The natural hair journey is a rewarding and identity-affirming one. Health benefits are numerous, and the accompanying glow that can only come of a reconnection to one’s roots is worth the re-orientation process. There are some portions of the experience, however, that aren’t among the first things mentioned by the veteran naturalistas encouraging transitioning-naturals to persevere.

While beginning your journey back to original coils, there are 10 things they don’t tell you about going natural to keep in mind:

Much of what works for you will come through trial and error.

Some products will behave like they are made for your crown, but others will produce confusing results. There are no time-tested standbys that will miraculously moisturize your sacred coils, and increase your thickness ‘just right’ (or decrease your thickness if that’s your aim). It may be easier on your budget to test your experience with do-it-yourself mixtures of shea butter, coconut oil and aloe vera.

You may experience moments of deep insecurity

New paths, especially those involving physical appearance, often see the emotional rise of a ‘need for feedback’. Change is not automatically assimilated into the psyche’s comfort zone. The general advisement here is to consider that it takes 21 days, typically, to create a habit. A habit of embracing yourself in natural form is unlikely to happen in 24 hours.

You will attract attention you didn’t expect

It is unlikely you’ll expect the owners of curious fingers to want to run their fingers through your spirals, but it is likely the requests will at some point be made. Contrary to what you might have thought previously, natural hair is fascinating to a lot of people, both inside and outside of the culture. If you’re okay with this, you’ll need no adjustment process. If you dislike even having your boyfriend’s hands in your hair, have your polite refusal ‘at the ready’.

There will probably be opposition

A lot of conditioning has gone into locking people’s opinions into ‘traditions’ that are upheld within groups. This is true in the majority of this society’s communities. Despite this, being mentally prepared to receive unrequested feedback does not require adopting a defensive posture. Your strongest approach to differing opinions is to simply celebrate yours and let others have theirs. You do not have to explain yourself. Neither do others have to conform to your new path, if they aren’t ready.

The wrong salon could ‘accidentally’ relax rather than condition your hair

It’s happened. If you opt for a salon conditioning treatment instead of a home session, inquire about the products they will use on your hair. Even texturizers, when they’re chemically based, are the equivalent to a mild but permanent relaxer.

Natural styles are incredibly diverse

You won’t be stuck with one or two looks. If you’re in the mood to wear a full blowout; you can do that. If you want a more defined and consistent curl pattern, you can opt for a twist-out or braid-out. Upsweeps are so simple to create, you can do it on the subway (with many variations to select). The list of potentials goes on from there.

Dye can still damage natural tresses

Your hair will be healthier, but it does not mean you should rush into processes that use heavy bleaches. It is possible to add sufficient tints with all-natural dyes without damaging your curls, but you usually have to leave them in overnight. Use an old pillowcase.

Natural hair is not anti-corporate

Plenty of professionals in the diaspora wear locs, braids, and natural blowouts to their corporate jobs. If you’re worried about applying for jobs while donning a natural crown, cast the thought from your mind. While a small few companies might live in the dark ages, the majority embrace diversity. Interview with glowing confidence.

Naturalistas wear straight styles too

It is very possible to roller-set your hair for straight styles with zero use of heat or chemicals. Some like to alternate between kinky curly and straight styles. A small group wear mainly straight styles but refuse chemicals on their crowns.

You could become self-righteous if you aren’t careful

Natural living generates an immense amount of excitement. You will naturally share the ease of do-it-yourself experiments, and generally positive experiences you’re having on your new path. That’s completely normal. Just remember there is a line, fine or not, between celebration and indoctrination. If you find yourself attempting to ‘seed’ your friends and family without their permission, stop yourself at once. Your celebration is all they need to see. If they want to join you on the boat of original-root, they will, and they won’t do it begrudgingly, because they won’t feel forced into it.

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