Going Natural - Growing Natural Hair... Is it really easier?


My experience "going natural".

We’ve heard it time and time again that natural hair is healthier and easier than dealing with relaxed hair. Depending on the person most will agree that having natural hair is definitely healthier. The lack of chemicals touching the hair and scalp on a quarterly basis (but sometimes more often) is a better choice.

However is natural hair care really easier to deal with than relaxed hair? Well, each individual who has decided to go natural has their own opinions.

In my experience, going from past shoulder length relaxed hair to now having past shoulder length natural hair, I’ve definitely seen a difference.

Note: When my hair was relaxed I only went to the salon every 3 months. The rest of the time I styled my hair myself. I only went to get the chemical relaxer process professionally done. Styling my hair myself was always a very easy process and my hair always looked healthy and shiny. I often got compliments on my hair. People always asked what I did. But really, I simply ate fairly well and was not too cruel to my hair. Although I did flat iron it every day, it was actually quite healthy. I know crazy! I never understood why my hair wasn’t damaged but whatever I was doing worked well for me and it was easy to style.

Now that I’m natural, I’ve realized many good and bad things about having natural hair. This is only my opinion. But I just wanted to provide you with the pros and cons that I’ve realized to help you in your decision if in fact, you are considering going natural too.

In my case, here are my personal pros and cons of wearing my hair natural.

PROS:

  • No Chemicals i.e., No More Risk of Burns!
  • Can wear my hair in the same style for days or weeks without having to worry about styling my hair i.e., small twists, braids or cornrows.
  • Can swim and walk in humid or rainy weather without worrying about my hair "reverting".
  • No trips to the salon
  • Save money on salon visits
  • Enjoy the curly pattern of my hair
  • Very few products needed unless you’re wearing a wash and wear or wash and go hair style.
  • Twists, braids and other natural styles allow you to take a rest from using products. This causes less build-up which allows you to have healthier, longer hair as well as a healthier scalp.
  • CONS:

  • May become a time consuming process. You have to comb the hair sometimes on a weekly basis. Have to shampoo, comb, condition and braid/twist the hair which can sometimes take longer than you’d like. Hey, I’d rather be spending my time doing other things than doing my hair!
  • If I decide to straighten my hair natural it starts out nice in the day but slowly becomes frizzy. Therefore need to purchase/find more anti-frizz products that work for your particular hair type/curl pattern.
  • In the past, I used to blow dry and straighten my relaxed hair with a flat iron in 40 minutes flat. Now it takes me longer to style my hair in twists. I can’t cornrow my hair because I can’t do it as neat as a salon stylist. (Well I do it sometimes, but am never 100% pleased with the results).
  • You have to learn to style your own hair unless you have the money to pay natural a stylist on a weekly or monthly basis. You may have to master your own DIY professional styles for the office which may take some time to master.
  • If you decide to wear dreadlocks re-twisting the roots can become a time consuming process especially if you have a job and family to tend to i.e., learning how to retwist “properly” so that when you wash your hair all your hard work won’t go down the drain. Depending on the size of your locks re-twisting can sometimes take between 2-4 hours! That’s a lot of time to spend on your hair.
  • Retwisting dreadlocks or Sisterlocks ™ can become more costly eg., retwisting sessions, having your locks made, going to your loctician every 6-8 weeks may be just as costly or more costly than relaxing your hair.
  • Hair can become tangled more easily because of the tight curl pattern of natural hair.
  • May need to buy more products to "tame" your curls. So you have the risk of becoming the dreaded addict, a product junkie!
  • (I think secretly I still am ;)

    This is really my own natural hair care experience. Every individual is different. But if you do choose to grow your hair natural consider this:

    ALTERNATE CONDITIONING TREATMENTS ~ To be sure that your hair gets the right balance of moisture and protein, be certain that you alternate treatments weekly. Two really good conditioning treatments are Redken Extreme CAT Protein Reconstructor and Barry Fletcher's Major Moisture Deep Penetrating Conditioner. There are other products that produce the same results, but these are two that are we know to be great treatment products.

    NEVER OVERDO IT ~ If you choose to place extensions in your hair, according to Diane Bailey of Tendrils Hair Spa in Brooklyn, "...Never leave extensions in for more than three months... hair can lock and even atrophy when you leave them in for too long." This is very true. If left in too long it can cause extreme dryness, breakage and thinning of the hair. MOISTURIZE ~ Always use a simple moisturizer on your hair. Olive oil, shea butter and many other curly hair products on the market can help you maintain your moisture levels. However, if you are wearing extentions, prior to their removal some products can assist in helping to cut back the shedding that often occurs because of extentions. Try Vitapointe Protect and Shine Daily Hairdress or Take Down Hair Moisturizing Cream for taking down locks or braid extensions.

    MAINTENANCE ~ See your stylist about once a month or perhaps once every two months so that he or she can condition and professionally style your hair. It's always a nice treat to see new ways that you can style your hair.

    PROTECTIVE STYLING ~ Once in a while wear a protective style where your ends are neatly tucked away. Wearing a loose updo can help maintain your hairs moisture while protecting it.

    COMMITMENT ~ Always commit to taking the time to carefully care for your hair. Do weekly conditioning to remove dirt that may be trapped in your hair during the week. Weekly cleansing is also good for the scalp as it aids in better hair growth and overall follicle health.

    Going natural is a journey with it's ups and downs. But overall it's a wonderful journey of loving yourself just the way you are!

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