You could be gripped with a desire to grow out your natural hair. Maybe you’re dreaming of rocking twist-outs, flicking your own hair or just want healthier, fuller and thicker afro hair that grows out of your scalp.
Whatever the reason, you know you’re probably going to have to do things differently from now on. You may want to cut everything off and start from a low cut or you may want to transition with new natural growth and your old relaxed hair. The thought of going natural may fill you with overwhelm because you feel you don’t know where to start.
Here are five ways to get you going on your journey to glorious afro hair:
Begin with the end in mind
Keep records of your hair journey on a regular basis, at least twice a month or each time you restyle or wash. You could do this online and on your phone with an app like Evernote or in a written journal as long as you take and save pictures with dates. This will highlight your hair growth as it takes place, encourage you when the going gets tough and it will help you notice breakage that may occur. You will also be able to track the use of products and their impact on your hair. Lastly, you'll also know when it's time to cut off all the dead relaxed ends :-)
Select hairstyles you’ll love in advance
Create an inspirational board of hairstyles you look forward to rocking, using Pinterest or saving Instagram photos into a collection. If you’re growing out your new growth with old relaxed hair, the key point is that your straight hair should be styled to your natural hair. So select styles that will blend both hair textures such as twists, braids and up-dos. Using heat on your new natural growth to blend to your old relaxed hair will lead to dryness and breakage, not the goal you had in mind. Add pretty accessories like flowers, bows and colourful hair bands to make your styles pop.
Create a consistent routine that suits your lifestyle
Create a convenient time during the week that you can dedicate to caring for your hair. Ensure that this time is slotted in just before your weekend outings. Deep condition (read more here) as regularly as weekly to keep your new growth thoroughly moisturised. The point at which the new growth meets the relaxed hair is very fragile and deep conditioning will fortify it from dryness and breakage. Moisturise daily by misting hair with a glycerin and water mix. Shampoo with a mild cleanser or co-wash with a conditioner to avoid the dry and harsh chemicals in most store-bought shampoos. Apply plenty of conditioner, not rinsing out, before styling into braids or twists. Find a hairstylist who understands how to look after afro natural hair and book times in advance.
Allow yourself to be a beginner, no-one starts off excellent
That is my all-time favourite quote. Take it one day at a time. There may be times when you feel the two textures look mismatched, making you feel discouraged. Remember that everybody who has full, thick natural hair has started from somewhere. And this time will also pass. With dedication and patience, you will learn so much about your hair and it will thrive. Celebrate when you acquire knowledge about your hair and note it down in your app. When you make mistakes, also note it down. Learning is a big part of looking after natural hair. We are the generation learning to break the cycle so it won’t be easy but it’s totally worth it. Looking at my daughters’ hair and mine today makes me glad I endured the learning process and the many mistakes I made.
Ignore naysayers, surround yourself with like-minded afro-loving people
Not everyone will appreciate your journey and you need to remind yourself that that’s ok. This is your journey and no-one else’s. Negativity form others who are not on the same journey as you is perfectly normal. Keep your eye on the prize - your healthy hair and above all, mastery of it that you can also share with others.
Hope this helps.
Let me know what questions you have on Instagram @ i_am_equi.