Last Spring I wrote about wanting to be free from the bondage that is the hot comb for the Black woman! I was looking to embrace my hair in its natural state…but wasn’t really ready to commit to living the full on ‘natural’ lifestyle. Because I didn’t follow through with keeping up a natural style when I first tried it last year, the desire has remained in me. A few weeks ago, all of those thoughts came creeping back: wanting to see my hair in a different style other than straight, washing it more often at home between salon visits, not being too chicken to walk out the house however my styling attempt came out, etc., etc.
I began to research online (read: watch youtube videos) and found that there is soooooo much information out there about natural styles for Black women! It was almost overwhelming. At one point I was low-key obsessed with watching online tutorials about natural hair. My favorite site so far is curlynikki.com. Her hair is gorgeous, she offers lots of info/education, and she’s pregnant, like me! Her site is a great resource for those thinking about transitioning from a relaxer to a natural.
I’ve learned terms like co-washing, two-strand twists, and big chop (visit curlynikki.com for definitions). I watched many demonstrations from women with all types of hair on hair styles, products, and the like. After a week or two of this ‘research’, I was finally ready to try it out for more than a day. I called up a friend of mind who has mastered her natural mane and curls (aka…My Little Songbird) and got some direct advice and encouragement. I headed to Wally world and picked up some conditioner in an attempt to finally become ‘one’ with my true-hair. No heat, no hot comb, no blow dry…just some conditioner, a wide tooth comb, and some bobby pins.
The first day I co-washed, then put in two-strand twists all over my head. I promised myself that however it looked in the morning was how it was going to look – and I was leaving the house regardless! I tied my hair up for the night and woke up to a pleasant surprise! It wasn’t perfect, but I made my new natural-curly-wash-n-go look work for me!
I put in a headband and walked out the house feeling free! I was a lot more comfortable with it than I thought I would be. Inspired, I decided to keep up a heat-less style for at least a week. I co-washed again a couple of days later, this time deciding to wear a slicked/wet bun. This style, I REALLY fell in love with! It allowed me to maintain not just clean hair, but a clean scalp, which is important because I have dermatitis of the scalp (it’s basically incessant dandruff and peeling of the scalp).
Here’s a quick photo summary:
Overall, this is my assessment on wearing my hair natural:
It really is very liberating! It feels good to take control of your hair and get to know it in its natural state.
It was fun to try different styles other than the plain old straight press.
It’s good for people like me with dry scalp issues. It was nice to wash my hair more often and give it the moisture it so desperately needs. I’ve always been good to my hair and not my scalp.
It was great not having to worry about sweating my hair out while getting some exercise OR worrying about splashing water close to my hair line when I washed my face in the morning (mmm-hmm…it gets that serious!).
Without the proper education or care, natural styles can be very damaging. The ends dry out and get all tangled with one another and you have to be careful with combing it out and manipulating it, so as to prevent severe breakage.
Natural styles can be A LOT of work! Twisting, braiding, re-twisting, pinning, spritzing with water, re-applying oils and conditioners…whew! It’s a job. A couple of times I just wanted to wrap my hair – which takes all of 5 seconds and just go to sleep! In my opinion, the time I spent in the salon chair letting someone else do the work was traded for me doing all the work of keeping the style up.
I didn’t find a lot of information on what it means to be a ‘heat-trained-natural.’ In other words, where does someone like me fit into the natural hair community? I don’t have a relaxer but I do get my hair straightened via a good old ‘press-n-curl.’ In the natural community, a natural is someone who went from having a relaxer to growing the relaxer out, to only wear the hair in it’s naturally curly state. Technically I’m a natural since I don’t have chemicals in my hair…but am I still considered to be a slave to the European standard of beauty in America because I get it straightened? Hmmm….lots to think about there, ain’t it? I found only one youtube video that commented on this. I’m sure there are others, but the woman in this one brings up some very interesting points. Click here to check it out! Her channel fully documents her journey…I enjoyed watching her vids.
I’m clear in that there were definitely more pros than cons. Ultimately, whether you wear your hair straight or curly, it’s a personal choice that should be made just for you. I found that getting my hair pressed and wearing it curly both had their fair share of responsibilities…it’s just managed in a different way. At the end of the day we still do some of the same things, like slick our edges down with product then a scarf (you KNOW you know what I’m talking about! lol).
I’m very happy that I tried it out and accomplished what I set out to do. I will definitely add my ‘wet bun’ style into my normal hair routine in between salon visits.
So what about you, ladies? What’s your take on natural hair? Do you have a press, a relaxer, or weave?
I want to hear from you!