Check out the newest installment in CurlyNikki's reader Q&A series:
READER QUESTION: How do I stay motivated along my natural hair journey? I recently made the big chop/stopped relaxing, and I'm not creative with my hair like all the bloggers I see. It's hard for me to find styles and I can only afford a salon visit once a month. This is more stressful that I anticipated. What should I do?!
CURLYNIKKI'S RESPONSE: I’m sorry to hear this, but please know that you are not alone. Even the veteran naturals, with years of care and practice under their belts, find themselves right back in this frustrating rut. Below, you’ll find a few tips that will hopefully keep you motivated along your journey-
Be Flexible- Transitioning and natural hair is anything but predictable. I’ve been natural my entire life, and can’t get ‘product x’ with ‘styling technique y’ to yield the same result on Monday as it did on Saturday. This is why you must be flexible! Go with the flow and exude confidence despite the fact you may not be 100% happy with the results. No one knows you’re having a bad hair day but you! Add some bobby pins, bun it, swoop it, pomp it, whatever! Your confidence will shine through and people will know, that you know, that they know you look fly!
Be inspired- Watch your favorite Youtubers, but most important, push away from that computer and practice on your own head. If you become frustrated, take a break, tweak the style to fit your situation, or stop the vid and start a new one! Have fun and if you become frustrated or your arms get tired, take break. If Youtube becomes overwhelming, look for other sources of inspiration—the woman on the train, pics of your favorite natural celeb… get creative!
Be Vocal- Vent. Vent on the forums, in the comment section of your favorite blog, even to real life curlies at the next natural hair meetup. You’ll be surprised that your problems are not unique to you. Sometimes, just the act of talking it out and getting it off your chest can be very cathartic!
Be Health Focused- Refocus your energy from the aesthetic and styling techniques to overall hair health. Trust me, everything else will fall in place when you’re working with strong, healthy hair. It’s the foundation of dope styles! So today, if you haven’t already, incorporate the pre-poos, the deep treatments, the finger detangling… in a few months, you’ll be surprised at what styles you can pull off!
Become your own personal photographer- Take a million pictures and keep notes on what you used and if it worked. Progress and growth will sneak up on you and nothing makes it more obvious than when you’re scrolling back through pics from months ago. You will be surprised at how far you’ve come!
Be mindful- Remember your reasons for going natural. Why did you decide to transition in the first place? Don’t lose track of your intentions. Nothing worth having is easy to achieve.
Nikki "CurlyNikki" Walton is a successful psychotherapist and creator of one of the most credible online sources about natural haircare, maintenance, and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. Visit her at her blog CurlyNikki or follow her on Twitter @CurlyNikki.