Over the past few years more women of African descent have been ditching the relaxer. This has been a process of discovery for many because until a few years ago there was very little information on how to take care of our hair. Now there are many blogs and YouTube channels, abbreviations and products that will only make your head spin. Over the next couple of weeks, I will help you get that natural hair without compromising your respect in the boardroom. I will to make this easy for you to understand and make the process easier for you. There are two ways to become natural, a “big chop” or “transition”.
A big chop is cutting off the relaxed ends of the hair. This is what I did and I loved it because I was able to learn more about my hair and short hair is easy to maintain. For about six months all I wore was a “wash and go” (A hairstyle where you wash your hair, put gel in it and go). For a lot of people, this will be the first time seeing yourself with short hair and this can make you feel uncomfortable. Dress up the cropped cut with accessories and makeup. For inspiration think Danai Gurira who wears her short hair beautifully.
Transitioning is keeping your straight hair and new growth and gradually cut off the straight ends until you are left with virgin hair. Transitioning is harder than the “big chop” because you have to deal with two different textures but you still maintain length. You can wear twist outs, braid outs or use perm rods to create curly style. Some people will wear weaves and braids until all the straight ends are gone.
Hair can be typed as 1a which is bone straight up-to 4c, I have 4b and 4c hair types. The hair typing system gives you a guideline of what you can expect from your hair and the products that may work. Some prefer the porosity test that checks how much moisture your hair absorbs. However no two heads of hair are the same, you have to do a trial and error to find what works for you that is products and processes. Whether you should use sulphate free shampoo or finger detangle or co-wash only depends on your hair type and sometimes pocket.
Not everyone will be comfortable with your texture especially when you have 4b/4c hair, so expect some push back and people suggesting that you do something to your hair especially other black people. This will be discouraging and hurtful especially when it is your family and friends. Find support from other women who are also natural online and or offline to talk to. I believe the more we see something the more it becomes normal.
I encourage you to wear your hair with confidence. You may find that you do not like your texture and are not confident wearing it out. I suggest you wear extensions until you can wear your hair out. Wigs, weaves and braids are great until you are comfortable, be careful that you do not damage your hairline with these styles.
Natural hair by its nature can be unpredictable. Embrace it! Be prepared for your hair not behaving the way you want it to. Keep a hair band to wear your hair into a puff or bun and have extra pins in your purse. There are a number of books out there that you can read on natural hair. I suggest these two books, Science of Black Hair and Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy.
Now that you have the natural hair going, read more in the coming week when I will talk about taking care and maintaining.
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