I have officially entered the world of natural hair! Yay! For those that don’t know me or haven’t known me for a long time, let me start from the beginning. I had a natural head of hair until about 11 years of age. That’s when I entered junior high school.
I begged my mother to give me a perm (don’t laugh, you know you had one too!)
I don’t know what it was, but my hair took off and before I knew it my hair was halfway down my back.
Enter high school.
I then decided (along with the rest of 90’s society) that perms were out and relaxers were in. I once again begged my mother, this time for a relaxer. Now, being she had a sound mind on her shoulders (she’s a licensed cosmetologist) she warned me that was a bad idea. However, after some more begging, she finally gave in.
I loved my relaxer! My once long curly permed hair was long and straight…that is until my hair started breaking. I eventually had to cut it short (about to my neck) to try to get rid of the damage. Now, mind you at the same time I was also having a Crohn’s flare up, so the lack of eating right and stress didn’t help my hair matters any.
Fast forward to 2010. I was becoming more aware of the exposure to harmful chemicals in our everyday personal care products, including hair products. I slowly started switching them to more natural and organic ones. I then realized duh, I’m even switching out my hair products, but still relaxing my hair.
BUT, the decision to go natural still didn’t happen. I mean come on, my hair was finally back to halfway down my back and it was doing fine. Why mess with that again? Needless to say the decision to go natural wouldn’t happen until a couple of years later.
Enter January 2012 – the month I had my last relaxer. Since I wasn’t ready to big chop, I transitioned instead. I would have my hair trimmed bit by bit while wearing ponytails or in braids (under wigs and weaves). Most people didn’t even notice when I wore them! I did that until my natural hair was long enough to reach a decent ponytail, around March 2013.
Once ponytail length was achieved I chopped the rest of my relaxed hair off. Relaxed hair was still at the very, very tips, so again little by little I would cut the ends off as I saw them until they were all gone, which was probably around the end of the summer 2013.
Once all that relaxer was completely out my hair was able to breathe – it got thicker, it got longer, and it got curlier. Now, I wear my hair in even more styles – a bun, afro puff/kinky curly ponytail, or curly and out (pushed back off my face with a folded headscarf/headband).
I don’t regret my decision to go natural at all. Trust me, if you’re not ready to do it don’t force it. It can be either a frustrating journey or a liberating one and if you end up changing your mind halfway through the process it may very well become a frustrating one. So, to those that are still fine with relaxers that’s OK. No judgement here – I used to be you. Only you can make that decision for yourself – remember you’re the one that has to deal with your hair, not someone else.
As for me, I haven’t regularly sat down in a salon chair in a very long time. No more rushing out to buy a relaxer every 6-8 weeks! I feel I have more time on my hands – rather than spending it in a salon chair I have more of it to dedicate to other activities.
Special shout out to all the products I have tried over my transition up to now:
Aubrey Organics J.A.Y. Shampoo
Anita Grant’s Rhassoul Clay Deep Condish (no comb needed!)
Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash
Just Natural Skin Care’s African American Natural Hair Shampoo
Just Natural Skin Care’s Leave In Conditioner
Just Natural Skin Care’s African American Natural Hair Conditioner
Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner
Aloe vera juice (to detangle and/or rewet to prepare for a braid out style)
Out of Africa’s Shea Butter
Dr. Bronner’s Coconut Oil
Shea Moisture’s Curling Gel Souffle or Curl Enhancing Smoothie
Black henna from Mountain Rose Herbs – mixed with black coffee for more color