It’s My Nappiversary: 7 Things I Learned Since Going Natural

March 8, 2012 ‐ By


My whole natural “awakening” was by accident truthfully. My sisters were natural, I had friends who had been natural for years, but me, I did whatever to my hair, whenever, however after a while. In all honesty, I wasn’t a fan of the naturalistas who were overly aggressive and acted like you didn’t love yourself with chemical in your hair, so for years, I was pretty defiant. But after going a long time with stalling hair growth, I stopped trying to make my shoulder length hair work and started chopping it off in college. Mushroom cut for a while, cut it again. Long top short sides for a while,  cut it off again. I had no problem with people going natural, but at the time, it just wasn’t for me.

I had a texturizer that I adored about a year and a half ago. But getting to the adoration part of it was a struggle. When I got it, they literally had to give me a bald fade for it to work, so I went through an “Am I pretty?” struggle for weeks. Once it started growing out, I was certain it was fabulous. Almost six months later it became this big, curly, uneven fro. I refused to go through the same process to have another texturizer treatment done, so I thought, maybe if I can even this unexpected fro out, I can still rock a texturizer but keep all the hair I had grown (a wealth of new growth popped up by six months–Nigerian hair for you).

So when I took that texturizer to the man at my dad’s barbershop, with the help of the overzealous barber, I found myself unexpectedly natural. There I was, in the barbershop with an eerily perfect spherical and kinky fro with no more of the fake, silky curl I had an hour before when I walked into the barbershop (it was on the floor). I thought to myself, “Oh snap! Am I natural?”

While I could have chosen to go back down the same route and try for a relaxer again, it occurred to me that my TWA wasn’t all that teeny after all. So I went to the store, bought a few products and started my natural journey. It has been a year since I made the decision to stick with my natural hair, and I can’t say how glad I am that I did it. After a lot of ups and downs, some braids, a dry winter, and a sad trim or two at the salon (“I’m not draping anymore!” I thought), I, like most people have learned a lot about my hair, have grown proud of it, and actually plan to get locs this weekend (woo-hoo!). I’m sure what I’ve learned you can relate to if you’re growing with your natural hair as well, so yes, let’s share.

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  • Muzamil Qaddous

    i agree with 9 as well when some girl may be anyone is like this if i can swimming and just wash and condition my hair to get then i think my hair co lour is good and natural is look nice and see the silky

    • muzamil qaddous

      to be ignore

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  • Monica

    Why would you call your hair nappy?

  • Mma Iquo

    Okay wait …what the heck does “Nigerian hair” refer to? I first heard that term in a Lil Wayne song and was equally confused then as I am now with your usage of that term in this piece.  I sincerely hope this is not an ironic case of some Afro-American self-hating bull-ish because that would be a shake-my-head shame

    • Kera

      I heard someone on you tube say she had Nigerian hair and then she said true African hair and that is why she refuses to go natural.Another girl said she had African hair and not Black American and its to hard to manage.I’m confused but the ignorance too.Black people can have any type of hair.

      • Kera

        **by the ingorance 

  • JustMee

    I hate how the pages are set on this website.  It takes such a long time (for pages to load) to go to the next page.  I’m so frustrated by this, I rarely make it past the second page.  How hard would it be to have each article on its on page.  I love this website but hate how difficult it is to read the articles.  #movingontosomewhereelse

  • Blythe Dhia

    Washing my hair is so not awesome. It’s time consuming with all of the pre-pooing, post detangling, twisting, co-washing, yadda, yadda, yadda.  And while i do air dry, i have to twist my hair bc my wash and gos are no-no’s.  Natural is fabulous, though.

    • l c

      man, naturals today make their hair maintenance too complicated. Pre poo? 

  • Margeaux

    Great article. “if u leave it, it will grow!” I needed to hear that. It’ll be my new mantra.;) my hair grows long but not thick. I learned from a MN article last month that I was forcing a curl pattern by always finger curling my ringlets! Wooh! I’m on the right road.

    Can I ask one thing though. Do u twist hair when its wet or dry? Which is better for strand retention?

  • Jolie

    Even though we have different practices when it comes to our hair, I loved reading this! It was insightful AND well written. I get so sick of some of the women on YT who don’t speak intelligibly and have these long videos that really tell you nothing.

