You have cut off the last few strands of relaxer and you are finally natural. At last you have achieved your goal after months of struggling with two textures. So what now? How are you going to manage your natural hair? What will my work colleagues think of my hair texture? These are just some of the questions swimming around in your mind. Maybe you thought your hair texture would be different, looser, thicker, or your hair would be longer by now.
You have this new hair that you may not have seen since you were young and you have not got a clue of how to manage and style it. Do not get down; it takes time to get reacquainted with your hair. It was only after two years of being natural that I was able to establish a routine that works for me and I felt that I could style my hair without constantly struggling.
For a newly natural you first need to experiment with products to find out what works for your hair, as everyone’s hair is different. You need to try products for yourself to see how your hair responds to it. You will also notice as the season’s change your hair will react differently to products you are using, so you might have to use some different products in the winter compared to the summer months. Try product swapping with your friends so you are not wasting money in the process of finding the right products for you.
Once you have established what products work the best, then you should stick to a simple routine. I find that the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method is great for my type 4C hair. You do not need to use hundreds of products for your hair to look and feel great.
On returning natural you have now discovered that your hair is kinkier than you expected. In the natural hair and black community the looser softer texture has been seen as the ideal and most desired for so long. There is still a lot of texture discrimination that occurs. So now you are here with your tightly coiled head wishing and feeling it should look another way. The process of acceptance of your type 4 hair texture is probably the hardest part of the journey. Once you have found self-love that is when your afro crown will truly shine.
When styling our hair it seems like everyone is on the quest for crazy definition. This is fine as long as you don’t become obsessed with every strand being perfectly defined. Trust me I have been at the stage when I was twisting my hair every night just to obtain defined kinks, but now I am over that stage of the quest for perfect definition. My hair is kinky and coily and that is just the way it is. Just remember that your hair is good enough in its natural state.
In my relaxed days I was a hairdresser addict, every two weeks I was getting my hair washed, treated and styled. As a result of my addiction I did not know how to manage my own hair when I started transitioning. As a newly natural I would advise avoiding going to the hairdresser regularly for a few reasons. Firstly you need to experiment with styling your hair yourself so you know how to look after your hair. Also I find that many hairdressers in the UK are not used to dealing with natural hair so the solution is to blow dry and flat iron when styling, if this is done frequently your hair will start to break. The final reason why you should become your own stylist is due to type 4 hair being so versatile, so just have fun and play around with different hairstyles.
Type 4 hair is prone to a lot of dryness. Your strands are going to be crying out for water if you neglect to keep them moisturised. Keeping your hair moisturised is an extremely important step to caring for your strands. Nobody wants dry brittle hair that can break easily.
I moisturise my hair with a water based spray leave in conditioner. When my hair is free of braids I lightly spritz my hair on a daily basis. I then seal in with oil and once all of the moisture has been locked in I add a cream based moisturiser to keep it soft.
Shrinkage can be some naturalista’s worst enemy and you might be shocked at the amount you have. But if you do have shrinkage it actually means you have healthy hair, as your hair is reverting back to its normal state. If your hair is not reverting when wet, then you should be worried. I know people want to show off their actual length, but try not to get too caught up in hating the shrinkage you have. Also in the shrunken state your hair will appear much thicker and fuller.
The transition is over so now is the time to embrace the natural you.
Let me introduce myself, i'm Caron a London based blogger.