My Natural Hair Journey
As all great natural hair blogs do, I'll start with my personal natural hair journey. Growing up, I have faced my hair and its management with great apprehension. I remember my mom fighting to detangle (and me wincing in pain) and plait my hair to the point of exhaustion, and after a while just surrendering me to the braiders. In my teenage years, I didn't have a relaxer, but I didn't know how to how to style my hair except by having it pressed straight or braided. I never even washed my hair on my own until my freshman year of college. There was no real information on how to deal with black hair in its natural state, and so I found myself struggling with my hair between classes but the thought of taking a risk to try a new hair stylist caused me dread. So I relaxed my hair in the fall of 2009, after spending everyday of that summer flat ironing my hair, only to have it poof up in the DC humidity. I mean, what else was I supposed to do?
I've always had long and strong hair so I didn't think that the relaxer would cause that much damage. I continued to take of my hair on my own, having been unable to find a salon I felt that I could trust. Three relaxers later, I knew my hair wasn't the same and I needed professional help. I crossed town for a stylist that someone recommended to me. Growing up, I've heard stories of "scissor happy" stylists who break the long hair dreams of black girls across the land. So when I sat in the chair and the stylist told me that my hair was severely damaged and she needed to cut a lot off, I nearly fled. However, something told me to trust her. When she was all done, my hair was chin length and I cried. Never mind the fact that it looked fully rejuvenated and flowed in the wind. It was short, and I was depressed. She promised me it will grow back and that she'll take care of it while helping me to grow my relaxer out. And so I continued to see her once or twice a month for the next year until I had completely transitioned to natural.
After a few months, I had completely grown out my relaxer and I was "natural". But I still didn't know what to do with my hair. I could see that it curled up in the shower, but I didn't know how to maintain those curls once my hair dried. So I kept getting blowouts and my hair was long and fabulous again. I learned a lot more about natural hair care, moisture, proper de-tangling, etc. but still couldn't achieve a style I was happy with. It wasn't until I went abroad to Tanzania that I achieved my first twist out (I didn't even know what it was called then), out of sheer necessity, due to a lack of hair salons that would even braid my natural hair. I loved this look! And so began my journey towards loving my curls and embracing my natural texture. I experimented with everything from twist outs to bantu knots, to curl formers and flexirods until finally, I one day became comfortable enough to achieve and flaunt a wash and go. Although I quickly decided wash n gos weren't for me (de-tangling nightmare!) I'm happy that all my experiences with my hair, anxiety and all, finally led me to a place of comfort and pride in my hair.
Follow me as I navigate the corporate world as a curly girl!