I've written a lot on my blog. A lot. And much of that information is scattered throughout my blog. So I regularly receive e-mails and messages of currently relaxed ladies or newly naturals who have no idea what to do and are finding all of the information overwhelming. In the hopes of having one central place for all newbie and wannabe naturals to go to for some guidance, I re-jigged the Newbie Natural page last year with direct links to all of the posts I've already written (and in the future will write) on being newly natural. Call it a one stop shop. And I'll add to it as time goes on.
Many of my readers have asked me how to go about being natural. So, where to start? As Julie Andrews says, let's start at the very beginning :D
Here's how I can best summarise the steps I'd recommend to going natural:
Are you going to stop relaxing your hair or not? If yes, why? What is or are your reasons? Write them down somewhere where you can re-read the reasons when you reach a low point in your journey. It's different for different women. I started a blog (!) and I wrote about my decision to go natural here.
2. Transition or big chop?
That's really up to you and you alone. No one else is living your life and will be walking around with your hair. If you're not ready to go short or fully natural, wait until you are. The advice I'm going to give is to take care of your transitioning hair the same as you would your natural. Use this time to research products and techniques and get used to seeing natural hair in a way that inspires you. Sunshine of Natural Sunshine rightly suggests taking a break from mainstream media which is bombarded by women with straight and relaxed hair. Have a look at natural hair blogs, videos, magazines. Find inspiration in another natural haired woman in real life or online to help you and your mind get accustomed to seeing natural hair in a good light. I jumped and big chopped three months after my last relaxer and even though I didn't know it then or the few months afterwards, that chop did wonders for my confidence. It really tested me, because after that I figured if I could walk around outside of my house and interact with people with hair 1 inch short, I could walk out of my house rocking anything.
Yourself, your significant other, your family and friends. Going natural isn't a walk in the park for everyone. For some it exposes a lot of insecurities that they may not have even known they have.
- Yourself: In many cases, going natural means having to re-learn how to care for your hair. You're probably an expert in maintaining your relaxed hair or weave or whatever your pre-natural chosen style is. So start researching and preparing going natural as soon as you can. Again, Sunshine from Natural Sunshine suggested a great way of conditioning yourself to natural hair and that's by taking a break from mainstream media for a little while. As big as the natural hair 'movement' is getting, straight and relaxed hair is still the norm for women (Black or other) in the media. So we're used to seeing that as a beauty reference but our minds are malleable. You can actively decide to stay away from magazines or websites that don't portray women with natural hair and look for places that do. Have a look at natural hair blogs, Google natural hair images or try my favourite space for natural hair inspiration: Pinterest. Once you begin seeing beautiful, sexy, confident women rocking their natural hair and in all sorts of ways, you'll feel less worried or scared to join them.
In part 2 of this blog post, I'll be sharing my suggestions of how to prepare your significant other and your family for your decision of going natural. (Please note that these posts are merely my advice and based on my own experience.)
For more tips for newbie naturals including how I went about going natural, check out the Newbie Naturals page.