I love watching documentaries and one day, I watched one on the Pound shop. You know, the chain stores in the UK that sell everything under their roof for a quid. The floor salesperson being interviewed was asked what question he gets the most and unbelievably, it was “How much is this?”
One would have thought it was fairly obvious that in a shop that told you upfront that everything was a pound, you wouldn’t have to be asked this question. It made me realize that those that ask me what I sometimes think are obvious questions are not just yanking my chain. They actually don’t know and want to know. And I accept that.
With this blog, one of the frequently asked questions I get is “How do I get natural hair”. I thought the answer to be fairly obvious but apparently it is not. And that is okay. And that is why, this post is going to address that in detail.
Let’s begin with some definitions.
What is natural hair?
- This is hair that has not been chemically processed.
What is chemically processed hair?
- When the chemical make up of your hair strands are changed in a non-reversible way. That means that the only way to get rid of that change is when new hair grows to replace the old one.
Let’s talk a bit more about chemical processing
- Some examples of chemical processing include perming, relaxing, bleaching, texturizing, and texlaxing. These things re irreversible. However when you blow dry your hair, this is not a chemical process because it reverts to natural hair in a few days…sometimes hours, if you are in a very humid place. Hair Styling is also pretty temporary, so that can’t be considered a chemical process.
So if my hair is relaxed and I want it to become natural?
The first step is to stop relaxing your hair. It is that simple. There is nothing that you can buy and pour on your hair that will revert it to natural hair from relaxed hair. If you stop relaxing your hair, your new growth will be all natural. Over time, you can cut the new growth and Voila! you have natural hair.
So I must wait for my hair to grow before I cut it off?
Errr…no. There are actually two ways to do this. You can do the Big Chop or you can Transition. What I described before was transitioning. But let me explain a bit more.
This is typically when hair is allowed to grow for a duration of time without any relaxing of that new growth. What this means is that one manages both relaxed hair and new growth at the same time. This can go on from a few month to a year. What determines the duration is typically how long one wants their hair to be when they cut off the old (sentence updated to correct a mistake) growth. The longest Nigerian transitioner I know of is Sandra, Naija Girl Next Door. She transitioned for a record breaking 19months. That is almost 2 years. Little wonder that her 1 year length check looks like this.
She wanted to have long hair when she cut her relaxed ends off, so she was patient with her transition time. Read more about her hair journey on her blog.
For those that do not mind having short natural hair, they typically cut off the relaxed ends after very few months of new growth or when there is no new growth.
There is a whole range from “gorimapa” to a teeny weeny afro.
So there you have it, to go from relaxed hair to natural hair is basically a matter of using a pair of scissors AND stopping the application of relaxer or texturizer. As Africans, afro-textured hair grows out of our scalp and so we do not need to do anything to specially grow it. Simply do not relax it and after a while, you will have enough natural hair on your scalp to liberate from relaxed hair.
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