For those of you who already returned back to your naturally curly hair, do y’all remember what it was like to finally get your big chop done? Did you do it yourself, or go to a shop?
(For those that did it themselves, I applaud you you brave souls…)
Do you remember your first twist out? Your first natural hair care product? Your first time learning about Shae Moisture and the first time they came out with new product lines? How about your first time doing box braids?
Were any of these enjoyable times for you?
Because they weren’t for me…
I still remember every step along my transitioning journey from chanting mantras in the mirror to overcoming the fear of getting my very first haircut. And boy lemme tell you it wasn’t a fun time. I was constantly having to motivate myself simply because I didn’t know what I was doing. My mother and sisters were all relaxed. My aunts were relaxed. Even the other black girl in school was relaxed.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Well then Jewels, why don’t you just go ask around and do your research?”
To which I’d reply with, “I did!”
But here’s the thing: I only thought I did.
How to Save Money By Doing Your Research
Here’s the thing you guys: we can’t do the same research for our hair (or our bodies for that matter) the same way we’d research a college essay we know we’re going to BS in the end. It doesn’t work like that. This isn’t for a grade; it’s for the health of your person.
I first learned about the natural hair community when I was scrolling through Pinterest. There were tons and tons of these women with 3C-4B hair blowing up Pinterest and getting all these kinds of repins. I would click through their blogs and read about how empowered they felt after learning to love themselves instead of trying in vain to fit the European definition of beauty. And I distinctly remember seeing a woman who had straightened her natural hair to show how she had grown her hair down to her waist (something I didn’t know was possible for black women to do) and I immediately wanted in.
I began looking up natural hair pics and pinning them like crazy. And I don’t mean products or how to take care of it or different protective styles. I was just pinning all these pictures of women with long curly hair and wishing that I could be a part of the community.
This is not research.
When I turned 19 I finally told my mother that I was ready; I wanted to return to my natural roots. After a long and thorough discussion about my reasoning for doing so and what I hoped to accomplish, she finally let me go natural on one condition: I wasn’t about to shave my head. I was elated and immediately started watching YouTube videos of women playing with their hair. I wasn’t paying attention to the products and skipped the long videos that were mainly for product reviews or advice.
Again, this is not research.
After watching a couple of videos, I decided that I would try my hand at keeping my hair straight through my transitioning journey (which didn’t work). I would see a style done a few times and spend more money than I needed at Sally’s to try to copy what I remembered seeing; trying to make my hair look like the women on Pinterest. When I would fail I would go to Google images to see how their edges looked, how long their hair was, how it fell down their backs.
This is not research…
Here’s the thing: research isn’t about taking a few things that you find and running with them. For some odd reason, I truly believed that if I took care of my 4C hair it would fall like that of a woman with 3B hair. I honestly thought that leave-in conditioner was for conceited white girls who wanted to have one more thing to spend their money on. And I didn’t think it was really that hard to braid hair; it was just hair, right? Like the same as tying your shoelaces!
My 11 months of transitioning and first year of being a natural was a nightmare, and I have nobody to blame but myself. I didn’t do half the research I should have and didn’t use the products I should have either. Oh, and if there’s someone out there that tells you they found some magical product at Sally’s that can save your hair in like one use…
there isn’t. They’re lying.
If I had done my research from the beginning, I can’t imagine how much money I’d have saved on product, oils, hair, clips, tools, and even pills. One of my biggest mistakes at the beginning of my journey was assuming that all black hair was the same. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve learned plenty of different things from naturals who don’t have the same hair as me, but I shouldn’t have expected that my hair was going to look like theirs if I used their products or followed their exact regimen, and so on.
I would have also saved loads of money had I not seen a picture of what I thought was a cute protective style and immediately tried to do it on my own. I didn’t do hair, my mother didn’t do hair, so I didn’t know what possessed me to think I could look at a picture or just watch 2 videos and go.
Guys, that’s not how it works…
I spent hours upon hours learning how to fix my hair before I could spend even more hours learning how to take care of it after all I had done to damage it because of my laziness.
Don’t do what I did guys. Spending time to know everything you can about hair care, black hair, your curl pattern and your hair’s weak spots can mean the difference between reaching your hair goals and going bald.