Before we get started, I’d like to establish the fact that keeping Afro hair is not a hairstyle that many women have chosen to wear their hair in, but it is a lifestyle which they chose to live in.“
Black women and men have always worn their hair in an elaborate or conservative style since the history of Black people. As a result of this, most of us were brought up thinking that our hair has to be worn in a particular style in order for it to be presentable.
Also, I’ve read comments made by natural haired women who claim their hair is just a hairstyle and nothing else. It is false statements and misconceptions like these that have resulted in newly naturals to go back to relaxers, wear extensions exclusively or just keep their hair cropped.
What are the lifestyle changes you need to make when you transition to natural hair?
1. Though Afro-textured hair has existed ever since Black people have existed, an unfortunate reality is that many women with Afro hair are still facing discrimination in their community as a result of the way they’ve chosen to wear their hair.
This discrimination is particularly ubiquitous in Africa, which is supposed to be the birthplace of Afro hair. Many still think of Afro hair as a “hairstyle” of the past which should have faded off with increased civilization and technological innovation.
2. The discrimination many of us face is often in the form of unwelcome remarks and resistance from family members, peers, colleagues and other members of our society.
3. To have healthy hair, many women have had to change their overall health and fitness level. Lifestyle changes could involve changing one’s diet to incorporate healthier food choices such as increased fruit and vegetable intake, drinking more water and watching the type and amounts of foods we eat. Some of us even go as far as exercising few times a week.
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4. Another lifestyle change some of us have made is to replace our previous hairstylist with a stylist that is knowledgeable about natural hair care (not just hair styling), and when we can’t find one, we will then decide to be our own hair stylist.
5. Keeping in line with lifestyle changes, many of us have had to change our hair products to “Natural Hair Friendly” hair products that have minimal or no harsh chemicals which can be detrimental to the overall health of our hair.
Instead, we opt for products with ingredients we can actually pronounce and might be familiar with. Some of us even go as far as making our own hair care products.
6. Another lifestyle change we’ve had to make is to increase the length of time we spend on our hair. As we know, Afro hair is a unique hair type which requires us to spend a bit more time tending to its needs.
The extra time includes time spent on detangling, washing, deep conditioning and styling. Extra time may also be spent whipping up our own DIY hair products. Some of us will also spend some time educating ourselves and others about Afro Hair.
The extra time spent on Afro hair doesn’t require you to spend all day on your hair every day as the time you spend handling your Afro hair will be dependent on your natural hair texture and need.
7. Because Afro hair is not a hairstyle, some of us have come to realize that our hair will NOT achieve a particular style we see other girls pull off on YouTube regardless of the product and technique we use. Some of us have also come to embrace the physical characteristics of our hair as we allow it to do its own thing, rather than conforming it into a particular style.
8. And lastly, like any lifestyle changes that we sometimes have to go through in life, the level of success we achieve will be dependent on the reality of the goals we set and how persistent we are.
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I have written this lengthy article is that many women often join the bandwagon without educating themselves about what they’re getting themselves into, only to jump out of the bandwagon when the journey starts to get rough. Understanding that you will need to make certain lifestyle changes to make your journey smooth is the key to keeping natural hair and eventually growing it long.
After reading these eight lifestyle changes you need to make when you transition to natural hair, do you think you’re ready to make some of these changes? Remember you don’t have to change overnight, you can take as long as you want.