Hair today, gone tomorrow
If you had told me a year ago that I'd be going natural, I'd have laughed myself into a coma. Never in all of my young adult life did I expect to go natural. In fact, up until the day that I decided to go natural, I'd denied that I ever would.
At 28 years old I had been natural for 21 years. I didn't know anything other than my relaxed hair. I still remember the day that I got my first relaxer. I told my hairstylist that I wanted "flowy" hair like my mother's but it wasn't just that. Growing up in a town with a population that was predominantly American Indian, where almost all of the girls had long flowy hair, by first grade I had grown tired of my natural ponytails. Yes, you know what I mean. The two strand twists that our mothers and aunties adorned with so many barrettes and bows that you could hear us *clicking* and *clacking* from a mile away! Imagine trying to play hide and seek when your hair is literally marching to its own beat. I was sick of it! Even the little things, like not having to pull back my hair to use the water fountain like the other girls, really had me peeved. Not to mention all the time it took to get my hair done. It was a young girl's nightmare. The saddest part of it all was that I had grown to loathe my own hair. The hair that God gave me, as it grows naturally out of the follicles that he placed so strategically and carefully when he made me. I didn't find it beautiful, I found it to be a chore. Another reminder of what made me different from those around me.
So here I sat, at the salon, devising a plan to get the straight, flowy hair that I so desired. So my hairstylist informed my mother that there was a new "mild" relaxer formula that would be less harsh on my head and hair and my mother gave in. Why would she do that? After having a recent conversation with her, I understood why. My mother, in all of her glory, was and is still traumatized by her own natural hair experience as a child. All she really remembers as it pertains to her natural hair was how terrible it was to manage back in a time where very little was known about the proper care and products necessary to manage natural hair. In fact, she knows nothing about hair textures and curls patterns except to say that "if 4c is the kinkiest then mine had to be 4d." #IsThatARealCurlPattern So once she found a trusted hairstylist, she began her relaxed hair journey and never looked back.
And I didn't look back either, I loved it! Never once did I regret it. Not even when I overused and abused "Sun In" and my hair fell out (a different story for a different day.) Not even when I had to make sure I didn't scratch my scalp 24 hours prior to a relaxer to avoid chemical burns. Even when I had to go through the pains of protecting my relaxed hair from chlorine when swimming or having to give up swimming (which I loved) altogether sometimes to not mess up my newly relaxed hairstyles. No, I loved my relaxed hair and there was no reason for me to give it up.
So why did I?
For the past 5-6 years, my hair was flourishing. It was the longest and healthiest it had ever been and I reveled in it. However, I began to work out intensely 3-4 times a week and I realized that I personally couldn't keep up with my hair routine. My hair would literally be soaking wet after I left my workouts and because my hair was relaxed I could only get semi-permanent hair color so imagine the mess that could make. I couldn't maintain my relaxed hairstyles for more than 2-3 days. Around the same time, I began to get curious about my natural hair. It began to hit me that I was a couple years out from 30 with no idea how my own natural hair grew, looked or felt. This is my hair, as it grows out of my own hair and I know NOTHING about it. I didn't like that feeling. I had begun to envy how full and versatile natural hair was compared to my bone straight relaxed hair. In a day and age where African American women have found the beauty in their kinky, coily natural curls, I also wondered how I could want my future daughter to accept her beautiful, natural hair when her mother could not do the same. So the deal was sealed and 3 months after my last relaxer I decided to transition to a naturalista. 6 months after that I did the blog chop!
Why big chop?
I was impatient! I wanted to see my uninhibited curls and it was so hard having my thin scraggely relaxed hair and the end of my natural curls. I also grew tired of dealing with two different textures because it limited what hairstyles, if any that I could rock. Plus...it's JUST HAIR! It will grow back glorious and luxurious in its own new, natural way.
How do I feel about it?
I'm not in love with it...yet. I cut it myself with my own amatuer hairstyling skills so its uneven. I also haven't figured out how to manage it and as you probably also guessed, I have at least three different hair types on my ONE head. #WhatsThatAbout However, I've found that two strand twisting it helps to give it a manageble shape that I can feel comfortable going out in public with 😂.
A lot of learning and a lot of product reviews. No really! I have never been one to skimp on hair care products (#ThanksAgainMom), so I have many hair products and regimens to test out on this hair, that I barely understand yet, so I'll be sure to share as I learn what works for me. So far I have the following product lines:
-Mielle Organics Babassu shampoo and deep conditioner
-Mielle Organics Mongongo full product line
-Mielle Organics De-tangling Cowash
-Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey leave-in and curl smoothie
-Carol's daughters Coco Creme full product line
I'm very excited about this new natural journey and I'd love to hear from you ladies and gents about your natural hair process and any tips, tricks and products you love to use on your natural hair!