Thinking of going natural? Here’s what you really need
What a gorgeous fro!
I realize that there’s a good upsurge of people going natural right now, so much so that others are starting to look at it like a trend. “I went natural long before it became fashionable” Ok. Kudos to you. Here’s a cookie. “I was thinking about going natural but I changed my mind, I don’t like being common.” Yeah. Relaxed hair is truly unique. “A nuh everybody have the patience to deal with their natural hair and learn what works for them and what doesn’t, not everything works for everybody.” This is true with relaxed hair too, it’s why you leave the process up to your professional. There’s a learning curve with most processes and once you’ve overcome it, everything becomes second nature. “Natural products are expensive.” The biggest myth of them all. Last I checked, aloe vera was free. Shea butter and coconut oil cost less than JMD$500 for a month’s supply. How much does it cost to get a relaxer again?
I don’t like the criticism. If I see a convo on my newsfeed about natural hair, I’m probably going to jump in and offer advice but when I’m met with any of the above I usually leave it alone as not every battle is mine to fight and if that’s the mindset, chances are you’re not ready for this. Natural hair takes patience, courage and pride. They say relaxed hair is less of a hassle to deal with and not everyone is comfortable with their natural hair. Even these two points I like to combat because for one, I certainly do not miss the time I used to spend at the hairdresser waiting to get my hair done, I don’t miss the burns to my scalp and I SO do not miss the JMD$5000 a pop for my relaxer. Which brings me to my second point. How are you gonna tell me that natural products are expensive when you’re spending at least $4000 every 6 weeks to get your hair relaxed and then more ever so often to shampoo and to treat?
If you’re not comfortable with your hair texture then you have inner issues to work out. That’s the hair that God put on your head, learn to love it, learn to work with it. Even the thickest, kinkiest 4c textures can be styled in the most beautiful hairstyles if you take the time to learn how to work with what you have. If you simply like the aesthetic of a relaxer then cool. I’m not trying to fight the straight style at all, in fact I see blow outs in my future and one of the things that I love about natural hair is its versatility. I can get that bone straight look with a few swipes of the ceramic whenever I feel like it. But if you’re truly trying to change your hair because you think that what God gave you isn’t beautiful enough, then I am not qualified to help you but I wish you could see how beautiful your hair is and stop trying to change it. Look at this beautiful head of curls:
4c hair. The thickest, kinkiest type. Her video here. Here’s another video of a very cute twist-out to puff on 4c hair and a cute little diva in the making I found on tumblr:
Too fly. I get that you may not feel like tackling styling and maintenance all on your own, especially if you’ve been a slave to the salon most your life. But even that’s not an excuse as look at this price list from Beautiful Earth’s Natural Hair salon! Aren’t you paying more at your salon? I have not personally been to the salon yet but I’m sure as my hair grows and I start to desire cornrows and protective styles I’ll be visiting them. [Edit: I have since visited them for cornrows and was most pleased with the quickness and the style that I received] They do deep treatments too if you’re not inclined to become a mixtress like I have.
So yes, I get a little defensive when people say certain things about “going natural” because I feel like you barely know what your stylist is putting in your head each month but you feel enlightened enough to speak on what it takes and how much it costs to be natural. This is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as it has really made me pay attention to the things I put on my body and the things I put inside it. Team natural and team healthy and low and behold, team money saving.
Going natural doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s what you’ll need:
Shampoo and Conditioner: Black soap shampoo costs about JMD$550 and will last you much longer than the one you’re using now because you’ll be washing your hair twice monthly or only once per month. The rest of the time you’ll only be using conditioners to co-wash your hair. Black soap shampoo is the cheapest “natural” shampoo I can think of and your hair will thank you for giving up the sulfates and the parabens and all the other stuff in your Suave and African Pride. In fact, some people don’t use shampoo any at all. They use apple cider vinegar to clarify their hair once a month. Don’t knock it till you try it, after an ACV rinse my hair is always so light and fresh and ready to go! This article was written by a cosmetic chemist and explains it better for you. If you want, you can even skip the black soap shampoo and simply buy a bar of black soap which goes for as low as $100. Come on now.
Leave-in conditioner or styling product: this can be as simple as some aloe vera mixed with a little coconut oil. Voila. I use coconut oil to cook with so this one ingredient is not a huge cost to me as it does double duty. Coconut oil is healthier to cook with than vegetable oils. A 1 litre bottle of Simply Natural coconut oil runs me about JMD$600 and lasts maybe 2 months, maybe more. You’re running out of excuses here. If you’re going to splurge, I suggest going with the Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner. It retails between $1000 and $1400 here in Jamaica and it is the best thing since sliced bread. My friends with 4c hair confirm so don’t even begin to utter to me that “mi have coolie hair.” To stretch mine even further, I mix it with aloe vera. As you already know, aloe is my miracle hair care product and hey, it’s free.
Sealant: After you’ve cleansed your hair and then applied your leave-in, you’re going to want to seal in that moisture. I’ve tried many different ways to do this and the most effective for me has been going between castor oil and shea butter. I use raw shea butter whipped with oils on wash days to seal and days when I’m just spraying my hair with water to spruce it up then I use castor oil to seal. Castor oil is a little thick on it’s own so I mix mine with a lighter oil like jojoba or avocado oil which also helps to keep my hair soft, supple and shiny.
Confused about styles? Go to Naptural85’s channel on Youtube. Her hair is super long now but she has been doing videos since her hair was short, go back and watch those videos, she is amazing!
Now, I don’t think any of this is a splurge anyway. You know why? Because easily I spent between $6000 and $8000 at my hairdresser monthly. Now, my hairdresser used to be on the more expensive side so maybe you are spending the same, maybe you are spending around $4000. I haven’t even gone anywhere near those figures yet with the few products needed to maintain natural hair, so telling me that natural hair products are expensive? Meh. I win. You lose. Even the henna that I bought from the Indian store, which is like the best deep conditioning, strengthening thing I have done to my hair so far, was like JMD$200 for the little bag and I got 3 uses out of it.
I know you may be a little intimidated, you may read the blogs and feel overwhelmed. But one day at a time and we have natural hair salons and local blogs like myself here to help when you need a little motivation and assistance. If you’re thinking about going natural, now is a better time than ever to take the plunge.