My Relaxed Days
If you were like me, you never even knew what your natural hair looked like your whole entire life because since you can remember every 4-6 weeks it was time for a perm and that’s what you got. Nothing laid down that new growth like a relaxer. Nothing snatched those edges for the hair “gawds” like a relaxer, nothing could assist in mimicking that envious European hair like a good ole relaxer. So that’s what we got. A habit forced upon us before we were properly educated on how to care for the one external variable that is directly connected to our self esteem. We weren’t taught about our natural hair.
February 2010 | The BIG CHOP
In 2010 I decided to chop all my hair off and “start over”.
It was the 2nd time in my life since my teenage years that I chopped all my hair off. The first time at around age 15 I was just acting grown and desired a more mature look lol. This time at age 26 (pictured above) I was finally tired of holding on to thin, damaged, limp, raggedy hair. It was not my intention to “return to natural”, it was to just rid myself of over 20 plus years of unhealthy hair. To be honest, I knew nothing about natural hair and wasn’t thinking about it either. That ignorance started me right back on the path of harmful hair care habits that led me right back where I started…with a new head of damaged hair. How? Well when I big chopped…I followed it up with another relaxer smh.
In May 2013 I begin my pilgrimage to LEARNING about what it took to grow and maintain healthy hair. That led me to the world of natural hair where I begin to bury myself deep inside research that included the scientific and cosmetic characteristics of black hair and it’s correlation to self esteem which is rarely spoken of but very accurate and intriguing to say the least. I began a 8-month long journey of simply re-learning and re-educating myself on MY hair. Black hair.
During my research phase, my “go-to” style of choice was my Brazilian sew-in’s.
Good weave is expensive honey. I would pay $400+ to get my hair done every 3 months and in my mind it was money well spent. My hair had grown to a pretty decent length too but during this time I was STILL damaging my hair by using wayyyy too much heat on my “leave-out”, (the middle-part section) and I saw no other way around it. I tried invisible parts and just didn’t think it looked as real as having my own hair left out on top. That poor decision came with a heavy price. A price that made my return to natural hair a bit challenging.
(2013 Transitioning from heat damage)
After my sew-in phase, I was finally ready to rock my natural hair.
I was well-educated enough on what I needed to do to grow it healthily and I was up for the challenge. You can even say I “transitioned” because of the damage to my “leave out” from my sew ins. 90% of my head was natural except for the severe heat damage to the front and the large crown area of my head that was visibly obvious when my hair was wet.
There was indeed a temporary remedy for that though, through my months of reading and research I learned how to blend the two textures together by using perm rods to manipulate my damaged hair to appear presentable until I was confident enough to chop it off.
I begin to chop back my tresses, little by little.
Natural Hair | March 2014
Because of the heat damage issue from wearing sew-ins, I’ve had to cut my hair at least 3 or 4 times during my natural hair journey just so that one area could grow out completely and catch up with the length of the rest of my head. The only way to rid myself of that heat damage was to cut it off. In the picture above I was proud of my hair, finally in-love with it and to be very honest at that point it still wasn’t very healthy but again this sista was on a mission and it proved to be rewarding.
April 2014 | Heat Damage FINALLY GONE
By April of 2014 I finally got rid of all my heat damage by gradually cutting it off as previously stated and that took a year. At this point, I begin to see the TRUE BEAUTY of my natural hair and
it has been an added bonus to my self-esteem ever since! I feel renewed and liberated. YES, hair will do that for you.
All the moments of frustration,
the mornings I wanted to just give up BUT I opted to hang in there
FINALLY paid off.
Fast forward to 2016, I’m finally where I want to be on my natural hair journey.
I’m enjoying a whole head of healthy hair.
I’m enjoying the fullness.
I’m enjoying the length.
I’m enjoying the versatility that is not limited by damage.
I’m enjoying the JOURNEY!
Was it easy..NO, but YES it was worth it.
There’s certainly a small learning curve but…
ANYTHING worth having is certainly worth working for!
Throughout this journey, my life has changed. I have had the pleasure of working, collaborating and being affiliated with so many hair product companies. I have been featured by so many hair brands worldwide.
I would love to hear some details of your journey! Your highlights, the good days and bad…Do share:)