It’s 2024! And as always, with a new year comes new goals. And if you have been thinking about going natural, here’s a new opportunity to embrace your natural hair. We know that transitioning can be challenging, but we are here to support you along the way. Here are some tips to help you start your journey:
1. Be patient and gentle with your hair.
Transitioning takes time and you may experience some breakage, shedding, or dryness.
When I started my journey in 2018, my hair was straight (literally no curl pattern to be seen) and super dry. It was breaking constantly. I felt as if I would never have healthy curls. But I had to start somewhere. I wanted to have healthy hair, I wanted to experience curls, I wanted to wear my natural hair without feeling insecure about it. I used to fall into the trap of comparing my hair to others who had super curly hair. But my journey had just started – it was unfair to my hair and to myself to fall into comparison traps.
So don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, and don’t compare your hair to others - because the best is yet to come! Your hair is unique and beautiful.
2. Find a regimen that works for you.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for natural hair. You need to experiment and find out what products, techniques, and styles suit your hair type and needs.
This was the fun part for me. I was so eager to try new things and techniques and see how my hair responded to each. I did a ton of DIY hair masks, deep conditioning, and hot oil treatments when I started. I whipped up random ingredients in my kitchen for my hair masks – from coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, jojoba oil….to vitamin E, greek yogurt, honey, mayonnaise, mashed avocado, eggs, etc – I was trying it all! I was trying different store-bought deep conditioners and was using them twice a week to start. I was researching protein treatments (a DIY egg and yogurt mask is a great at-home protein treatment, by the way!) and I was doing those once a month. I was doing homemade hot oil treatments once/twice a week. I was using sealing products to keep moisture in my hair. And I ditched towels to dry my hair – I started using cotton t-shirts to avoid losing too much moisture. And I stayed away from applying heat whenever possible. I was doing a ton of wash n’ gos.
Your regimen may look different from this, and that is okay! Start experimenting and seeing how your hair responds to a regimen. Give it time to see the results. If you need to switch it up, then switch it up. A basic regimen should include cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing, sealing, and protecting your hair.
3. Trim your ends regularly.
As your hair grows, you will have to deal with two different textures: your natural hair and your relaxed or heat-damaged hair. This can cause tangles, knots, and split ends. To avoid this, you should trim your ends every 6 to 8 weeks, or as needed. Some people choose to do the ‘big chop’ (cutting off all the damaged hair at once). There is no right or wrong way to handle this. Do whatever you feel is comfortable! We know that it may be heartbreaking to trim or chop some length if you have long hair, but it DOES grow back! You will also start to see your hair pattern at the ends transition to adorable curls before you even know it. Just give it time.
4. Try protective styles.
Protective styles are hairstyles that keep your ends tucked away and reduce manipulation of your hair. They can help retain length, prevent breakage, and make your transition easier. Some examples of protective styles include braids, buns, twists, etc. Make sure to moisturize and care for your hair underneath the protective style and don’t leave it in for too long to avoid tension on your hair.
Transitioning is not only a physical process, but a mental and emotional one. You may face some challenges, but you will also discover the beauty and versatility of your natural hair. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different products, accessories, and styles. Find inspiration from other naturalistas and join online communities. Take progress photos and celebrate the positive changes!
Most importantly, love your hair and yourself!