If you’ve embarked on this curly girl journey, you’ve probably already realized that this natural hair life is no joke! This past year of transitioning from my love of bone straight hair to my natural curls has been nothing short of overwhelming. There’s a ton of information out on the web about how best to manage your curly hair and all of the information is different. Ahhhhh!! Initially, I spent entirely too much money on products just to see if my hair would like it. I wound up having over $1,000 in hair care products that I still cannot organize and convicts me every time I see them. I’ve since vowed not to buy another product until I’ve used all of these – and if my hair likes it or not, they will be used!
One day a light bulb went off in my head or I got completed frustrated. I don’t remember but I decided not to listen to the many curly hair methods on YouTube and/or Facebook/IG. I’m not a girl that has the patience for the long processes most of them were describing and I had to realize that most of them have an incentive for speaking about a particular product. They either received it free or they were being paid to speak about it. I, however, was foolishly spending all of my money with no results in my hair and no return deposit in the bank.
One year later and my hair has fully transitioned. My curls are poppin and I even straightened it on my one year anniversary of no heat. It takes courage for a woman to see herself in a way she never has before. Here are a few things I learned on my journey:
Curly cuts by curly hair professionals are worth the investment
It’s not uncommon for curly hair cuts and trims to be over $200 as a minimum. I know your eyes may have just bulged out of your sockets, as did mine initially, but I’ve come to realize that if you’re going to invest in anything expensive this is truly where to best allocate your dollars. Split ends are not cute on any hair – straight or curly. However, since your hair in it’s natural state is most likely receiving a lot more moisture, if you’re not taking care of it properly you could be creating more split ends than when it was dry. You definitely want a curly hair expert to address your hair texture, not a hair type that you assume you are and ask someone on the internet. It’s not the same!
If your hair is anything like mine, it’s bipolar. It has more than one curl pattern and while I was transitioning, it did whatever the heck it wanted. I could never get the same result in 2 consecutive washes using the same products. My pajon (Dominican for fro) did what it wanted to, when it wanted to.
Curly cuts usually come with an in-depth consultation about your hair type and what would work well and how to maintain it in the future. I cannot emphasize enough how important this investment is.
If you’re in the DFW area, Haiya Rodriguez is your girl! She travels often to NYC as well so be sure to check her Instagram.
If you’re in the Miami area, Isabella Vasquez is your curl slaying queen. She also travels around the world with her skills. Check out her Instagram for inspiration.
Do what works for your hair
If you’re starting your curly hair journey or are frustrated in the midst, truth is you’ve probably worn your hair curly in the past and know of 1 or 2 products that worked well with your hair even if your hair needed more love. Go with that. Really and truly, the most important products you should invest in are your shampoo, conditioner and your leave-in conditioner. However, as far as stylers work, use what works for you.
My hair and scalp NEVER felt clean if I didn’t use a shampoo with sulfate unless I was using the Kevin Murphy line. Cowashing is the worst for me. My scalp likes to be washed and gets itchy quick if it has a lot of product or is in the same style for a long time. I wash my hair once a week and deep condition with a steamer on the same day. I apply all of my products and am able to maintain my curls for a week with little to no meddling in between! Praise Jesus! I’m not the one for long processes or doing this more than once a week. I literally went natural because I thought it’d be so much easier……WRONG! When I started doing what worked for me, it got better. Isabella from Curlpop N Hair confirmed that I was doing the right thing and just needed to keep up with my cuts and protein treatments every so often. I’ve maintained healthy hair without the absence of sulfates. Don’t drive yourself crazy.
Oh and the apple cider vinegar rinse………the smell did NOT go away for me. Either that or I could still smell it in my psyche but I absolutely was not about that life.
Walk the walk
You’ve done the hard part already by starting and committing to this new curly journey! Now don’t let the change just occur with your hair. Experiment with new makeup, accessories, outfits and even environments. Embracing my natural curls was like an emancipation of Arlene. I not only wanted to live authentically with my hair but also with styles I’ve wanted to try that I didn’t think I was trendy enough for and continue pushing my comfort zone by exploring places and hobbies I had held back on over the years. Transitioning to natural has been a lifestyle change, not just a hairstyle change and it’s been uncomfortable for the most part but so rewarding in all areas of my life.
I have never felt more free than I do now in my life. Free to try new things. Free to make mistakes. Free to LIVE without worrying about the opinion of others.
Some of that came when I decided not to listen to YouTubers for my transitioning advice. I found myself comparing myself to them often and living in misery without even noticing it. To clarify, this post isn’t to bash any of the curly hair YouTubers because I do honestly enjoy watching their videos now and following most of them. Practically for me, in the initial stages it wasn’t good for me to embrace my curly hair journey looking onto their journeys though. It was too much information and quite honestly too much hair envy. I used them for information on hair styling techniques mostly but allowed myself enough grace to let my hair do what it wanted – have my own journey. Once my curls grew more stable in pattern after my curly cuts, I used products I knew worked while still trying 1 or 2 different gels to see the difference. Cream alone was not enough. My hair needed hold.
Walk the walk of big hair don’t care! Be you and beYOUtiful. Take the curly hair methods and product recommendations with a grain of salt. Know that not everything is going to work for you just because your curls look similar to someone else’s. Your curls are beautiful. Embrace the bigger journey of learning more about your natural self: mind, body and spirit. Celebrate 1 good hair day at a time until they become more frequent and rock the bad hair days with the same amount of sass.