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Tips For Going Natural

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Natural

POPSUGAR Photography / Benjamin StoneImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Benjamin Stone

A few years ago, I decided to go natural because, like most people who made the switch, my hair was fried. Admittedly, my first foray into natural hair wasn't very successful. I didn't do a good job of learning how to take care of it. I didn't know what hair type I was. I didn't even know how to effectively moisturize my hair — let alone that it had to be done on a daily basis. So last year when I decided to go natural the proper way, I entered a world full of tips, tricks, amazing results, and some really surprising experiences only people with natural hair can relate to.

1. The Truth Is Hard to Find

There was a lot of information out there that left me with countless questions: Should I wash my hair in twists to prevent breakage or not in twists to get it 100 percent clean and prevent product buildup? Is my hair low-porosity or high-porosity? Why does everyone I know who's taken the porosity test have low-porosity? Is this test even accurate?

These are some of the most common inquiries a naturalista will find herself asking. Different natural-hair bloggers often have conflicting advice on the best way to take care of your hair, and sometimes you do hair tests with dubious results. A part of the haircare journey is that you have to try everything that sounds sensible and then see whether it works for you.

2. Unreliable YouTubers Are Everywhere

I'm not proud of how many times I've fallen for clickbait. It leads to traps like loading a 20-minute video on how to increase the rate at which your hair grows . . . only for the vlogger to tell you at the 19:55 mark that there's nothing you can do because hair growth rate is mostly genetic. Time wasted.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock

3. It Can Be Injurious

Forget relaxer burn! Have you ever gotten apple cider vinegar in your eyes? In my attempt to increase the porosity of my allegedly low-porosity hair, I have taken to regular hair rinses with raw, unfiltered ACV. Several times the rinse has gotten into my eyes, and it hurts more than my last heartbreak.

4. DIY Hair Products Are Messy — and Sometimes Smelly

See: the time my little sister put a banana and avocado hair mask in her hair and was walking around with a mushy fruit medley on her head. Or the time I tried onion juice for hair growth and had to explain my life story every time I was within a 20-inch radius of someone. Some DIY products can be messy, embarrassing, and just not worth it.

5. You Might Contract Something Gross

Ever heard of the baggy method? Well, if you haven't, it's a method where you wash or moisten your hair and apply a growth-stimulating moisturizer, wrap your hair in a plastic shower cap and your usual hair bonnet/scarf, and leave overnight. The idea is that the steam created from the heat your body naturally gives out helps open up your hair follicles to moisturize your hair more effectively and encourage growth.

Here's one great thing about the baggy method: it seems to work great! Here's one NOT great thing about the baggy method: if you do it too often, you will very likely develop a fungal infection because of all that moisture. I'm not kidding. Trust me.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Benjamin Stone

6. It Takes Up a Lot of Time

Caring for natural hair can take a tremendous amount of time. Because I have VERY tightly coiled hair that tangles easily, my hair requires a lot of extra attention. For example, I cannot afford to fall asleep on it overnight without putting it in twists, moisturizing, and tying it in a silk scarf — and that's just my simple daily routine. Factor in detangling time, hair rinses, pre-poo, wash, conditioning, and hair masks, and you get a significant amount of your life spent on hair care. I haven't seen my family or fed my dog in weeks.

7. It Can Be Very Pricey

Did you know sulfates found in almost all shampoos strip your hair of its natural moisture? Now, you need to invest in sulfate-free shampoo, which is also considerably more expensive than the one you were probably using before. There are also a lot of products out there to test, and the highly recommended products for natural hair tend to be pricier than your previous options.

Furthermore, because I am committed to buying products from black-woman-owned companies, that can carry a pretty high premium (although it's worth it). I'm thinking of taking a second job at this point.

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