It still amazes me how you rock natural hair and still look sexy so effortlessly
1. Wear it: Whether you big chop or transition, wear your natural hair out as much as possible. Yes, you’ll feel awkward and very vulnerable at times but eventually the anxiety will ease up and you won’t even remember it. A lot of naturals recommend using makeup and accessories to help with styling your hair and keeping your overall look feminine. Yes, these additions are definitely helpful but they are very temporary fixes. You need to draw strength from much deeper within yourself because it’s the only sustainable path to completely embracing your natural hair. 80% of the time I am not wearing makeup and my hair is either tangled or a humid puff ball because I’ve finally gotten to that place where I actually prefer myself without a mask and I’m gangsta like that so couldn’t be bothered. In fact these photos were self shot right before wash day and the only makeup I’m wearing is red lipstick (bold lips are pretty much my entire idea of make up), the rest of my face is bare.
2. Accept it: Natural hair comes with plenty of quirks and has a mind of its own. Expectations of what you hair is supposed to look like or how it should behave will set you up for frustrating disappointment. Love and accept your hair without any expectations and instead focus on learning how to care for it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve spent hours creating a style only for it to turn out in the most wild unexpected outcome or for the weather to literally and figuratively rain on my parade, like the humidity effect on this twist out. The thing is there are no fails with natural hair, it’s all about your attitude. Everything I’ve done with my hair so far has been a trial and error affair and some painful lessons in keeping my cultural expectation at bay. In fact I no longer have expectations as far as my hair is concerned; Que sera sera (whatever will be, will be).
3. Educate Yourself: Do your research, read and take advantage of all the natural hair blogs to learn much as you can about natural hair. Research combined with experiences of other women with similar texture will be critical to avoiding bandwagons and making sensible decisions about your hair. When it comes to natural hair, techniques and methods of working with your hair trump products. Investing time in learning techniques that are suitable for your hair type is far more valuable than any product money can buy (no matter what the “gurus” claim).
4. Find Your Tribe: Your tribe will be women with similar texture and density to yours. Your tribe will be a vital source of information because chances are whatever issues you have with your hair someone else has already been there and probably found a solution. You will be awfully frustrated if your hair texture is 4c and you attempt techniques and styles used predominantly by those with 4a texture. Natural hair typing is problematic because we all have at least two textures, however identifying the type that closely relates to your dominant texture can be very helpful when trying to figure out products and techniques to experiment with. For example, most of my hair texture is 4c, characterized by a lot of tiny curls that cling very closely, cotton-like appearance, proneness to dryness and massive shrinkage that results in tangles and multiple strand knots. While in the early stages of a TWA, this information was not vital, as my hair gained length it became critical when choosing techniques and products for my hair.
5. Brace for Backlash: I’ll be honest with you….Realistically, not everyone will approve of your decision to be natural and some people will just outrightly make rude, ignorant assumptions and comments about your hair. Just remember everyone is entitled to their opinion, including you. Some else’s discomfort, disapproval or just plain ignorance about your hair should not determine how you wear your hair. While this realization will by no means shield you from negativity, it will help you gracefully handle and exit whatever unpleasant situation you might find yourself in as far as your hair is concerned.
6. Drop the Rose Tinted Glasses: Reconsider what you perceive as beautiful and sincerely question where your beliefs come from. Starve the noise by finding resources that celebrate women in natural hair styles and even better, hair texture that is similar to yours. Pinterest and Instagram are wonderful visual resources of not only how incredibly versatile natural hair is but also the diversity of textures, densities, cuts and curl patterns. Also, realize that the perpetuation of the thick luscious mane as the ideal natural head is a gigantic hoax. Whether your hair is that fabulous thick mane or lighter density (like your’s truly) the truth is comparison will send you into depths of depression in a quick minute. Again, take off those rose tinted glasses and recognize cultural stereotypes for what they are; cultural stereotypes that have very little bearing on reality.
7. Develop a Steel-reinforced Attitude: Surprisingly most of the negativity I’ve encountered has been within the natural hair community. With time I realized there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion within the community and most assumptions and statements people have made about my hair or my unusual approach to hair care stems from ignorance and an unrealistic but highly favored perception of what natural hair is supposed to be like (see point 6). I stopped getting upset by the ignorance and opted to voice my informed opinion as rebuttal. Long ago I simply decided my hair was fabulous regardless of the state or stage of growth it was in. It’s very simple; I am the beholder of my own beauty and whatever I say goes. I’ve radiated this fail-proof attitude throughout my hair journey (which includes two big-chops), which has proved very effective against any negativity I’ve encountered. Take time to really understand your hair, accept it as it is without expectations and finally just be, the rest is noise.
What has been your experience? How did you embrace your natural hair?