I spent many years hiding my natural hair texture behind chemicals (relaxers). Like many women, I got my first relaxer at a young age.
Natural hair was something I never considered because, quite frankly, I never had the confidence to rock it.
I would always say things like…
1) I don’t have the right texture (We need to drop the mentality that you have to have a certain kind of texture to go natural. I don’t have shiny, defined, bouncy curls, but dern it, I’m going to learn to embrace whatever hair grows from my scalp!)
2) My hair is too thick (Some people would kill for thicker hair. After my hair thinned so much from relaxing I’ve learned to appreciate my thickness.)
3) I don’t have the right head shape (Hmm…. What’s the official head shape qualification for wearing natural hair anyway? How come no one ever says that about relaxed hair? I guess everyone has the right head shape for straight hair… even though that’s not how our hair grows naturally. It was just another excuse I made out of fear!)
4) I don’t have time to style my hair (Natural hair does take time to style, but it takes way more time if you plan to wear it straight everyday or you try to fight what your texture wants to do naturally. What’s interesting is now that I’m all natural, I actually spend LESS time on my hair overall.
Yes, wash days take several hours, but I can get two strand twists to last 2 weeks and then stretch the style another week with a twist out (see this video). So that’s 3 weeks with hardly any manipulation.
When I was relaxed I had to flat iron my hair everyday and wrap it up at night. So overall, I’m spending less time on my hair.)
Also, check out my wash-and-go puff that took me all of 15 minutes out of the shower.
Natural hair is more time-consuming if you are constantly trying to alter your texture. If I need a break, I wear my hair in its afro state. It’s so freeing to be able to accept my texture and not feel I always have to wear twists or a certain style that is more “attractive” to society.
5) Relaxed hair is just easier to manage. (That could be true depending on how you plan to wear your hair, but I don’t mind taking the extra time and learning something new if it means having healthier hair. Also, products have evolved so much over the years to help with manageability.)
So I was really just making excuses because I was afraid of how I’d look and what other people would think. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve had women tell me they won’t go natural because they are afraid of rejection by men.
What’s so interesting about that is I’ve actually had more men approach me since I’ve been natural because those that like it go out of their way to pay a compliment.
You can’t spend your life worrying about who is NOT going to like you because there will always be people who appreciate you for you.
Click here to get the above picture on a T-shirt and wear it with pride!
Be sure to read my article on dealing with critics of natural hair.
We Need to Stop the Excuses, Ladies!
Let’s face it. We have been conditioned to believe that our hair is ugly. I know it’s hard to admit, but we make excuses because we’re afraid and we think our natural hair is unattractive. I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but I made a lot of excuses out of fear.
And who could blame us? We live in a society where straighter hair is seen as “more beautiful” than kinky hair. Unfortunately history and society have taught many of “us” to be ashamed of our hair’s natural texture. Natural hair is often labeled with adjectives like “unkempt”, “ugly”, “unprofessional”, etc.
Speaking of natural hair being unprofessional, check out this conversation in the forums about natural hair in the workplace.
Imagine the impact those words have on children like me who hear this at a very young age. It really shaped the attitude I had about my own hair. To this day, I’m working to shed the wrong thinking.
Thank goodness times are changing (slowly but surely.) I know so many more natural ladies than I did ten years ago, and they inspire me. I’ve also noticed that commercials are now featuring more African American women wearing textured styles.
This is Bigger Than a New Hairstyle
This is much more than a journey about my hair. It’s a journey of confidence and setting my own standards for beauty. It sounds so cliché, I know, but it’s the truth.
It’s time for me to stop letting society dictate how I should look. My hair does not need to be fixed. It’s fine the way it is. I just have to learn how to take care of it.
Yes, there are people who don’t like my “new look”, but I am becoming less and less concerned with what other people think. Having said that though, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
In any event, here are some benefits of wearing natural hair…
1) No More Relaxer Countdowns
I am so excited that I no longer have to try and remember when my last relaxer was or wonder if I’ve scratched too much and have to postpone my relax day for fear of scalp burn.
2) I Can Embrace New Growth
With relaxers, it was like a catch 22. Of course I wanted my hair to grow, but at the same time, the new growth would hinder certain hair styles because of the two textures.
Usually around the 4th week post relaxer I would start not liking my hair as much because of the new growth. Now I embrace new growth 100%! Beautiful!
3) I Enjoy Wash Days
As a self-proclaimed product junkie I am loving the exploration of new products and seeing what they do in my hair.
Having a good detangler is also key. The Knot Today Conditioner (Leave-In and Detangler) has made combing and detangling a breeze and minimized breakage.
4) The Textured Ponytail
I hardly ever wore my hair in a ponytail when my hair was relaxed. Even though my hair was often long, my hair typically thinned out as it grew. So my ponytails would look skinny and lifeless unless I curled them.
With natural hair, I can get a textured/curly, full ponytail with little effort now that I am discovering products like the Kinky Curly Curling Custard and other curl defining products.
