As the journey of life continues. I am with great gratitude to share with the world my natural hair journey!
I was only seven years old when I had my first perm. I experienced chemical burns in my scalp, which form into a fungus. The doctor had to shave the affected areas in order for the medicated ointment to be effective. Can you imagine going to school with a hat on your head for two weeks? I was hiding the patches that were covered with the white ointment. My classmates would pull the hat off my head and laugh. They found comfort in making fun of me.
As the years passed by, I continued to perm my hair. Straightening my hair with a relaxer was what I knew and felt comfortable with. I went along perming my hair ignoring the heavyweight of knowing something was wrong.
Still, I had a strong thought perming my hair had a negative effect on my psychological state of mind. I would sit under a tree thinking and visualizing myself with natural hair. My visions became clearer, and that was the moment I realized I could not endure this anymore!
The chemical straightening of my hair was not serving me any good but disbelief and suffering.
I needed out once and for all!
When I was twenty-three. I had enough of straightening my hair. I had enough of looking at someone’s conception of beauty, projecting its negativity on me!
Perming my hair did not resonate with me; I was on the road to freedom! I found the strength, the understanding within me to move on. I immediately wanted to share it with my family and friends.
Awareness has grown into an endless abundance of consciousness and inner harmony.
That notion of liberation has appeared like a thief in the night. My natural hair journey has begun!
My natural hair journey has mended me of years of pain and sorrow.
That feeling of peace is a distinct affirmation of new beginnings to come.
A lot of us, black women have experienced endless conditioning to despise our natural hair. Having straight hair is the norm in this society but not for me anymore!
This is the obstacle we share, of thinking we have to endure these standards of beauty. But we have to defeat this cycle of blame. It is no longer the case. I am not telling you to ignore the reality we share; I am saying do not make it become ours. We must seek knowledge and walk in our peace and harmony.
The day you see the problem is the day you find a solution!
Wearing your hair in its natural state does not end there. But it is for you (even with a little knowledge) to guide and encourage other black women to embrace their natural hair. Bringing awareness to others will bring more knowledge to you. It is time to take the wheel and move forward and educate others.
Share your awareness and set an example even for the next generation to come.
It is just like a mirror of genuine reflections uninterrupted!
Transitioning from Relaxed to Natural Hair
I was determined to do the big chop, but I procreate for a long time before I took the plunge. One day out of the blue, I went for the big chop. There was no holding back; I didn’t hesitate.
I had my first big chop! Just like that.
My First Big Chop
What is a big chop? A big chop is an act of cutting off most or all the relaxed hair.
My new hair was captivating! It was healthy, strong, and manageable. I enjoyed every moment of my hair in its short phases. The feeling of easiness. My hair was easy to detangle, style, and use fewer products. My hair began to grow and strive.
And it started. I could not see the true length of my hair. My hair shrinkage (the decrease in length when the hair dries) was a major setback in my natural hair journey. Although shrinkage is normal and a sign of healthy hair.
Curiosity had the best of me. I applied a texturizer (a mild form of relaxer) in my hair for a brief amount of time. In hopes to loosen my curls to some extent and not straightening it, making it easier for me to comb and style. My hair was getting longer and detangling was becoming difficult.
My hair looked and felt natural. My curly kinks were even in sight. It delighted me!
But, after many applications including hair dyes, my curls were processed and lifeless. I began to experience breakage. My curl pattern was no longer tight.
I was in disbelief. I was disappointed with myself. What have I done? I began to question myself all over again. The confusion and anxiety started creeping back. I was back at the beginning line. So many questions, but untold answers.
There was not a lot of information back in the days on the Internet on black hair care as it is now. I listened to my friends, including my hairdresser, assuming a texturizer differs from a regular hair relaxer.
Let me tell you something…
As much as they might tell you otherwise, keep in mind a relaxer is a chemical, mild or not! A mild relaxer can alter the texture of your natural hair and have the potential to cause damage to the hair, scalp, and health. Do not make the same mistake I made.
I didn’t want to start over. But I craved that strong sensation of freedom when I had my first big chop. I felt alive. I had no choice. I had my second big chop.
Second Big Chop
Lack of knowledge led me here. I realized that I did not focus on educating myself about the structure of my afro-textured hair and how to care for it. I was more focused on my curls and what I wanted my hair to do. I was eager to learn how to care for my natural hair.
I told myself. I am getting down to the roots of everything!
I read many amazing helpful books, joined the natural hair community, and watched endless natural hair YouTube videos.
I was not alone. There was hope!
Things came together but still so many unanswered questions. But I processed to push forward. I was back on track and in the right direction. My hair was healthy, and it kept on growing longer.
Here I go again. The curiosity resurfaced again.
A friend of mines suggested I should straighten my hair with a flat-iron to see the true length. I was curious, but I did not forget what transpired with my first big chop. I told myself I would not make this mistake again. I was sure of that.
