Ten Reasons to Take the Natural Plunge

Me with braids on one side and spiraled twists on the other.

Lately, I’ve noticed more and more women are taking the plunge and going natural.  I have been natural for about 5 years now, but this is not my first trip down natural lane. 

In 2003 during my deployment to Iraq, I cut my long, relaxed hair off with a Leatherman Micra.  After six touch-up free months I got tired of trying to comb and detangle it in the in between state, so I did what most natural sisters call a BC or big chop.  There I was in the shower snip, snip, snipping.  I went in a mop head and emerged a sponge head.  I never felt more free and scared at the same time.  While I loved it, I feared what others would think about it.  With the encouragement of my battle buddies, who were also natural, I wore it proudly.  Besides, I didn’t have to worry too much about being cute in the desert.  Now coming back home was a different story.

When I came home I got a mixture of reactions:  some loved it, others hated it.  It got to a point where I began to question whether or not I had made the right decision in cutting it.  After about a year-and-a-half of being natural I gave into the pressure, the questions, and the plain ol’ ridicule and relaxed it.  Boy, did I regret it.  I regretted it so much that I had nightmares about it.  I missed my kinky texture and all the different things I could do with it: twist it, fro it, straighten it, bantu knot it, comb twist it, etc.  Relaxed hair looked nice, but it felt boring to me.  Sure, there were days that I was not pleased with the look of my natural hair (bad hair days), but I also had bad hair days with a relaxer. 

It wasn’t long (actually about six months) before I decided once again to go natural.  Only this time I grew it out gradually instead of doing the BC.  When I finally had cut off all the relaxed ends of my hair, there were still naysayers trying to discourage my decision.  Can you believe someone actually told me that I wouldn’t be able to get a husband with my hair natural unless I went to Africa?!  I mean really?  Is hair an issue that is too hard for God?  Obviously not, since I am married now in all my natural glory.  Now run and tell that! 

Although the transition was rough, it was definitely worth it.  I don’t miss a relaxer at all.  When I look in the mirror I see a beautiful woman with her own sense of style and uniqueness.  I wouldn’t go back to a relaxer if you paid me.  There’s just something about it unlike anything else.  So I’ve compiled a top ten list of reasons why anyone considering going natural should.  I’d say once you go nappy, you’ll always be happy.  All my naturalistas can let me know if I’m right or not or add your own reasons. 

This is me wearing two-strand twists for the first time. I was draped in a towel, trying to be cute in Iraq. Shout out to Jennifer Brown for twisting it for me.

This is me two years after transitioning to natural the second time around. Lovin' it!

 
10. More versatility.  You can do all sorts of things with natural hair such as various kinds of twists, braids, wearing an afro or a puff, bantu knots, blowing out, flat ironing, locing, and the lists goes on and on.
9.  It’s an accessory.  The additional bonus with natural hair’s versatility is that you can dress it up or down, depending on your mood for the day.  You can switch it like you switch a pair of earrings.
8.  It’s a confidence booster.  If you can get over the occasional stares from your haters (just between us, they are secretly admiring your hair when they do this), then you know that you are one confident diva who is not moved by the opinions of others.  How freeing is that?
7.  Easily lends itself to at-home styling.  I don’t know about you, but I was growing weary of the trips to the hair salon with the long wait and prices.  It’s comforting to know that I can achieve a killer cute style with the help of Youtube videos and some good products, with my own two hands (or with the hands of a loved one).  Shout out to my mother on this!
6.  It’s an icebreaker. You know how a man can just walk up to a random man and instantly begin a conversation about sports? Well, it’s not uncommon for a random person to just walk up to you and compliment your hair or to have a conversation about products and stylists.
5. Healthier, longer hair.  Being chemical free allows your hair the chance to grow, if properly cared for, of course.   
4. Shake and go.  Wash and wear.  If you’ve got a twa (teeny, weeny afro) you can walk out the door after washing with little maintenance.  With longer styles you can add a little moisture and tousle it with your hands in the morning to revive the style.  Saves a ton of time!
3. Freedom to scratch.  Nothing was more aggravating than having to pat my itchy scalp a week before a touch-up.  Hated it!  Now I can scratch whenever I get good and ready.
2.  No more chemical burns.  No longer do I have to worry about leaving the shop with scabs on my scalp from all that scratching I was doing.  Nuff said. 
 
And the number one reason to go natural is…
 
1.  Best. Sleep. Ever.  I don’t have to sleep cute anymore with my natural hair.  All I do is tie it up at night and sleep with reckless abandon.  I wake up in the morning with my hair still in tact.
 
I hope you’ve enjoyed this.  If anyone makes the decision to go natural from this post, welcome to the club!
 
I’m not judgin’.  I’m just sayin’.
 
Written by Briana Whitaker
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