5 Things You’ll Need “Before” Going Natural

July 27, 2011  |  

The beauty of natural hair is undeniable. And with so many women now making the decision to go natural, for beauty and even health reasons, it’s important for these women to also know that going natural is rarely something that should be done on a whim. Going natural requires a lot of things. And usually, the process requires months or even years of contemplation and education. Yes, it’s very tempting to run to a stylist shouting “I want that!” after you’ve seen a natural haired woman rocking a gorgeous afro or locs. But you should resist doing something impulsive before you’ve fully prepared yourself for the commitment. Take your time to think the whole process through. The road to natural hair is wonderful but it is also paved with occasional obstacles. Here are 5 things you’ll need “before” going natural:

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  • free2b me

    i am sssooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happpppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppy that i chopped of my waist length hair just to go natural nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo more perms for me i am locking now. i am so happy to just get up and gooooooooooooooo no more messing with hair in the morns what more can i say.

  • This is really good information. Staying encouraged throughout the whole process was one of the biggest things for me. Finding friends, local groups that supported my decison, people who did it with me, watching youtube channels, and starting my own blog all helped. It's sometimes frustrating and discouraging when you do encounter people who look at you funny, or family who put you down for deciding to be chemical free. Women with natural hair are being seen more in the media (tv shows, movies, print ads, etc) which is very incouraging to me. Thanks for the info!

  • Great post!

    Thanks for the love and use of my pic to demonstrate "willingness to learn". I agree 1000000000000000%!

    Jenell http://www.KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com

  • That is ridiculous. I will admit that the men I encounter now are on a different level than those I encountered when I wore my hair relaxed, most of which are black men. I have heard a few horror stories. The ones that get me are when the women in church try to shun you or when the significant other implies that natural hair would be the end of the relationship. I'm all for confronting the shallowness and why our own people can't see the beauty in our hair as nature intended.

  • Brodie

    I've done 3 big chops and this last one was the best because I know more now than I did in the late 90s.early 00s. I would suggest getting to know your hair first before seeking a stylist. That way if she has a technique, product, or suggestion you know if its something you can get with.

    Product trials, regimen set up, changes as your hair grows, monitoring health and stress, scheduling your maintaining/styling around your activities (not the other way around)-all the stuff that goes into hair maintenance with or without chemicals, however, natural hair doesn't require products to help repair or compensate for the lack of protein.

    I approach my hair like I do my cooking. Simple, high quality products (ingredients), planning, and some preparation to cut time.

  • Pink



  • I went natural by accident… My hair fell off from relaxers then by total accident I discovered youtube… Visit my blog for more information on caring for natural hair http://thenappylife.blogspot.com/

  • rachel

    Hello taking the natural route myself and i find that my hair is transitioning well, question tho although i dont perm i do have the hair stylist flat iron my hair so that its not poufy and its manageable for work, but what should i put in it in terms of moisturizers because i find it always really dry??

  • Chells

    I wear weaves majority of the time. When I take my weave out my hair is natural. I honestly do know what the big deal is. I wear my hair natural, pressed, weaved, braided. I stopped using relaxers about 5 years ago. My hair doesn't take to well to chemicals.

  • coolrelax2

    Well, I'm in the process of going natural now…my mom put a perm in my hair when I was 4 and I have NO intention of doing that to my little girls so I'm transistioning now. Funny though – most of my friends wear weaves, but underneath they're all sporting natural hair.

  • Lisa

    i remember the 1st summer i "went natural" (hate that term btw). i was in college and had gone to new jersey for a summer internship. their were a group of black students and a group of latino students there. i remember walking with a large group and one of the black students asked a latino student if she had seen me (i was walking a few steps behind). the latino student wasn't sure who i was so the black student proceeded to describe me as the girl with the natural hair. you should have seen the look of utter confusion on the latino girl's face. she was like natural hair?

    it's crazy that we have to be the only culture who has to "go back" to what we we're born with. sorry god, this nappy stuff just doesn't work for me…

  • SisterSarah

    I can't help it, but articles like this always make me sad. We are a people who still struggle to care for what grows out of our head! I wonder how different things would be if we'd kept our hair natural since being brought to this country. What if natural hair was the standard and getting a relaxer was an anomaly? Instead it's backward and that's just screwed up. I wish I could walk into any black salon and feel confident that they know how to comb my hair properly, or won't assume I'm there for chemical services. What would the "ethnic" hair care aisles look like? Would there even be a need for such aisles? I like to open up a black hair magazine and be able to read the whole thing, instead of the few pages of a "special section" for natural hair (that they stick way in the back). And we have black men saying they don't like "nappy" hair. Imagine a white man saying he doesn't like straight hair on white women!

