  • You do not have to cut your hair immediately. You can keep your length and gradually work your way out of your comfort zone.
  • You have a variety of protective styles to choose from! You can do buns, twists, braids, up-do’s and so much more.
  • This goes hand in hand with having the ability to change up your look.
Cons:

  • You are dealing with two different textures which can be challenging. Attempting to make your older hair look like your new curl pattern takes some maintenance and manipulation.
  • Seeing new growth could take a little longer because your hair is already a certain length. As your curls start growing and you start trimming, seeing your actual progress could be difficult.

Big Chop

The big chop (BC) is a more ‘straight to the point’ approach which involves removing all of your damaged hair. How do you know which strands are damaged? They are usually flimsy, have little or no curl pattern and are brittle or dead. Damage usually results from chemical products (relaxers, perms, hair dye) and heat (flat irons, blow dryers, hot combs). After a BC you are left with a fraction of the length you previously had, but you can smile, knowing that the hard part is over and you can look forward to seeing the new growth within days. If you are daring, impatient or need a change, this is the option for you. A BC calls for loads of self-confidence, but once you’ve located your inner goddess you will find that you are the whole package, regardless of your hair length. The short look is temporary, really. It will grow back!

Pros:

  • Doing a BC is liberating. We often hide behind our hair and learning to be confident with less of it can change how you see yourself.
  • You get to reinvent yourself as your journey progresses. Experiencing different hair lengths as you go along is wonderful and there is never a dull moment!
  • Having shorter hair is lower maintenance. You do not have to wrack your brain figuring out which hairstyle to wear because…

Cons:

  • … Your styling options are limited. For now your best options are rocking your TWA (teeny weeny afro) or finger coils.
  • Once you have chopped off your hair you will look different. This can take some getting used to and in this time you might experience some feelings of regret. More often than not this passes and you will start to fall in love with your new look!

Once you have gotten started you are already halfway there. Going natural is all in the journey and the beauty of it is that the journey is in your control. Choose to make it a wholesome, fulfilling and life changing one!


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