Hindsight is always 20/20. With any journey, we have moments of reflection where we consider what we would do differently if we had the chance to do it over. This doesn’t mean I have regrets, but there are some things that If I knew then what I know now, I would take a different approach to my natural hair journey.
Subscribing to YouTuber’s who don’t have the same hair type – Now don’t get me wrong. I think you can still benefit from subscribing to a diverse group of naturals. But mainly subscribing to YouTuber’s with type 2 or type 3 hair and you have type 4 hair could cause you to have unrealistic expectations about your own hair. If you try to follow their same techniques and product suggestions you may end up disappointed when you don’t achieve the same results. There were some popular YouTuber’s whose names I kept hearing, so I figured it would be a good idea to subscribe to them. I subscribed to some YouTuber’s with fine, 2C/3A hair when I have thick 3C/4A hair. So when they were combing their hair with a fine tooth comb….ummmmm. I knew that would not work for my lion’s mane unless I wanted to snatch out clumps of hair! So, I started following more people like Naptural85 whose hair is similar to mine in terms of hair type, length, and thickness. There were parts of her regimen and some of her products suggestions that I would use that were very effective. But if they did not work as well for me, it was easy for me to make tweaks since I had that foundation.
Dry Detangling– Some naturals swear by this technique. I kept trying to make it work for me. But on wash day, I would lose way too much hair! My bathroom looked like the floor of a hair salon at the end of a busy Saturday. I knew if I kept doing this, I would not reach my healthy hair goals. So I searched for other techniques and tools and discovered detangling on wet hair instead. I understand the logic behind some people dry detangling, because hair is weakest when it is wet. But with the proper technique, tools, and a little more patience, you can minimize breakage during this process of wet detangling.
Being Influenced by Fancy Marketing – Some companies have more aggressive marketing and spend more money to capture our attention with fancy graphics and slogans. Don’t fall for the hype! Just because you don’t see heavy marketing from a company doesn’t mean their products are any less effective. Your Holy Grail may come from a company most people have never even heard of. Instead of being influenced by marketing, I would encourage you to peruse your local beauty supply store or drug store. Find products that can actually deliver beyond the product claims on the front of the label. Validate any claims based on the back of the label. Check the ingredient list. You may get my attention by telling me a product has coconut oil in it, but if it’s hidden amongst the laundry list of other ingredients, then I am less likely to benefit from it.
Not Accepting that Trial and Error is Part of the Journey – Confession. I am impatient. I want things to work the first time and I get frustrated when that doesn’t happen. When I first tried braid outs, they came out pretty blah. So I started doing twist outs instead since they were easier and my hair turned out better. But one of the many benefits of natural hair are the different styling options. I believe that almost any style can work for any hair type. Some styles may take more trial and error for us to achieve our desired results. So the key is to keep trying until the style works out for you. Now I switch between braid outs and twist outs based on the look I’m going for. Now, if I could get Bantu Knots down, that would be great! Lol
Feeling The Need to Straighten My Hair – I am not anti-heat, but people will tell you that you need to straighten your hair to trim it or to do a length check. Nope! You don’t need to. I have not flat ironed my hair since maybe 2010. If I want to trim my hair, I comb it out, use some high quality shears and trim what needs to be trimmed. If I want to see my hair’s length, I just pull it down. I like keeping things simple when I can!
Wearing My Hair Out Every Day – I know you want to show people what cha got! But exposing your hair every day to the elements and the friction against your clothing could lead to dryness and breakage. I was proud that I was embracing my natural hair and wanted people to get to know this new part of me. But I have way too much hair to wear it out every day. For me, it would take more time to get ready in the morning and I would go through way more product just to keep my hair moisturized. So during the week, I wear a bun, twists, or a roll tuck n pin style. I save my braid outs, twist outs, and occasional wash and go’s for the weekends.
I’m thankful for these lessons, but if I could go back in time, knowing this information would have saved me a little time, money and energy. So my hope is this information helps you along the way. You don’t have to believe and do everything you see. Be inspired, but also be flexible and know there is not just one way to achieve healthy, natural hair.
So let’s talk! What are some things you learned after going natural that you would go back and change if you could?