Curl Envy: 7 Ways to Have a Better Natural Hair Journey
Whether you’re a transitioned natural, celebrating your first year natural or a big chop beginner, every natural has reached some stage of curl envy. What exactly is curl envy? A curly girl’s desire to have a particular curl pattern, hair texture or reach a particular length possessed by another natural, usually leading them to harsh criticism of their own hair. While all may not identify with my definition of curl envy, I remember being jealous of curl length, hair styles and patterns while watching my favorite YouTube naturals. I was often disappointed with my baby ‘fro, usually comparing how ‘bad’ my curls were.
Less than a year into my growth, I was frustrated and wanting to relax my hair until I met a group of young ladies in college who also felt the same way. Most of these ladies actually complimented my texture and style much like the women’s curls I gawked over!
I’ve noticed recently that many of my transitioning or newly natural friends reject their curls and are frustrated by learning the process of how to care for their own hair. I decided to create a to-do list on how to avoid the hair drama, and make your natural hair journey a positive experience both mentally and physically.
Experiment With Products. The haircare industry has changed so much within the past five years. When I went natural in 2010 I was desperately searching for products to compliment my kinky hair. Wal-mart and target didn’t have majority of the black or curly hair care products they currently carry. I often searched small self-owned hair stores, and ventured to online sites. My product collection ranged from $5 dollar jars to $20 bottles, whether it was shampoo, conditioner, oils, or my own homemade mixture.
Search YouTube and Read Blogs. The best thing I could ever do when deciding to go natural was becoming a YouTube addict. My curiosity to become natural began while I was a member of a message board where other girls were experimenting with their hair. I started a natural hair post that eventually gained 100 pages of suggestions in products, styles, and even natural hair vloggers to gain knowledge from. Two YouTubers I acknowledge on increasing my understanding of hair health are Beautifulbrwnbabydol and Kimmaytube.
Know Your Curl Pattern! When I first started transitioning, I was clueless to what a curl pattern was. It wasn’t until my big chop that I found out how to identify my hair type. Before natural, all I was taught to know was ‘nappy’, thus why it’s important for all women to understand their strands for hair health whether you’re curly or relaxed.
Learn The Lingo. If you want a breezy-easy transitioning process or successful growth journey then you must know what language we are speaking. Do you own a Denman brush, better yet do you even know what a Denman brush is? If you can define what a T.W.A. or S.S.K. is, and understand my ACV/BST reference, then you may be on your way to natural royalty.
Find Your Regimen And Routine. It’s easy to simply buy your favorite bloggers hair products, but what works for them may not work for you. You have to listen to the way your hair responds to products and use those long enough to know if it has a positive or negative. More importantly, you have to take into consideration how often you wash, what temperature water you use, if your use heat, and if you have a routine to how you wash and style your hair. Curlsunderstood post can educate you on the importance of product ingrediants, understanding a regimen, as well as how create your own routine. In case you are wondering about my favorite products; I’m currently in love with Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale line. I also swear by trader joe’s tea-tree shampoo and conditioner, as well as Giovanni direct leave-in conditioner. For daily moisture I use Shea Moistures, and regular oils.
Stop Thinking Negatively And Nappy. Finding comfort in my texture and TWA (teeny-weeny afro) slowly came as I gained knowledge and years under my belt. After 4.5 years of being natural, I’m still learning new ways to keep my hair healthy. Every now and then I have a ‘I just want to go bald’ moment, but its important to take a breath and remember that you could be edgeless.
Stick To The Basics. After a while, I became so caught up in finding the right product that I began neglecting my hair. I stopped listening to its inability to withhold moisture and dandruff infested scalp because I let go of my basic routine. I became lazy with my wash routine, tying down my hair at night and my bi-weekly Baking Soda treatments. If you have a basic routine, then you can never go wrong even when you get a little product crazy.
I may not have it all down, but that is what makes the natural hair journey; it isn’t a competition where one person wins, nor does it have an end result. Swapping styles, regimens, and hair products is what brings us together. Listen to your hair, show it love and most importantly appreciate those untouched curls.
Tyeshea is the founder of "fro·voc·a·tive" - An individual promoting social awareness and provoking the conscious with an emphasis on afro-culture or afrocentrism. Tyeshea is also NYC based blogger and photographer. Follow her on Instagram (@afrovocative).