What does “going natural” mean? Everyone has their own personal opinion and definition. To me, going natural means letting go of those products that hurt your hair more than help. It’s not just about simply rocking an afro and shouting out “Power to the people!” all day long. It’s about the overall health of each strand, including your scalp — using the best ingredients made for your hair. It’s about taking harsh chemicals out of your hair diet, and using what nature intended. Most of all, it’s about loving your hair and taking absolute care of it.

WHY I AM GOING NATURAL

I decided to go natural because I love my hair, and I just want it to have a healthy life. I have always had super thick hair. My mom used to go nuts trying to style it when I was younger because it was just so thick and not very easy to manage. I remember seeing pictures of myself as a kid with a huuuuge soft afro. Finally, to make life easier for myself and my mom, she put in one of those kiddie relaxers. Over the course of my relaxed years, into my teens and early 20′s, I noticed thinning. So to bring back my full thickness, I kept my hair braided on and off for several years. It worked. My hair was thick, long and gorgeous. Then I started feeling myself and wanted to try sew-in’s. Worst mistake of my life. My hair went thru a serious struggle because I was working out like a mad-woman at the time, so I’d sweat and my own hair would get poofy from the humidity and I had to constantly flat-iron it so it could mimic the pattern of the weave. I literally ended up frying it to death LOL!  I’ve been nursing my hair back to health ever since. I’ll never be so negligent towards my own scalp ever again lol. The sew-in’s that I rocked for about a 2 to 3 months on and off weren’t the main cause of my major breakage — it was my own ignorance. I could have taken much better care of it, but clearly I didn’t know what the hell I was doing — and I was pretty lazy about it, I must admit. I took my own hair for granted.

I figured, it’s time for me to just say “To hell with chemicals and relaxers” and rock the hair I was born with. To be honest, as much as I love a good weave (they’re fun to me), I definitely get sick of buying them. I still like relaxed hair…just on other people. I don’t wanna put that stuff in my hair again, because it built a platform for destruction. I haven’t put a relaxer in my hair since March of 2010, and I haven’t put heat in it since May of 2010. I’ve been keeping my hair slicked back into ponytails while rocking a cute little wig, as I prepare myself for the ultimate chop. I’m nervous as hell, but I know that the initial horror of seeing my hair so frickin short will soon pass and I’ll get over it. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back.

My attitude towards hair has changed. I used to really not care all that much about it, I mean — I just didn’t do all of that research and product ingredient fact-checking that so many of us do now. I am way more aware of what I’m putting into my hair, and which product gives me the best results. I was never one of those “My hair defines who I am and I am my hair” type of people, and to be honest I’m still not — but I definitely appreciate it more and want it to be beautiful.

MY HAIR, BEFORE I CUT ANY OF IT OFF…

My hair, before my big chop

My hair, before my big chop

My hair, before my big chop

My hair, before my big chop

My hair, before my big chop

You can’t tell, but my hair is actually relaxed in these pictures. What you also cannot see is that it’s damaged at the ends. All of this thick hair had to go. I took my scissors, snipped a few inches off here and there, and I’m still cutting it off to this day. Much of what you see in those pictures, is now in the trash lol.

SO WHAT IS YOUR HAIR LOOKIN’ LIKE RIGHT NOW?

As of now, I am officially “transitioning”. I wear protective styles right now to keep my hair healthy and thick. I wear weaves, wigs, ponytails — I’m not opposed to any of that stuff because again, it’s just hair. When my hair is at a length/stage that I’m comfortable with I will debut it to you all on a more permanent basis. Just know that I’m gonna get it braided so it can rest and grow a bit before I start rocking it all on it’s own. It’s a long journey, but I’m so excited about it. I cannot wait to get a big sexy fro ;)

As for my hair type — it’s a blend of 4a/4b with just a tiny big of 3c in the back around the nape area. There are parts of my hair that have s-pattern’s and z-pattern’s, loopty-loops and frizzballs. The coarser areas of my hair come from my father, while the finer areas come from my mom. I’ve got the best of both worlds.

PRODUCTS I’VE BEEN USING SO FAR

I’ve been using Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Conditioning Milk, and the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Hold Smoothie. Both of those products give me softness and moisture. I’ve also been using all of the products from the Hydratherma Naturals line (which I absolutely LOVE), as well as water and straight up olive oil. My hair loves essential oils, it stays soft and hydrated a lot longer. My most recent purchases (which should be arriving today!) were a few things from the Kinky Curly line, and a big box of Oyin Handmade products. I was gonna totally jump on that Miss Jessie’s BOGO sale, but I was reading the ingredients list and the two main products I wanted to try are loaded with mineral oil (which dries my hair out and makes it feel like straw) :| So that’s a NOGO on the BOGO lol. I still may try their Rapid Recovery stuff though, I’ve heard great things about it.

I NEED YOUR HELP!!

I’m still a total newbie to this “natural hair” thing, but I’ve been reading a ton of articles, blog posts and community forums to get as much information as I can. I know what my hair likes, and what it doesn’t — although I’m still trying products to see how my hair responds. My hair despises mineral oil and/or petroleum based products. My hair needs moisture 24/7, and lots of conditioning oils to keep it soft and manageable.

For those of you who either went natural, or are still transitioning — what are your favorite products and/or tips and tricks? Help a 4a/4b newbie out!

*adjusts wig*

-Stay beautiful

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