A friend who is transitioning, yesterday asked me to do more hair posts. Here you go Wangui. 🙂
Quite frankly, I’ve been feeling really uninspired hair-wise, hence the scarcity in hair posts. I am currently in braids and my plan for the next 3 months is to wear my hair that way, for the primary reason that I have been losing length due to SSKs, manipulation and HIH syndrome).
I really do not know where I am going with this post. Maybe let’s do a journey post; Where I’ve come from to where I am now.
I first had the idea of going natural in September 2012. That’s when I had my last relaxer, after 4 years of being a creamy-crackhead.
See, I get bored easily, real easy! After high school (2011) I played with my hair a lot. I had highlights; played with copper, ginger and red.
I got over colour, so I started chopping my hair in 2012. I had a bob cut, which I loved but was such a pain to maintain, then I shaved one side of my head in September last year. Then decided to just do away with all the hair. The plan was initially to go natural so that I can get dreadlocks, but I am afraid of that kind of commitment, so that is on hold for now.
For me, chopping off all my hair was really not an issue. It’s just hair, it will grow. I think the fact that I had short hair for 2 years (2006-2007) also helped, because I wasn’t worried about how I’d look or how people would think I looked. That’s why I chose the BC route. Transitioning has worked for lots of women, but I personally felt like it would be too much unnecessary work to deal with 2 different hair textures.
I had 2 BCs. LOL. I guess that doesn’t make them ‘BIG’ chops, but ‘Little’ chops. I cut almost all my relaxed hair in November last year. I left a few inches on because my natural hair was still too short to braid. Then in December, I cut off everything to go fully natural.
So while my last relaxer was in September 2012, I consider my natural hair journey to have begun in December 2012 when I chopped off the last bits of relaxed hair.
The first 3 months, I spent in braids. Mainly because I didn’t know how to manage my hair and I kept stressing about length. I would braid, take out the braids after a month, deep condition, and braid again… After 3 months I started to wear my afro.
I would spend a couple of days in my afro, and then braid. I advise anyone who wears their hair open to deal with their HIH problem if they have one. I know I have that problem. I am constantly playing with my kinks and coils, and this manipulation really damages hair.
In August this year, I dyed my hair a mix of copper and red. If I could go back in time, I would not have coloured it.
You know that thing they talk about? That colour dries out hair? Well, it is not a myth. It is true! At least it was for me.
I would not advice anyone to colour their hair, neither would I colour my natural hair again. Not even with henna. I did not have the dryness problem when I had highlights on my relaxed hair, so I found the excessive dryness (still find it) a great irritation.
Over time, I have learnt a few things.
- One of them being the importance of moisture. I have dry hair and I therefore condition my hair very often. Everyday or every other day. I then seal with a natural oil, usually EVOO or EVCO. Generally, the rule is: ‘If you can eat it, then it’s good for your hair’. So (pure) carrot oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil are also great.
- The other thing I’ve learned is not to compare my hair to other people’s hair. I have friends who could tie their hair in a pony before I could, yet, they cut their hair after me. Length is great, but it’s not everything. I know that I have a very full head, and that’s part of the reason it’s so hard for me to tie my hair into a pony. I just have a lot of hair! So I choose to focus on treating my hair with care, and making sure it’s healthy, rather than stress and obsess over gaining length.
- Protein conditioners are also essential in reconstructing the hair shaft. I tried an egg deep condition once and I will NOT be doing that again! I would rather buy a product with a special protein formula.
- Also, heat is not your friend. There are tonnes of no-heat stretching/straightening methods and techniques online.
Personally, going natural was more of a change in styling choice rather than an ‘I AM FINDING MY NATURAL BEAUTY’ journey.
I was just bored of relaxed hair and decided to switch it up. I am pretty sure that I will relax my hair again, because I know I WILL get bored of natural hair with time. Which is why I hate it when naturalistas look down on weave/ wig wearers, or women with relaxed hair. To me all these are just styling options. I would never wear a weave myself, because I feel like a lot of women get them wrong so I have grown to hate them. But I think that all of these are styling options that we can choose from, and one should not be judged for their choice. Unless of course your reasons and choices are driven by low self worth, in which case, find yourself and love yourself.
I’m glad a lot of my friends think I have hair answers (LOL), but I really am still learning a lot myself. I still buy crappy products that don’t work. I still try to do twist outs that flop. But experience is the only sure thing that teaches us. So I welcome all my blunders and I am happy about my successes.
Is natural hair a fad? It may be. So what?
Is it a revolution? Who knows?
SSK- Single Strand Knot
BC- Big Chop
EVOO-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
EVCO-Extra Virgin Coconut Oil