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7 Really Important Things Every Black Woman Going Natural Should Know

YOU SLAY!

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1. It's going to be hard!

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So transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is probably going to be super hard, especially in the beginning. But that's because you're used to years of styling and caring for a completely different texture, and you have to learn how to do a texture you haven't had to maintain in a long time—if ever. A tough transition doesn't mean that "going natural" isn't for you. Experiment with different products, styles, and haircare methods in the first few months. You'll soon find your groove and it'll all be easy peasy.

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2. Be patient.

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If you big chopped, you've probably asked, "How long will it take to grow back?" As long as you properly take care of your hair—shampoo, condition, moisturize, and wrap at night—it will grow back. Just relax and enjoy the experience. If you want, do a protective style—like box braids or a sew-in—to lessen the shock. Protective styles are also a great way to avoid blending your natural and relaxed hair if you didn't big chop. Whatever you do, don't give up, and don't straighten your new growth with excessive heat because you can damage your natural curl pattern.

3. Don't compare your natural journey to anyone else's.

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Texture, growth, curl pattern, and fullness vary from person to person. What may have been your sister's or favorite YouTube vlogger's transition journey will more than likely not be yours. The quicker you embrace your hair and all that comes with it, without constantly comparing it to someone else's, the saner you'll be. It's not a competition of whose relaxer can grow out the quickest, or whose curl pattern is looser or tighter. Wearing your natural hair should be a personal choice, and it has nothing to do with anyone else.

4. You have "good" hair.

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You may hear comments like, "I wouldn't go natural if I were you" or "You don't have the right texture." BLOCK. IT. OUT! Favoring certain natural textures over others is a result of centuries of racist conditioning, and there is literally no such thing as "bad" hair. You also don't have to justify your decision to go natural or school anyone on the politics of black hair, unless you just want to. Your hair, whatever the texture, is "good" hair.

5. Every "natural" product isn't natural.

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Don't assume that just because a product is made for natural hair, or has a label that reads "all-natural," that every single ingredient is good for your hair. In 12 Things Black Women Have Been Told About Their Hair That May Be Total BS, Gwen Jimmere, CEO of Naturalicious, tells us that haircare labels are basically marketing tools and use buzz words, like "natural" and "pure." Some of these products, however, contain sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, and petroletums—which are not good for your hair and can leave it very dry. Check out the BuzzFeed 5-Day Natural Hair Challenge for some of the unhealthy and healthy ingredients Jimmere says to look out for in your products.

6. There are no rules.

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The natural hair police are intense in these streets, but they don't have any real power and there are literally no consequences if you choose to ignore their rules. They're usually the people arguing that you can't be natural if you color your hair, or you're not really natural if you get blow-outs or weaves. All lies! As long as you're not chemically straightening your hair, you're natural. Your hair is your expression, and you don't have to defend or justify your naturalness.

7. Confidence is key!

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As with anything, confidence is key. If you own your hair and wear it boldly, it'll look good. It's normal to think about how you'll look when the transition is over and you're au naturel. Don't let that consume your thoughts, though, and don't set any expectations about how your curls should pop or how your texture should feel. Instead, know that the end result, whatever it is, is YOUR hair. It's how your hair grows on its own, without manipulation or alteration, and that is always beautiful.

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