I think it’s pretty normal to feel overwhelmed as a new natural. I’ve written before about information overload.
For a lot of us we traded in running combs through straight hair for figuring out how to untangle kinks and coils with just our fingers. We went from knowing our favorite brand of hair grease (and our momma’s momma’s favorite brand) to trying to figure out which ingredients to avoid. And how come our textures can’t all pull off the same hairstyles?
It’s a lot.
Even after years into the journey, my fro still throws me some curveballs. The main way I have endeavored to avoid becoming overwhelmed is to make informed decisions about what to trade in for some peace and manageability in my regimen.
If you let it, buying and trying all the popular brands can overwhelm your wallet. Knowing what exactly you are paying for can keep the spending in check.
You may choose to pay for the ease of not having to DIY a deep conditioner and that’s totally valid. Or if you’re like me and really can’t afford to keep up with a whole line of top-shelf hair products, you can trade for a cheaper shampoo and conditioner and put the money towards a high quality leave-in conditioner and oils.
You can avoid financial overwhelm when you go à la carte. You just have to know where you need quantity and where you need quality
Creativity & Technique
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wait to have some length to try all the dope hair style tutorials. But I often found myself overwhelmed by unfamiliar techniques and style after style simply not turning out right–or by the installation, upkeep, and maintenance of a new do.
I decided I didn’t want to spend all that extra time on styles that only lasted a day, so I traded in all the fun “out” styles for some reliable signature styles. If you’d rather not have to wear the same boring styles all the time and enjoy spending the extra time with your hair, that’s a trade off you can make.
I know it takes several extra tasks to stretch my hair instead of letting it shrink up naturally, but I don’t mind it because I’m trading in the hassle of dealing with knotted ends and breakage that usually comes from wearing my fro out for more than a day.
Knowing your lifestyle and preferred aesthetic can help you avoid styles and techniques that are a recipe for frustration.
Time & Energy
This is a big one, and it encompasses everything else. I have found caring for my natural hair overall just takes more time than when my hair was relaxed. It just does and no matter how you slice it that time and energy must go somewhere.
You can trade in free styles for the daily time savings of wearing a protective style, but that requires trading in the relatively short time it takes to install a couple of twists for the hours it takes to put in extensions or mini twists or braids. You can skip sectioning your hair before you handle it but then you have to work slower when you wash or detangle. And going heatless is healthier, but you pay for it with how much longer it takes your hair (especially thick hair) to dry and stretch.
But if you think about each of these trade offs and decide what best fits your lifestyle, you will be prepared rather than overwhelmed. You can proactively build your hair care regimen to suit your needs rather than let it get out of control.
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