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5 Tips You Didn't Know You Needed to Help Kickstart Your Natural Hair Journey

When New York PAUSE went into affect causing all non-essential workers to work-from-home, shutting down retail stores, small businesses, and salons it was a moment of truth for us all. That truth? That we really need each other. One of the moments it got real for me was when wash day was quickly approaching and I had no patience nor desire to deal with a full head of hair, style, and condition. Of course, reality kicked in and I realized that there were far more things to worry about in today than me not wanting to do my hair. My hair was screaming - trim me, trim me! So, I tapped into my inner stylist, rose up, and WASHED MY HAIR (lol)! I found myself going back to the olden days when I would mix this and that. I used to be your type of natural that used items straight from the pantry and fridge to create my concoctions for my hair. Mayonnaise? Great, that would go perfect for my deep conditioner. Let's add an egg in there for good measure and some honey! Yes, that was me. As I got further along in my hair journey and understanding, I realized it didn't take all that to be natural.

If there was ever a time to take that next step in your hair journey, the time is now! So, I am here to be your virtual cheerleader and encourage you to take that step. Here are five pointers I'm offering you based on MY personal natural hair journey.


You may be in one of the two groups: 1. you are natural but haven't felt "ready" to show off your hair to the world or you are in group 2. and you haven't even begun your natural hair journey. If you are in group 1, why do you feel not ready? If you are in group 2, what's stopping you from doing it now? Both groups connect and have to overcome one of the most challenging steps in this journey. You know the saying, "when a woman cuts her hair she's about to change her life"? This was me and this can be you. I knew I needed a fresh start and this was a choice I chose to take for my own self-discovery and healing. It required me to cut away the old in order to grow something new in its place. Yes, we're still talking hair but there is also something spiritual about this that a woman can understand. There are many ways to start your journey - the big chop where you chop it all off (leaving you with a teeny weeny afro/T.W.A) or transition (where you start to grow your natural hair while keeping your processed hair to grow out). I've done both until I decided that chopping it off would give me the fresh start I really needed. Why hold on to the old? But, the choice is yours just like the choice was mine. This is not just a hair journey but one that will bring healing in the process.

Before (a very scared & yet excited me) and after the big chop (figuring this thing out, kinda digging it), 2016

2. Get a professional NATURAL hair stylist

The right hair stylist will be your voice of reason in this entire journey. My hair stylist was the glue to keeping me encouraged in this new phase of my life. She was with me during my transition phase and did my big chop for me as well. You want a hair stylist who is educated in natural hair and preferably has natural hair their self. Beware of scissor happy stylists. You need a stylist who will listen to you, know exactly what you need, and respect where you are in your journey. You need a stylist you can trust with your hair and almost know it better than you, especially in the beginning stages. When you embark on your natural hair journey you may have some vulnerable days, which is why it is important to have the right voices and support system to help you flourish (yes, we're still talking about hair). In these quarantine times, it makes a stylist even more appreciated. Quick plug - if you live in New York check out my hair stylist, Alisha Damon. You can find her Instagram @kinkyhairmaverick. Thanks Alisha for being with me on this journey!

3. Know your WHY, Set a Goal

When I cut my hair I received some backlash from my family. Some of my closest relatives were not keen on the short hair, but I know why I did it. Before you embark on this natural hair journey - know your why and continue to stand firm in it! Take a moment and think about this...what is my why?

You may receive opposition, but this is why it is important to know your why. You may scroll on social media and be tempted by the straight blow out looks or get an itch to just slap a wig on. This is YOUR journey, so how you handle it is all up to you. I've put protective styles in my hair because I had "insecure" moments with my short curls, but eventually I had to rock it and remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Yes, outer beauty matters to a woman but it is the inner beauty that shines through. So, know your why because you will receive some rough patches along the way. Remember Gabrielle Union's "America's Got Talent" experience?

She received much pushback based on her advocacy for culture and diversity and was judged for the way she wore her hair, but she didn't allow that to silence her nor steal from her authenticity. Don't do it for anyone else, do it for you. When you are feeling those insecurities creep in - address it, don't run away from it! Remember, this will also be a healing journey. Also, set a goal. What do you hope to achieve as you embark on this journey? My goal was to simply have healthy hair.

4. Community

It was the summer before the start of my sophomore year in college when I big chopped. The best representation I had was my sister (we encouraged each other as she went fully natural before me), my mother, and people I met in college, but this was very few. You may be the only representation and be okay with that! You are setting a standard that will encourage other women to embark on their journey. When you live in your truth others will be inspired to as well. Since there were few images I could look up to I tried to surround myself daily with encouragement through social media, watching hair videos while saying "goals" throughout the entire tutorial, and having conversations with other naturals any chance I got. I attended natural hair shows, CurlFest, and AfroPunk where there were seas of women rocking their natural hair in so many different ways. It is so important to have accountability so get you an accountability partner (yes, we're still talking about hair.)!

Curl Fest, Brooklyn, NY | 2018 | Photo: Danielle Layton

5. Rock It Out!

I became fully natural in August 2016, so it has been almost four years and it has been a beautiful journey. With the help of my natural hair stylist, some accountability partners, and a personal goal for healthy hair it has been nothing less than boring. This is your time to shine, don't compare your journey to another! Everyone's curls are different (yes, we're still talking about hair).

I hope this encouraged you to take that bold step in your natural hair journey. If you are already natural, share some of your tips in the comment below. Remember, do it for you and no one else. This is the key to the whole journey. Enjoy it and when you take that next step send me a pic by hash tagging #boldermebolderhair on IG. Can't wait to see!


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