It seems like a simple enough question, but your answers may surprise you. While some women chop off inches of relaxed hair and never look back, others debate for a long time before taking the plunge. Ask yourself these five questions to see if you're really ready to go natural, or if you need some more time to decide what's right for you.
Can I Do the Big Chop?
No, you don't have to cut off all of your hair and walk around with a TWA if you don't want to, but since this is the quickest way to "get on with it," a lot of ladies choose this path to instant hair freedom. Or, what they imagine hair freedom to be. Some women just aren't comfortable with such short locks, either because they love long hair, feel they look better with lengthier tresses or face opposition from important people in their lives. If you answered "Yes" to this question with no hesitation, you may be ready to take that step to natural hair right now, but if you're hesitant, no problem -- the big chop isn't for everyone.
Can I Accept My Texture?
This can be one of the trickiest areas: acceptance. Some people fantasize about a certain hair texture in their heads, and when their natural hair asserts itself and it's nothing like the fantasy hair, this can be crushing if you're not prepared. You may remember your eight year-old self's hair and think that once the relaxer is gone, you'll return to that thick, luscious, curly mane. However, when tightly coiled tresses sprout up, looking and feeling very different from what you remember, will you be okay with that? Some women will spend their entire natural journeys trying to beat their natural texture into submission, either with tons of products in search of that elusive "curl definition" or by pressing every week. If you're truly not ready to accept whatever texture you come by naturally, you may not be ready to go natural just yet.
Am I Ready to Spend More Time on My Hair?
Sure, a TWA is the ultimate in low-maintenance 'dos, but as your hair grows, it will require more upkeep and care. You'll need to condition and moisturize your tresses routinely, and with products that they love. Detangling natural hair isn't as quick and easy as detangling straightened hair; neither is shampooing. If you're the type who wants to jump from bed to shower to out-the-door in mere minutes, long natural hair may not be for you (though a short 'fro would work out perfectly well).
While some of the products you used on your relaxed hair will work perfectly well on natural hair, you may find yourself starting from scratch for others. After all, if you wear your locks curly all the time, you don't need that setting lotion anymore. Some women aren't ready to research, shop around and experiment with new products. Poor product choice is one reason some ladies give up on natural hair altogether -- they blame the product, when in fact there's nothing wrong with it; it's simply not the best selection for the style they want to achieve.
Can I Deal With Negativity?
Despite the fact that more women than ever are embracing their natural texture, some people hold onto outdated stereotypes and myths about black hair. If you're very confident, you can deal with that, but others may be bothered by constant negativity expressed by friends and family. Even if your first day with natural locks isn't the best, you need to know if you're the type who can handle the pressure from naysayers, and eventually become more sure of yourself and your style. If you're the type to let negative comments get to you (which isn't surprising when they come from people we love), decide how you can handle them before making your move to natural hair.
So, Are You Really Ready to Go Natural?
If you mostly answered "yes" to these questions, it sounds like you're ready to take the plunge, whether you cut all your straightened tresses off right away or prepare yourself for a period of transition. Even if you're on the fence on most of these questions, you can do more research, talk to natural friends and family, and get more style ideas, whether you decide to go natural next week or two years from now.