5) Long, Healthy Hair
My hair has always grown fast and long. I can hardly wait to see what it will do with no chemicals! By the end of my 18 month transition, the back of my hair was longer than my relaxed hair had ever been.
Natural hair shrinks up so much it’s hard to tell, but I was thrilled when I realized that. I’m retaining much more length because my ends aren’t constantly being combed and heated.
I always hear people say their hair doesn’t grow. That’s not true. Everyone’s hair grows, it’s about retaining length by preserving your ends. If you take care of your natural hair, you may find that your hair retains more length thus making it look as if it’s growing faster.
Read more tips about growing long, black hair.
6) New Style Options
I would always hear naturals say that you have more options with natural hair. At first I wasn’t sure I bought that statement because when I would think of natural hair, I would mainly think of wearing an afro.
Nothing wrong with afros if that’s the style you’re after. I’m sure I will wear them from time to time myself. But I certainly want to do more with my hair than just rock an afro everyday.
But thanks to YouTube, I have learned so much about styling and have more confidence that I will be able to do a number of things with my hair once it’s in its natural state. I plan to grow my hair long so I’m looking forward to the options.
7) No More Scalp Dryness
My dry scalp problem has improved tremendously! I was having some flaking near the edges, but found out it was product build up! Now that I clarify often with Kinky Curly’s Come Clean Shampoo my scalp is much happier. 🙂
Take a trip down memory lane and watch this video of my relaxer days.
subrina wilson says
My hair is so thick to the root , I can not comb it, should I go natural or just get it relax
Love this article. I agree, stop those excuses and embrace our own natural hair! Good job! Keep it up! 🙂
I just turned 50 and have decided to go natural. I’ve been thinking along these lines for the past five years and I have made all the excuses above. Now that I’m 50 I finally have the confidence to re-invent myself. Thanks you. It is blogs like yours that keep me strong in moment of weakness.
MaMa Scherrie says
Don’t beat yourself up about this because most of “now-naturalistas” had some sort of issue going there. I am 56 and just went natural the month before my birthday this year. My hair is growing so fast that my finger coils are getting too long to manage and I will switch to twist outs soon. The freedom I enjoy now with my natural texture is second to none. I do not have silky smooth hair and it took a while for my natural coils to pop, but once I realized my regimen, my hair rocks! I used to perm, weave, braid, wig, etc., but now I rock my coiled or twisted out hair and have no desire to cover up, unless I am just about to pre-poo and wash it and have to make a quick run outside prior (LOL). The natural journey started with my hair, transitioned to my intake of nutribullet blasts daily and the need for less medicine, and creating the creams I make with shea butter and oils to treat my skin. There is an internal and external glow going on in addition with strength from Yahweh and Yahshuah in my daily walk. Nothing like finding your center and being grounded. I am also in school, I sing, work and make sure I stop to get much needed rest daily to be clear of mind and spirit and do the things I need to for daily survival. You are on the right path and you will feel a freeing sensation taking the step and continuing. Had I known the proper care procedures when I was younger, my hair would have been far healthier and on the floor by now at the rate it is growing now. Be blessed my sister and make sure you are good to yourself. Take each day as the gift God has given. Peace and Blessings – MaMa Scherrie
MaMa Scherrie says
Hey Love. You can see my baby girl and I on Fotki. She is ginaloveslanguages84 on Fotki and I am MaMa-Scherrie. Love and appreciate you. Peace and blessings Ma
Hi Lisa, my name is Gina, I am 15 months post-relaxer now, reading u views comments touch me, I had , wish I could of did this 10 or 20 years ago. I m 49 going on 50 my follicles hs been beatup for while, Hopefully get thru this stages asap, I going thru like scan hair now, I did not do a majior BC, becuase I could not imagine going thru it..I trying hard to stay away from heat, u no the flat irons, becuaseI notice the demarcation line between the new growth and the relaxes end don’t work. Iam experiencing thin hair now my texture have change. so I working on keeping my hair conditioing and deep conditioning, with inbeween co-wash /wash with all natural ingredients , that wil help my hair. rebuilt its strength and health. any open suggesting ? BTW, u hair journey was amazing! and it look fabolous, hopefully I can get there on day , I also notice my orginal hair type was coil was thick and course like 4b/4c type, before relaxers, now it’s like 4a/4b so soft like baby hair. any suggesting?
Hair texture may change slightly as you get older. I’ve heard others say this. Sounds like you’re doing the right things with deep conditioning regularly. A protein treatment may help with strengthening it as well. Also, hormones could be causing your hair to thin as well — in that case it’s not your routine, it’s just your body going thru changes. I’m no doc, but you mentioned your age so that could be part of the issue too.
Hey so I’ve been on a relaxed hair journey and I finally grew my hair mid back but it didn’t grow how I wanted . My ends were basically see through and thin because I have thin hair. Throughout the journey I trimmed every 3 months to make my ends fuller. But now I want to GO NATURAL, however I’m indecisive because I finally have very long hair