    Thank you MN!

  • Alysse

    irony, because this month will be a year for me, have not mastered the art of styling or anything but I know it will be worth it.

  • TeamMe

    If you leave it, it will grow. If that ain’t the truth, I don’t know what is. I  have lost so much hair from just combing it, it was like a haircut. I wear locs now so that is my mantra.

    • Jolie

      I love how everyones hair is sooo different! Mine is more: if you leave it, it will KNOT the hell up lol. I have to comb my hair daily with a wide tooth comb whether it’s curly or straightened :-(

      • Msmykimoto2u

        Ikr?! I cant leave my hair alone or it will be a matted mess like my dog! It HAS to be combed everyday

  • miche

    sooo true about what works for some may not for all…the only products i use are mane’n tail poo and conditioner, and s curl no drip activator moisturizer…who knew?…only costs a few bucks at the store!!

    • Msmykimoto2u

      I love the mane’ n tail conditioner as a cowash. You know what else works well suprisingly? Palmers (that makes the cocoabutter lotion) has a coconut shampoo, and conditioner that is amazing =)

  • Nettykey32

    First and for most I would like to thank you so much for sharing this experience. I could really relate to a great deal of what you went through. It will be a year for me in June. I don’t regret this journey at all.

  • Shona

    Having natural hair is WAY easier on your wallet as well :-)

    • Msmykimoto2u

      Except when you first start off! Lol, when i first BC I was a guilty “number 7″ product junkie because I was trying to find what works with my hair best. Eventually after looking at all the crap I had in my bathroom, I realised less is more. (Water, almond oil, castor oil, grape seed oil, olive, honey, and veggie glycerin)

      • l c

        amen :)
        and never having to smell relaxer on my scalp ever again is just priceless….it’s one of the scariest smells known to man imo…never got used to it…

  • Toyin Ogudipe

    so many truths here – thank you!

  • Galenafiel

    Amen on number 7, those chicks on Youtube are product junkies. My wallet can’t take that. Wonderful post! Your journey sounds somewhat like my own.

    • Ladylum2

       I agree with number 7 as well. I also like the fact I can go swimming and just wash and condition my hair to get it back to its natural state. I did use all sorts of natural products but unfortunately the best products for my hair were expensive ones (Kinky Curly) but I make it last and stretch it out.

    • l c

      if your health and your body internally is a mess, the best hair product on the market will only do so much for you. 

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  • Kenita47

    You sound just like me! I was never into it but all of my sisters were. Rocking all I wanted, I stumbled upon my 3c/4a silky natural curly new growth. So, I did it,the BIG CHOP! Now almost 3 months in, I am going through the ‘this is cute & curly, but is this TWA sexy?!’ I actually have no problem going back to the creamy crack, BUT I want to stick it out! Encourage a sista! Lol.

    • miche

      stick it out!!!…the longer you let it grow, the sexier it will get…lol

    • Margeaux

      To answer your question, YES the twa is s*xy. The “fierce” in us all comes out with short hair and that’s hot! Take the time to highlight your other gorgeous black features: Cheekbones, eyes, smile all stand out with extra b, e, c& a vitamins and drink extra water to make your skin glow. Time flies when your growing your hair out so enjoy it while it lasts.

      • l c

        very true, twa is fierce but hot at the same time, especially tapered twa which is flattering on almost everyone. I’m kind of surprised how much nicer people are to me, especially men and little kids. It’s just a perk though. I’ve definitely noticed that having your skin on point is important. ALSO GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP OMG. Eat more veggies and fruits, drink more water, get your omega 3 & monosaturated oils (olive, flax), exercise, get as much as sleep (naps are good too but not too long) as you can and your hair and skin will thank you for it. 

        More importantly, your overall HEALTH and well being will do cartwheels and that is ultimately more important and rewarding than having nice skin and hair.

        • l c

          forgot to add EXERCISE at least 30 minutes 3-4 times a week and overall just get moving! It’s been proven to add years to life…it’s not natural for the body to be still for too long. Technology and the comfort of modern day life has warped what is supposed to be natural for human beings.