So you want to be natural, huh? Going to the curly side can be one of the most stressful and emotional decisions of your life—but also one of the best. Though it takes time to research natural hair, it’s almost a rite of passage. So before you hop on the bandwagon, read up on a few helpful tips. Then you’ll be fully equipped to have the best hair ever.
Maintaining Natural Hair Takes Work
We know what you’re thinking: I’ll transition to natural hair, so I can save money on salons and just wear it curly all the time. Yes, being natural can be budget-friendly, and yes, you can wear it curly every day of the year, but that doesn’t exactly mean your life will be easier. Keeping healthy hair takes real work—from the shampooing to the detangling (oh, the detangling). So make sure you’re prepared and dedicated.
Training Your Hair Is So, So Important
Curls have a mind of their own. They do whatever they want, whenever they want, and there’s no stopping them. But you can find ways to control them, and over time they’ll follow instruction. For instance, if you want more curl definition, wear a bun at night; if you want less frizz, step away from the hairbrush. Be diligent about sticking to routines that work for your hair (and your lifestyle), and you’ll slowly notice differences in how your hair responds.
Understand Your Hair’s Porosity Level
Without getting super technical, porosity is the way your hair absorbs moisture. Your level is either low, normal or high and can determine which types of hair products are best for you. Low porosity means your hair cuticles are tight around the cortex and tend to repel moisture. Higher levels mean your curls have gaps in the follicles that allow for moisture to better seep in but also make it prone to damage. Knowing your porosity will help you choose the right products. To test: Drop a couple strands into a bowl of water and wait a few minutes. If they float, you have low porosity; if they sink, you’ve got high.
You’ll Need a Good Moisturizer (and Lots of It)
Processed hair retains oils and moisture better than curly hair. When your hair is straight, oils have a much easier time traveling down the hair shaft. So, if you’re thinking about going natural, plan to invest in many types of oils, gels and water-based moisturizers. (A transition kit is a great start.) They will be your friend and ultimately your saving grace when dealing with drier climates.
Learn to Shop Your Kitchen
Natural hair care products aren’t cheap. You could easily spend an entire paycheck on four items, and that’s not an exaggeration. Instead of spending loads of money at major beauty retailers, try finding what you need in your kitchen. Did you know that coconut oil contains essential fatty acids that can help remove product buildup? Have you tried mashing avocados and using it as a mask for extra shine? Before you go shopping, try using your household favorites first.
You Won’t Look Exactly Like Your #HairCrush, and That’s OK
Sadly, most of us have the occasional bad hair day that leaves us wishing we had a different hair type. But, if you embrace what you have and learn how to work with it, you’ll have a much better experience. There are so many resources for all types of curls (like tutorials on YouTube and Instagram), and you can even try linking up with other natural-haired ladies in your area through Meetup. The options are endless.