As self-satisfying as the idea of going completely natural with your hair is, it is easier said than done. Its difficulty is greatly overlooked, often with the silly excuse that people do not want to embrace their black identity. I have refused to use any sort of heat or harsh chemicals in my hair for the past two years in the hope of seeing my hair returning to it previous curly glory.

The process has been slow but steady; it’s easy to daydream on how easy it would be to just run a flatiron through my hair and have a socially popular hairdo. Then there is the constant worry that my curls will turn into little balls of frizz; always a reality. This is the flip side of the transition for girls who are hoping to make a switch back to their natural roots. Between chemically straightened hair and ideal natural hair glory, the journey to the latter is frustrating and filled with patience testing hiccups. Relearning how to treat your natural hair isn’t only time consuming but also expensive.

About two months ago I bought three curl-related products from Net-a-Porter to help me style my hair more effectively: Vernon François’s Curl Command Moisture Spray, Bumble and Bumble’s Invisible Oil and Bumble and Bumble’s hair mouse. However, after a one-time use, I realized that they were barely really suited to my hair type. Again, just a month ago I bought the much raved about Deva Curl Coconut Cream Styler only to be disappointed yet again. The cream made my curls loopy and not luscious and that was another €30 wasted. While going natural may be desirable for many it is time consuming and costly. These are factors that should be emphasized more by those who have reached the light at the end of tunnel.

Getting it right.

Though I have been fortunate enough to test and try out new products, there are small inexpensive steps you can take to slowly reverse damage on your hair that I found useful.

Detangling the mane

Don’t detangle your hair when dry or with a brush, ever. It breaks the curl pattern. Try detangling it only when wet, with conditioner and from the bottom up as it helps with not pulling out wanted strands. Use your fingers or a shower comb

T-shirt drying

If you can’t get your hands on a microfibre hair towel, swap your towel for a t-shirt when it comes to drying your hair. It reduces frizz and breakage.

Silk awareness

Curly hair needs extra moisture, so your cotton pillowcases do more harm than you actually think as they absorb the moisture. Silk pillowcases while pricey are incredibly useful. If you can’t afford one, make a hair tie out of some old piece of silk clothing. I personally prefer the pillowcase as anything too tight on my head gives me a headache.

Product overload

Don’t be a brand hoarder, don’t try to buy the latest product because the girl with perfect curls uses them and don’t use a bounty of product on your hair either. Every curly girl is different and the journey is different for everyone. They key is small amounts from the well-suited brands. Expensive doesn’t always mean good. The first three products I used were all endorsed by celebrities and though this is tempting, remember that these people are paid to say nice things.

Many brands these days offer testers and samples. Take them whenever you are given and don’t be ashamed to ask for them either. Take it from the girl who clears the toiletries from hotel rooms from wherever she stays. It’s a habit I had since I was small. It allows you to test without the investment.

These are just simple tips you can live by when trying to go natural and remember that while products help to restore your hair to its healthy natural state they aren’t completely responsible for it.

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