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Amanda

Amanda

I’m Jamaican-American; I come from a family known for having long hair. So of course when my hair didn’t budge an inch it was a disappointment. I decided to go natural after another horrible weave in the fall of 2013. My mother was opposed to the idea. However, after a bad relaxer, my mother had to do a big chop. It was inspiring for me to see a woman her age do a big chop, considering the fact that she’d been chemically altering her hair since she was in her teens. I decided that same year that I didn’t want to wait for the relaxer to leave; I wanted to give it an early eviction. In June of 2014, after several months of transitioning, I cut off my relaxed hair texture. Of course, my stylist was upset, but for the first time after many years, I saw my hair in its natural state. I’ll never forget that moment.
Amanda

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So You Want To Go Natural?

 

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Please pause that big-chop video on YouTube, drop those scissors and let’s snap back to reality here. So you want to go natural? You want to begin a hair journey? I hope that you understand that with any journey you need to be highly prepared for the trip. There will be many coils, curls and turns; are you down for the ride? Good, so let’s get real.

TRANSITION OR BIG-CHOP

You have a choice here. You can either wait for that relaxer to leave your hair or you can cut it off. I know it seems so simple. However, it is not. If you’ve read a past article of mine: Reversing the Mistreatment of Black Hair, you’ll understand that the process of transitioning is more than just a physical process. Cutting off that relaxed hair signifies the beginning of your transition. You have much to learn my curly-headed grasshopper. You’ll probably spend some days throwing out useless hair products and hopefully donating some to your fellow curly heads. There will single strand knots and in some cases a second big chop. In short, you’re never finished with transitioning because there is no end to this hair journey. Come on, you told me you were down for the ride, so let me help you make this ride lifelong.

NEW BEST FRIENDS

If you were anything like me before going natural, your flatiron was your homie. I didn’t let a day go by without flat ironing my hair; I would even run it through my hair multiple times a day. You can still bring your flatiron along with you on this journey. Here’s the beauty of natural hair, you can rock a multitude of styles without the addition of a relaxer. However, you will not use it in excess. Heat damage and journeying like drunk driving is illegal on this trip. Why give your hair a bad hangover with all of those limp curls? Flatiron your hair responsibly, it is your new “frenemy”.

I hope you’re grabbing that Blue Magic hair grease so you can throw it in the trash.  Now I know you’re mighty proud of your colorful collection of Blue Magic hair grease, but sister you will not be doing your hair a favor. There are so many adverse ingredients in hair greases like Blue Magic; it is as though you’re reading the ingredient list of a cleaning product. You already know my rule of thumb, you can’t read the first five on the list, don’t even buy it. No worries, on this journey you’ll discover a world of new products that will be a lot less harmful, you might make your own products, who knows.

The skinny comb has to go to. Have you ever heard the expression, that hair was so rough it broke all of the teeth in comb? Let’s flip that statement. That comb was so weak it got all of its teeth knocked out. You’ve got to start using the right detangling tools, with natural hair it’s not really about “combing”. You want to focus more on detangling so you can get rid of single strand knots, shed hair, and loosen matted hair. That means that you’ll be using your fingers a lot, and you will take your time and patiently detangle your hair using a conditioner for the right amount of slip.

SHRINKAGE GALORE

Check the weather forecast because there will be plenty of rain, some from your hair and a few from your eyes. So you took out these lovely braids, your hair appears to be shoulder length. You cry sweet tears of joy, you pull out the tape measure, and you take lovely pictures showing off that length in front of a mirror. But the time has come to wash your hair. You step in the shower with shoulder length hair and step out of the shower with a TWA. You may ask yourself, what happened? Well shrinkage, that’s what happened. Depending upon your hair texture, you might experience more shrinkage than other curly heads. It’s not the end of the world, so don’t you pack your bags and say you’re going back because of shrinkage.

In my opinion, shrinkage is a sign of healthy hair. If you can pull that strand of hair and it bounces back into its place, you have a head of strong elastic curls. As briefly highlighted earlier, damaged hair tends to have an assortment of limp curls, think of overcooked spaghetti noodles. However, if you’re not a fan of your shrinkage, there are many ways you can “stretch” it or elongate it. You can try African threading, you can wear braid outs, twist outs, bantu-knot outs, you can even band your hair as a substitute for threading. So don’t let shrinkage deter you.

PEOPLE WILL JUDGE YOU

Get ready to be mocked. I’ve had mean comments made about my twist outs, and my choice of just letting my hair do its own thing. Don’t transform into a “Natural Nazi” however, just understand that people who judge your natural hair really don’t know much about natural hair care. They probably expect you to wear a perfectly sphered afro every day, when in reality achieving such a look on a daily basis will perhaps cause damage. Remember this is your hair journey. So don’t feel pressured to fit your hair into a certain mold out of the fear of being judged, you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure, and in no time you’ll be back to the same old habits you worked so hard to break free from. Become comfortable with your natural hair, even in its messiest state.

GENESIS

You begin here. I’m serious this is the start, you’ve read the article, you’ve digested the information and unfortunately I must push you out of the nest so you can start. You’ll be fine; don’t allow your doubts to overrule your decisions. If you need a little extra push look out for my YouTube channel underdevelopment: ThatCurlyHeadedChick.

Guest Post: Amanda

Contributing Writer: AmandaI’m Jamaican-American; I come from a family known for having long hair. So of course when my hair didn’t budge an inch it was a disappointment. I decided to go natural after another horrible weave in the fall of 2013. My mother was opposed to the idea. However, after a bad relaxer, my mother had to do a big chop. It was inspiring for me to see a woman her age do a big chop, considering the fact that she’d been chemically altering her hair since she was in her teens. I decided that same year that I didn’t want to wait for the relaxer to leave; I wanted to give it an early eviction. In June of 2014, after several months of transitioning, I cut off my relaxed hair texture. Of course, my stylist was upset, but for the first time after many years, I saw my hair in its natural state. I’ll never forget that moment.

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