Sunday, I embarked on what I thought would be a typical day of pampering for my hair. I completed a pre-shampoo regimen by putting a deep conditioner on my hair for two hours.

But I soon learned that was a BIG mistake.

I rinsed the conditioner out, shampooed, and conditioned again…only to be left with an ungodly white reside in my hair that I had to spend an hour trying to get out.

You can say I definitely learned my lesson.

And that whole ordeal made me think about all of the lessons I’ve learned over the last six months of my natural hair journey.

Some of the lessons I didn’t have to learn from experience, thanks to hair care forums, bloggers, and vloggers on YouTube who document their hair experiences with the hope of helping others in the process. My husband will tell anyone that I’ve spent countless hours reading articles, and watching reviews on hair products and hairstyling techniques.

Learning all of these things have helped me get things started on the right foot.

– Water is my best friend.
When I had a relaxer, I hated to get my hair wet because I didn’t want my hair to thicken and any unrelaxed edges to resort back to their naturally curly texture. Now, I wet my hair everyday in order to wash it or style it because my hair actually likes the moisture.

– Sulfate shampoos are a no-no.
My hair texture is naturally dry and needs lots of moisture. Shampoos with sulfates have a drying effect, as opposed to the moisturizing effect I need.

– It’s okay to use a conditioner to wash your hair.
A conditioner can be great when it comes to cleansing light product build-up at the end of the day or after a workout. It also helps strengthen your hair and promoted growth.

– I should only comb my hair when it’s wet and/or conditioned.
Thick, curly hair can be prone tangles. Dry hair can be brittle. So water and conditioner soften the hair and moisturize it, making it less prone to breakage.

Despite having some firm footing when it comes to handling my natural hair, I have slipped a time or two. And these are things I’ll never do again.

– Believe what works for someone else will work for me “because they’re natural”
There are so many textures of naturally curly hair. In fact, I have three of them in my head alone. For that reason, the way I style my hair or the products I need to use may work for someone else.

– Become a product junkie
After watching product review after product review, it’s not hard to feel like you have to try everything that a YouTuber holds up in front of her camera. I admit my husband cringes every time I say I’m going to the drugstore or the beauty supply store. And he has good reason. In the past, I’d use a product once, realize I didn’t like it and leave it sitting in my cabinet. Sometimes I’d make a snap decision and pay for something, only to return it a day later. And you know you have a problem when you find hair products in your car that you didn’t even realize you bought.

– Get caught up in hair envy
These days, I see a lot of women with natural hair. And many of them have these large curly coifs that could block the view of a person behind them…or these loose, bouncy curls that don’t take much time to style. Honestly, it can make a woman with short, tightly coiled hair like mine envious. There’s nothing wrong with admiring another woman’s hair, but you can’t become obsessed. That prevents you from enjoying your own journey.

Overall, I’ve learned a lot in the first six months of my natural hair journey. And they’re things I will take with me for the rest of my life.

So here’s to the future. And the countdown is on to the one year mark.

Wonder what other lessons I’ll learn by then?

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