I did my research. To my knowledge, many naturals straightened their hair with a flat-iron and their curls reverted. I thought to myself once I use a heat protectant to protect my hair from the heat, I will be just fine. So, I went to the hairdresser and straightened my hair. My hair was healthy and long past my shoulders. I admired my hair and its visibility!
I did not use any form of a chemical on my hair; there was nothing to worry about. I kept it for a week. It was time to wash my hair. As confident as I am. I was anxious. As I began to wash my hair, I felt a strong sense of nervousness and anxiety arising. I noticed it loosened my curls. And for a split-second I liked the idea but after I left the shower and assessed my curls. I could not believe my eyes.
My curls did not revert to its natural state. My curls were no longer curly; the tightness in my curls was gone.
It disconcerted me. I damaged my hair once again. I was doleful beyond words. I wore my hair in braids trying to hide the pain and the confusion I created for myself. This felt so familiar.
Everyone’s hair is different and reacts differently to heat, products, and techniques. Keep in mind what works for someone’s hair might not work for your hair. I learned this out the hard way!
But I kept going on with persistence!
Third Big Chop
I knew it was more than educating myself on how to care for my natural hair. It was time to concentrate on my well-being, not the physical but more psychological. I needed self-healing, and it was time to face it!
This is when deep healing arose. I came to terms with everything from within me. The misconceptions and standards of beauty.
This stupidity was history in my book — A distant memory.
When you are conscious, everything falls into place. The full enjoyment awaits you. Nothing comes easy. A journey is a process, whether or not it is a natural hair journey!
My natural hair journey has manifested into endless blessings. Your natural hair journey should not have an end or any expectations. It is important to be yourself and stand by your beliefs! I’ve experienced it all, the challenges and mistakes I made along the way.
Today, I want to share my knowledge, challenges, and guidance to you.
Here are the Things I’ve Learned Along the Way of this Beautiful Natural Hair Journey.
Educate Yourself On Afro-Textured Hair
Do your research. Educating yourself on afro-textured hair is highly important and should not be neglected. It is the foundation and guidance of your natural hair journey.
Understand the structure of your afro-textured hair is very important. Afro-textured hair is a term used to refer to the natural texture of black hair that has not been altered by chemicals (relaxer, perming or flat irons).
Natural hair is not a one size fit all. There is a difference in curls patterns, hair type and texture. It is important to understand your hair’s texture and how it reacts to different products and methods. Remember, there are no rules while you are on your natural hair journey.
There is endless information about natural hair-care today. Keep a hair journal of the good and the bad. A journal is an excellent tool to use for self-reflecting while you walk along your path.
Build a Realistic Hair Regimen
A hair regimen is a fundamental component of your natural hair care. It is an important step to support/promote healthy hair. Set a solid routine (consistency is the key) that you built yourself. Assess your hair how often you should cleanse, condition, trim, protein treatment, protective styles, etc. Do not stick to a method that doesn’t work for your hair.
Keep Your Hair Moisturized
Keeping your hair moisturized is vital for the health of your hair and scalp. It encourages healthy hair and prevents dryness and breakage. Water is the #1 moisturizer! Use as much as you like! Afro-textured hair naturally lacks moisture because of its tightly coiled texture, making it difficult for the oil from the scalp to travel down the hair’s stands.
Moisturize your hair regularly (conditioner, deep conditioning mask, and a leave-in conditioner) to maintain healthy hair and scalp. You must have a good quality leave-in conditioner. A natural girl MUST have!
Practice Using Healthy Hair Products
Familiarize yourself with your hair product’s ingredients. Avoid products that contain sulfates, mineral oils, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, silicones, etc. Do not be shy to try different products. But don’t go over-broad. I recommend buying products when on sale (get two of your favourite products) and keep aside for wet days.
Do not fixate on finding the perfect products or stick with one that isn’t working for you. Remember, what works for someone else’s hair might not work for your hair even if your hair texture or curls are similar.
Patience is the key! It is necessary when on your natural hair journey. Take your time to transition whether you big chop or long-term transitioning. Disciplines yourself. Impatience creates confusion and loss of your focus. Lack of patience can create unnecessary setbacks. Pay close attention to caring for your hair and most of all your well-being.
And do not be hard on yourself!
Embracing my natural hair has been the most empowering thing I’ve done! My natural hair journey has manifested into endless blessings and gratification. To embrace your natural hair, you must educate yourself and practise self-healing. Be tender to yourself, treat yourself as if you’re treating your hair, your crown! Your natural hair journey is special to you and should not be written in stones. Help other women to love and embrace their natural hair even none black women. You will see the major improvements and fulfillment it brings on your life’s journey.
The greatest message I have for you today is to love and embrace your hair and wear it with pride! Accept yourself and your hair regardless of the texture, curl type, length, afro, curly, shrinkage or not. I hope my experiences in my natural hair journey can be of some help to you and your natural hair journey. The beginning of your natural hair journey will never end. The golden rule is to continue to seek knowledge and understanding.
Share your natural hair journey experiences with us. We would love to hear them. If you ever need a hand or have questions, email me or leave them below. I will be more than glad to help.