It’s been many years since the natural hair movement first took off and some of us are still on our individual natural hair journeys. Let me ask you a question: why? And yes, get specific. What is the number one reason why you still consider yourself on a journey?
You’ve transitioned, maybe even did the big-chop, went through the super long “trial and error” stage when searching for products —and you’re still going. At what point does it stop being a hair journey and default into what it really is? Just taking care of your hair.
That’s not to say that learning to care for your natural hair isn’t an adventure that’ll take you down many different paths throughout your lifetime.
However, it may be time to take a different approach to the way you see your hair, how you care for it, and reconsider if your current path is even a good fit for you.
Still on a hair journey? Well, let’s explore a few things before you decide to switch paths or hop off the train altogether.
Consider shifting the focus to hair health.
A lot of the natural hair journey, at least in recent years, has been overly focused on subjects such as curl-typing your hair texture aka “am I a 3c or 4a?”; manipulating your coils and curls to high heaven; and our absolute favorite topic—hair growth.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with speaking on these things. In fact, it’s necessary to talk about each and every one of them at some point!
However, such an intense focus on only the optics of natural hair has been a big reason why some people still don’t understand what truly healthy hair is or even looks like.
Let’s be real, a lot of the people who said they heat trained their hair actually heat damaged it. Just like some people who swear up and down that they protective style for good reason are looking for cute ways to hide their hair texture.
Or how about the idea that if you can’t grow our hair past a certain part then there must be some type of problem? Again, there is far too much focus on how things look.
Ask yourself this question: would you be okay with your hair being in an unhealthy state, as long as you could still make it look good?
If your answer is yes, it would probably do you some long-term good to shift your priorities back to focusing on maintaining a head full of healthy hair.
Go beyond the surface—what do you really think?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a great deal of natural hair journeys have now ended in women going right back to relaxers. Personal opinions aside, doing what you want to do with your hair is perfectly fine if you’re doing it from a healthy place.
I say that to say, the natural hair community isn’t without its judgement. Between the term “natural hair nazis” being coined for those who pressure women into going natural, to type 4 hair textures being nearly erased from representation—we definitely have our issues.
But this is a good reminder that your hair journey is just that, yours and yours alone. So step back from the opinions of everyone around you and dig deep into your own thoughts.
Are you happy with where you are on your natural hair journey? Are you interested in relaxers, texturizers, or just changing your natural hair routine? Answer these questions honestly and move how you want to.
Hair growth: Natural, relaxed, or just “real”.
A lot of us went natural under the guise that, even if we had to big chop, it was going to help us with hair growth, eventually. While it is true that going from relaxed to natural is healthier to some extent, we also know that your hair can grow even if it’s relaxed.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are women who don’t care if their hair is chemically treated or not—they just want to say that they have long real hair and not necessary long natural hair. Which is also completely fine.
Again, there are more questions to be asked! Which category do you fall in and where do you stand with hair growth? Assess yourself, where you are on your hair journey, and with absolutely no judgement—move forward.