Well… Well.. Well..what can I say about this topic, It has just been a whirlwind of a journey, and to think I didn’t really set out on a natural hair journey but let me say that it got real with my hair (sips tea). Get comfortable as I’m about to briefly and will try as much as possible to concisely give my opinion on going or becoming natural.
Let me clarify by saying that going natural was not a conscious decision that I made for the sole purpose of a movement or trend. I was just at a really bad place with my hair (and it’s issues) and skin and finally had a enough. My hair was shedding tremendously whilst I was relaxed, it was breaking off –just generally unhealthy. I said enough was enough and decided to stop with relaxing and hence my natural hair “journey” began.
- So I began transitioning around September/October 2012 and eventually cut off the relaxed ends around late 2013 and this was the official time that I became acquainted with my natural hair. Yes, I say acquainted because as child I didn’t really care much about my hair nor was I taking it care of it by myself. I had very thick, full and long hair and it was always relaxed by my family or at the hair salon. Imagine a young child with a hair bigger than her body (literally) and with such small hands too I could not even comb my hair myself let alone tie it up. So going natural was frightening for me at some point because I imagined my hair was difficult to manage when it was relaxed so I figured when it is fully in its natural state that’ll be ten times thicker, fuller, and more work, well so I thought.
- Like I said going natural was not something I decided to do because it was a trend or movement and the first year of completely being natural in 2014, I really didn’t care much about it, all that concerned me with my hair was just getting it out of the way, so most times it was in a protective style (usually braided with extensions). I would wash my hair and condition with the same products as when I was relaxed. I would detangle the crap out of it with a wide tooth comb that would most times snag at my ends, and would also moisturise with the same products as I did relaxed.
- So around 2014 I decided to stop going to hairdressers (due to cost and most times not getting my hair styled the way I wanted) to get my hair braided or weaved. Then I discovered Youtube where I began to watch hair tutorials and learned how to braid and even sew in weaves by myself. From there I began to experiment with different styles and eventually perfected the craft (with loads of practice though). I still didn’t really take interest in caring (washing, co-washing, minimum heat, low manipulative styling, “natural hair products” etc) for my hair.
- My natural hair texture after I fully transitioned was quite coarse and tightly coiled and very SHORT. I didn’t like short hair on me, as I had long hair all along whilst relaxed, so I didn’t know how to cope with short hair. I didn’t like it because it doesn’t suit me (wished it did) so for the whole time I was transitioning, I would always blow dry it to stretch it out further. I really didn’t know about heat protecting products nor did I care for it. I also did not know how to safely detangle my hair without it hurting my scalp; I would always use a comb and start from root to tip rather than vice versa.
- I always dreaded combing my hair, so I decided to buy a big paddle bristle brush. It made detangling my hair so much easier and most importantly, it didn’t hurt. However I always continued to blow dry my hair after every wash. I could never leave my hair to air dry as it would stiffen up and with not knowing what products to use and still getting acquainted with my hair texture, I decided that blow drying would be the best way to go. So I continued blow drying on medium heat and sometimes on a high setting if I was in a rush or just tired.
- So whilst still getting acquainted with my natural hair (which was manageable when stretched with heat) I would always have it in a protective style (braid or weave most times) and hoped by doing so that my hair would grow longer in a short period of time.
- Wash days were always stressful (and still is) but I would only have to do it once a month since my hair was always in a protective style. Later on I started to research about products that I discovered through Youtube and some natural hair care forums. I tried so many products, conditioners most especially as they were the holy grail of naturals. Tubs and Tubs of conditioner, because who needs shampoo anyways, you could use any shampoo is the conditioners that are the most vital (so they say).
- After getting fed up and eventually giving up on hair products, I decided to stick with one product and went back to using products that I used when my hair was relaxed. I did keep a few of the products I discovered some of which I still use till present.
- I decided rather than wasting my money and energy on buying tons of products, I placed my energy and effort in perfecting my braiding skills and Youtube helped a lot with that. I can actually say I can braid my hair today due to videos and tutorials I watched on Youtube (some of which were videos by Breanna Rutter and another lady which I can’t remember her name).
- On approaching my second year of being natural, my hair texture began to change, it became looser in texture and some parts where coarse (especially around the sides of the front section of my hair) and was mostly frizzy (especially around the crown area). It was definitely a lot easier to manage, as my hair began to grow out a little my texture became loose and not as tightly coiled as it was in some sections. However I noticed that the rate my hair grew was extremely slow (still is), so I became worried as I thought my hair normally grew a lot faster than it did. Then I thought again it’s only the second year and more growth will come in no time (3 years going to 4 and still waiting)
- My hair wasn’t so short but it wasn’t long either, it was like it just stopped growing or grew at a snail like speed but even a snail would have crossed the finish line and I would have still been at the same spot with my hair, that was how slow it was growing.
- My hair texture continued to change and my family members noticed it too and to think I was the one with the kinkiest hair in the family growing up (detangling my hair as a child was a nightmare) and they had the wavy and loose texture (well not anymore, their texture changed too, surprisingly). Still my hair didn’t grow any longer whilst completing the second year of being natural.
- I thought right, I had to up the ante and be serious about my hair for once, so I tried co washing for 6 months (damaged my hair, left loads of build up, exacerbated my scalp Psoriasis.. you name it!) I tried all natural hair care, hair growth pills and potions, essential oil concoctions and so forth.
- Eventually got tired of doing all those and went back to basics.
- Third year (now) or fourth depending on how you like to count it, I decided to make some basic changes, I decided to cut out heat (mostly hair dryers) and only if needed, blow dry when braiding with extensions (I haven’t blow dried my hair in 6 months and I don’t miss it), and guess who is air drying their hair now? well you guessed it. I also began to include deep conditioners and do a hair mask treatment every 2-4 weeks depending on how my hair feels. Also I have started to do less “protective hair styles” and do low manipulation styles with just my hair, no extensions or weave (more on that in another post). Most importantly I have stopped with the essential oil concoctions (realised i’m not a chemist and not certified as one) and stick with one oil that my hair likes. In general just doing less with my hair.
Well there are loads to be covered concerning my natural hair journey and more posts on the way but for the meantime I hope you enjoyed this post and hope it was insightful. If you did, Please click the ‘LIKE’ button and to stay updated with every post, click the ‘FOLLOW’ button and Share.
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I would also love to hear from you all what going natural means to you and in brief words what your experience was like if you did go natural. By the way loving this natural hair posts more funny and interesting post coming, stay tuned.
Until next time, thanks for reading!