In 2014 I made the decision to go natural and stop using relaxers in my hair. I made the decision for many reasons but the biggest one was the health of my hair was deteriorating so rapidly I had to make a change.
As much as I did lots of research on the subject (which was mostly on my laptop and phone which where both stolen: shout out to the Thieves who can’t work for themselves) I knew very little. Especially because the natural hair market is only in its infant stages in Zambia. If you live in Zambia and you want to go natural know the following:
1. It’s not as scary as you may think.
Hair grows. I know a lot of Africans like to say, “I can’t cut my hair it doesn’t grow likes yours!” It grows, we just don’t have the right knowlegde on it.
2. You don’t have to have a drastic hair cut.
You can transition (growing your natural hair while your relaxed ends are still present). Because my hair is kinky coily the straight n coily hair did not work well together so I decided to big chop (cut off all my relaxed ends).
3. You don’t have to spend gazillions doing this.
I did, at first because I sort out every product o saw on Google and YouTube. But now I have enough knowledge on my hair to be economic but have healthy hair.
4. You will have to learn to do your own hair sometimes.
Because the market for natural hair is very small in Zed, most stylists won’t respect the work that goes into natural hair because they know little about it. Most stylists want me to blow out my hair all the time which I refuse to do. Others will fry your hair and not be moved by the process.
5. There will be more bad hair days!
Sorry to say but this is the truth they dont tell you on YouTube. I got into this thinking I will always have a hairstyle because I’ve watched 100s of tutorials. Lies! There were days when my mane could not be tamed. Other days I did not have the energy or time. Many reasons, but those days are fewer as your hair grows out and you understand what it loves.
6. Patience is a virtue.
When I was 3 months in I had a, ‘Nevermind’ moment because I just didn’t see the progress. I was so confused because my hair wasn’t doing what Chime Edwards hair was doing. I hated it to be honest. But around month 4 I decided to be a bit more patient and follow my hair regimen and in month 5 the change was unreal. Shedding was always a big problem for me but nowadays its next to none. Or very minimal. My hair grew so quickly I decided to keep to the routine and not get carried away by the process. 9 months later my hair has grown like never before.
7. Don’t be obsessed with your hair.
The hair industry is one of the biggest in the world. Grossing billions every year. Why? Because we can’t get enough of it. We obsess over our hair and appearance and the dollar signs show! But whether your hair is natural or chemically treated, please don’t obsess over. I realized with my hair when I do too much (braiding, styling, weaving, wigging) it doesn’t respond well to me. When I am calm and patient I not only enjoy the journey but my hair is happy. Some people have waist length hair after 4 years and other don’t. It’s OK. Enjoy the process and love your hair for what it is. As long as its healthy.
As much as the above information applies to natural hair, it is equally important to take care of your chemically treated hair as well. I will definitely have advice on that subject soon. Even though I do not relax my hair anymore there are things I have learnt from being natural that I know will work for relaxed hair too.