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It’s a question many women have asked themselves at one point. “Is Natural Hair the way to go or do I stick to my straight, relaxed tresses?”

And who can blame them? It’s almost like women these days are being divided into camps on this matter with no one remaining in between. When the natural hair trend broke out about five years ago, it was one easily embraced by many women. Others, on the hand, raised an eyebrow at the thought of rocking their nappy hair, what they had worked on hiding for so long. “It’s too hard,” they said, both in terms of maintenance and texture. To which their black sisters gave side glances and rolled their eyes, as if to say “Girl, please?”

Enough about others, though. If it’s a decision you have been trying to make, the decision of to big chop or not to big chop (cut off your relaxed ends, that is), let’s help you out with some tips to consider:

1. Natural hair is your real hair: The word “embracing” is key to what this point is all about. At the end of the day, a naturalista is simply choosing to wear her God-given curls. It’s not a wig she’s choosing to put on, but her own hair that’s growing from her head. Do you want to take that bold step? Do you want to be all you?

2. Are you simply jumping on a trend?: Your friend’s gone natural and so have your sisters, so why not right? Wrong! Truth be told, these ladies will not be there when you have to endure bad hair days or are struggling with de-tangling. You can also bet that they will not spare you a single Naira note to buy your hair products. If you choose to go natural, do it for yourself, please. Not for anyone else.

3. How patient are you to learn?: For some ladies, having relaxed hair is something that’s been a part of their lives since they were little kids. Learning the ways of the naturalista is a whole new ballgame, one that requires hours of digesting YouTube video and hair blog posts to understand how things work. Are you ready to invest what’s needed from you? We use the word “invest” because you can definitely expect some great growth and style compliments months after being a good student.
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4. How patient are you to de-tangle?: Did you know that de-tangling natural hair can take about an hour for some naturalists? It’s one of those steps that no one likes but has to endure to avoid knots that cause breakage. Sisters with dreadlocks don’t have this problem though, so locking might be something to consider to cut out the hassle.

5. How conscious are you of short hair?: It’s funny, but the saying “Do not despise the days of little beginnings” applies to growing out natural hair too. Before the big fro that everyone would admire, you may have to love the TWA (slang for teeny weeny afro) for a little while. Or a long time, depending on how quickly your hair grows out. Is this a choice you are willing to live with? Then, there’s this thing called shrinkage that can affect your hair’s length on certain days by up to 80%. So get ready, lady.

So what do you think? Are you going natural anytime soon?

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