Congrats to all the women who have just taken that momentous step and decided to get rid of the chemicals!! You are now 100% natural!! Your first few weeks and months as a new natural can be exciting, frustrating, fun, scary, even liberating. Sometimes you may even feel all of those emotions in the same day! Those of us who have been natural for years can definitely relate. We remember the anticipation as well as the fear, because for quite a few of us, this was the first time we had ever dealt with our hair in its natural state! So, with that in mind, I asked myself as well as some of my natural haired friends, “What were some of our habits/behaviors when we first went natural?” and “Which of these if any are we still doing now, years later?” With that information in mind, these are my Top 5 Habits of New Naturals:
1. You get really excited when you see other natural haired women in public.
You know it’s true. We’ve all been there. You are newly natural and you’re at the grocery store, in the checkout line, and that’s when you spot a beautiful twist-out walking through the doors, pushing a cart. Yup, that’s right, it’s not even about the person wearing the twist-out; it’s just about the twist-out. If you weren’t the next person in line, you would follow the twist-out and ask it what was used on it and how long it had been natural. Yes those were the days! When you are newly natural you are always aware of everyone else in a 5 mile radius that’s natural too. Crossing paths with other naturals while running errands, is so exciting when you’re a new natural, that you actually go home and tell other people, “Guess what? I saw 2 natural haired women at Subway today while I was on lunch. One looked like she had a wash and go and the other……” Remember those days?
2. You spend an inordinate amount of time on YouTube.
Clothes need to be washed, dinner needs to be cooked, your mama is waiting for you to call her back, even your favorite show is on right now, but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters in this moment (and every other moment that you’re not sleep or working) is whether or not that new natural hair product worked on Natural Chica’s hair and how long her style lasted. She also just got some new hair accessories, so now you need to find out where you can pick those up at as well as how to use them properly. And wait…she just announced she’s doing a giveaway…..hold up! Sound familiar? When you first go natural, YouTube is your absolute best friend. It is where you find out about new products, new styles, listen to people chat it up about their hair or lack thereof, it’s just a hub for all things natural. This is generally a pretty harmless habit until it starts encroaching on more important activities, like feeding your family. Yes, YouTube can become addictive!
3. You are constantly taking pictures of your hair.
When you are newly natural, anytime is a good time for pictures. You know you’re brand new when you have absolutely no plans to leave the house but yet you dress up from head to toe and apply a full face of make-up for the express purpose of taking pictures of your TWA. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a digital camera, a smart phone, an iPad, or a disposable camera (yes those still exist, as I just used one last month), Olan Mills and Glamour Shots have nothing on you! New Naturals capture their hair in all poses and circumstances……side shots, front shots, close-ups, distance shots, pre-workout shots, post-workout shots, in the car shots, in the sun shots, you name it and we’ve got a picture of our hair to fit it. Honestly I wish I still took pictures of my hair the way I used too when I first went natural. It’s nice looking back and documenting the growth as well as your hair journey in general. I’m going to start doing this again, who’s with me?
4. You’re super cautious about everything regarding your hair.
New Naturals soak up information like sponges, which is a good thing because at this stage we need all the knowledge we can get. They are generally very meticulous about their hair care routine and sticking to it. As time goes on we sometimes start getting a little lax about our hair practices….forgetting to deep condition, going to bed without re-twisting, forgetting to moisturize every day. We get busy and sometimes we just stop dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s as it were, in regards to our hair care routine. Not new naturals though, they make sure they take extreme care with their hair, they take time with their hair, they research every ingredient in their hair products, they test the PH of their hair products, they check the humidity and the dew point before heading outdoors, they take their hair seriously. I think we could all use a little more of this in our lives……just a little bit.
5. You want to convert everyone you know and meet into being natural.
When you first go natural it’s almost like you become a self-appointed natural hair spokesperson. Everywhere you go, you find yourself encouraging other women to go natural. Anyone who puts up any kind of resistance gets a rundown of the damaging effects of chemical relaxers and in-depth details of the brainwashing that has occurred for centuries regarding our natural hair textures. Although I must admit this is pretty good information, it can sometimes fall on deaf ears. I say this because when you are newly natural, you have so much passion about going and being natural that it can sometimes scare people, but then on the other hand it just might be the encouragement that some women need to make the leap and actually go natural. So it really just depends on who you’re talking to.
I was like this to a degree when I first went natural. I felt and still feel like it’s a great choice to make and I wanted every woman I knew to experience the freedom of being natural. I learned though, that actions speak louder than words. You can talk about how great being natural is all day long and people will be like yeah whatever, but they will be watching you. And what they are looking for is to see if you truly believe what you’re telling others. They also are looking at your hair. How many times have we had people say, “I would never go natural, I don’t know why you went and did that to your hair.” “Your relaxed hair was so beautiful, why did you go natural?” Some even talk about you behind your back and laugh at your hair, but have you noticed that once you really get the hang of handling your hair and it comes into its own, so to speak, that people who made those comments start coming around giving you compliments? What’s even funnier is when they come to you and say that they’ve always wanted to go natural but were scared and then start asking you for advice!?!
With that being said, I’m so happy to say that many of my friends and family have now gone natural, even those who swore that they would never give up their relaxers. So being a natural hair spokesperson really can work, just be encouraging and teach by example!
So that’s our list, what’s yours? What are/were some of your habits as new naturals? Which of these newbie habits are we still doing years later for better or for worse?