I have been natural for 3 years and it has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Wearing your hair naturally as an African American woman is a big deal! We are raised in communities and in a society where the ideal standard of beauty is fair skin with long straight hair. And most of us are always trying to attain that goal and damaging our hair in the process. I decided to 'go natural' because I felt that part of me was missing. The new growth on my head was undiscovered territory and I needed to see what it was all about.
Before 'going natural' I cannot remember a time when I did not wear my hair straightened. I had never dealt with my hair in its natural state before. Around the age of 3 or 4, my mother relaxed my mid-back length hair. Overtime it began to become damaged and break. The time between then and my next relaxer at 13, I wore my hair pressed. Many of my hair memories are of me sitting by a stove between my mama and grandmothers legs, having to hold down my grease-slicked ears as they got within millimeters of my scalp with blazing hot combs. In middle school, I decided it was time for a relaxer again because sweating your hair out during softball, was for the birds. I wore my hair relaxed for the next 13 years and it never grew past my nape.
During the summer of 2010, I decided to stop relaxing my hair. Faux buns, faux ponytails, half-wigs and crochet braids were my transition styles for the next six months. I was amazed that my hair actually grew. I had never actually seen my natural hair texture. I was intrigued by the sight of it and longed to chop off my relaxed ends. After a series of talks with my husband, I did the BIG CHOP at the end of January 2011.
I felt so liberated and 100% me. I loved it. I had had super short hair before, but it was relaxed. This was completely foreign to me. I had no idea what to do with it. I spent an abundant amount of time on YouTube. I quickly realized that my natural hair did not look nor act like many of the YouTubers and bloggers I came across. I spent hours in beauty supply stores and beauty aisles and went through tons of products. After a few months of growth, I learned that natural hair is a process. Before big chopping, I didn't know that natural hair comes in different textures. I just thought you had two options: relaxed or natural. I didn't understand there were degrees of curliness with charts and types. I have very small coily hair, which is considered 4B-4C hair according to Naturally Curly.com's Texture Typing℠ system inspired by Andre Walker. And according to Mizani Natural Curl Key, I have Type VII.
Finding what you hair likes and what works for you is done through trial and error. Just because it works for your sister and/or your friend, does not mean it will work for you. During this process, I found out what works for me and intern helped me prepare for my daughter's hair. She is biracial and her hair is its own world of curls! Natural hair is so versatile. Check out my various styles posted on my Two Year Anniversary. I have learned to do so much with my hair now natural than I ever did with my hair relaxed.
My favorite products:
- Any Treseumme Conditioner(cowashing)
- Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser conditioner (cowashing)
- Castor Oil
- Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream
- Eco Styler Moroccan Argan Oil Styling Gel(wash-n-go)
- Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle Deep Conditioner(deep conditioner)
- Mayo+Honey+egg (deep conditioner)
What is your hairstory? Are you natural or relaxed? Why?