The Question of Going Natural by: Justice Muhammad
Are you in the middle of deciding whether or not to go natural? Do you want healthier, longer, stronger, and thicker hair? All of these can be achieved by going natural. I made the jump in April of 2013 and it is by far the best hair decision I’ve ever made.
I got my first and only relaxer on August 1, 2011. I loved it because it made my hair so much easier to straighten but as more new growth began to grow I noticed it wasn’t getting as straight. My hair become incredibly unhealthy, but despite the fact, I was able to retain much of my length. I had a lot of split ends and my hair was very weak and prone to breakage. My hair was also falling out easily. When I started researching how I could prevent split ends, I learned that I needed to stop using so much heat on my hair. However, I had NO IDEA how I would do my hair without it. I was lost. It wasn't until I found a twistout tutorial that Shameless Maya and my life was forever changed. I began using products that consisted of natural ingredients and styling my hair in twistouts. Now I know that at the beginning going natural may seem like it’s a lot of hard work but it is well worth it for these 3 reasons:
- It is incredibly empowering to fall in love with something that is naturally you. I’m sure your mothers, aunts, and grandmothers have told you to love every aspect of yourself including your skin, lips, and nose. Think of your hair the same way. It does not need to be straight in order to be beautiful. Wearing your natural hair shows your acceptance of yourself and as you go through your natural hair journey you will begin to see its beauty and will fall in love with it. I love that I'm able to look at my hair in the mirror and say that it is beautiful. I am completely in love with it.
- It’s fun! Natural hair is incredibly versatile. There are so many styles you can experiment with from twistouts to braidouts to perm rod sets to curlformers. It can all be done with natural hair. Trying new styles including wash-and-go’s, braidouts and bantu knots are super fun. You can also take on a new hobby by using YouTube to watch vloggers with natural hair demonstrate how to do certain styles and give tips, advice, and routines that they have in regards to your new journey.
- You’re a part of a community. There’s so much love in the natural hair community. There are many websites, vloggers, and bloggers that emphasize loving your hair and who offer you tips, advice, and support throughout your journey. Some great accounts to follow are naturallycurly.com , @maneobjective, and @sunkissalba. Being natural also gives you plenty of opportunities to support different Black businesses which is crucial to the Black community. There are an array of amazing products that are manufactured by companies that are owned by Black men and women. Some favorites are Discover Treluxe and Eden Body Works. Some others include Camille Rose Naturals, Alikay Naturals, Shea Moisture, Obia Natural Hair Care, and Mielle Organics. Many of these companies make bath and body products as well.
Because going natural can seem like a daunting task here are a few tips:
- Don’t splurge on products. Start with affordable products that have natural ingredients like Shea Moisture and Eden Body Works. Both are available at Sally’s Beauty Supply and Wal-Mart. Shea Moisture is also available at Target. There are also some basics that every naturalista should own: I recommend starting with a sulfate-free shampoo and silicone-free conditioner or a cleansing conditioner (a cleansing cowash). Other great staples include a deep conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, a moisturizer and styler and some oils. I started out with the Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo and Restorative Conditioner, Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and coconut oil (I didn’t use a deep conditioner which was a big mistake. But hey, we live and we learn).
- Build a solid hair care regimen. The products mentioned above can be used to build a great regimen. Determine how often you will wash your hair and make sure to deep condition it! Use your leave-in conditioner, moisturizer and oil to style afterward (make sure to check out oils that are sealants). This is the LCO method, make sure to get used to it! You can also try the LOC method, which requires the oil to come before the cream. In my opinion, adding moisture after sealing your hair isn’t as effective.
- Be patient. Recovering your hair won’t happen overnight just like eating a salad at dinner won’t make you a super healthy person in the morning. The more you worry the less enjoyable the experience will be. If you’re doing all the right steps then you’re on the right track. Take the time to enjoy the journey and treat your hair carefully throughout its many stages.
Justice Muhammad is a college student attending Harold Washington Community College in Chicago, Illinois. After her undergraduate experience, Justice intends on attending law school. She think Black girls are fly because they have fought and continue to fight for our families and for each other. They are strong, smart, beautiful, determined, and courageous and will continue to uplift and empower each other. Contact her here: firstname.lastname@example.org