    As popular as going natural is, natural heads are still a rarity, at least where I live. I don't care how many women claim they straighten their hair because it's a choice. When I see 8 out of ten heads in my neighborhood are chemically straightened, that does not tell me it's a choice. It is wrong and I really wish we would stop tiptoeing around the issue and have some honest discussions.

    • Lisa

      i feel you sis…try 8 out 10 heads in my neighborhood…weave!

    • you hit the nail on the head!

  • Nameless for Now

    lol, patience is key!! I've been natural all my life (and I'm 27!), and when I was younger it was easy — my mom combed it and pony/pigtails held it back from my face. But when I started combing it myself around 14 and found it really hard to find more adult styles that weren't locks or afros (which required constant combing and were always getting knots in the ends!). So generally I have a press every season but summer, when the Texas heat won't let me keep one!

    I rely on twists and twist out styles, but unless I refresh them every two or three days, my hair starts getting frizzy. And it's hard to have frizzy hair when everybody else has a perm or a weave or nice braids. So it's definitely a struggle (bc I am super low maintainence!!) to oil it and twist it up every night, but my hair feels healthy and I love the compliments I get on it's length, thickness and versatility. It took me awhile to learn what would work for my hair and not be frustrated bc what other people did didn't work for me, and I'm still learning!! : D

  • Coriander

    Not to be the outcast here but:

    Where was this article 10+ years ago?

    I was a natural for the first 14 years of my life. And I didn't mind it at all. My hair naturally was soft, wavy, big and thick like a lion's mane and I was proud of it! But the girls I went to school with barely knew anything of substance but knew all about PCJ and African Pride (really? O_o). So in a class of girls where everyone's hair was short and thing and flat, my waves and curls were obviously the object of much hatred. My mom, poor woman, would try to reason that my hair was awesome but it didn't stop the torment. Black girls are so cruel and ironically, they are the ones going natural siting extreme damage.

    Truth is, I had been mulling over the decision to go back to curls and with the success I have had with certain hair care brands and the look I want to achieve (I want Rachel True's look or even Kelis's black afro in the Bossy video), there hasn't been that big a support system to solidify my decision. My BFF shaved it all off and thankfully she has great bone structure but I don't know.

    We'll see. If you want to and are doing it, more power to you.

  • Timeka Griggs

    I have worn my hair natural for over 14 years. I decided I wanted a different look however, I wanted to remain natural.
    I have been using an all natural hair smoother called Lisse and I really like it! I can have a press-n-curl without spending a lot of time AND my hair doesn't revert when I exercise!

    • Lisa

      the article is about GOING natural…

  • Cw

    If there was an article 5 facts on relaxing hair, black women would never do it.

  • I wish they would have let me know how much more moisture you would need to keep your hair healthy. I washed my hair as if I had a relaxer and I was wondering why it was dry and broke off constantly. Now, I totally love water on my scalp and head.

  • Chazaq

    I've been natural all of my life getting a perm about once or twice due to pressure but I've had a few friends who have gone natural after many years of perms. Some went back and other pushed on. I don't know anything about transitioning but the advice in this article is excellent advice and I encourage more women to go natural. Good luck!!

  • its so funny that its taking over, i went natural just because i didnt like what was going on with my relaxed hair and now im loving it

  • tasha

    I think "going natural" best decision I ever made in my life! A support system is KEY for the process -whether it is from your man or your girls. There are tons of groups that make this transition very simple. The youTube community, blogs like BGLHonline.com, curlyNikki.com make going natural so much easier. There was even a group of girls based in NYC hosting events – http://www.facebook.com/CurlyGirlCollective

    So much info out there! No one should feel too intimidated…. It isn't as bad as you envision it to be. Times a changin – people have no choice but to embrace 😉 Good luck!

    • Natural hair beautiful women are starting to take over. Natural is so in and Im with it.