“I am not my hair.”-India Arie
Today I’m sharing with you my hair journey. This is a three-part series starting with my transition and big chop story. I get asked so many questions about my hair so I thought why not blog about it. Dealing with hair whether natural or chemically processed can be a tough job at times. We often struggle to find the right products, stylists and with manageability in general. Let me start with a bit of history on my hair.
I’ve always had thick, curly, unmanageable hair that was either in a ponytail or a messy bun which at most times resembled a bird’s nest LOL. I always wanted straight hair and when I would ask my mom she would say NO! Back then I had no idea of the process that would make your hair appear straight, all I knew was that it looked so beautiful and I wanted mine to look that way.
I struggled to comb my hair and as a result I was always late for school. Even my mom couldn’t help me as she was lost when it came to my hair. She would still remind me up to this day of the times I cried while she tried to wash my hair and how she would sing “big girls don’t cry.”. Man I cried for everything LOL.
Summer of 2001 I visited my aunt in Antigua and one day she called my mom and ask her if she can take me to the hairdresser’s to get my hair relaxed. Mom adamantly said No, end of discussion. My aunt knew my struggles and she herself could not have handled my hair so off to the salon we went. I was so excited and scared at the same time because of all the horror stories I heard about getting your scalp “bun up”and your hair being damaged after relaxing. I felt a tingle once the product was applied and that was it. I looked in the mirror after it was all washed and styled and thought to myself, yes I finally have hair like Ashanti LOL. My mom was upset of course but the damage was already done.
I started high school that same year and I actually thought my hair was going to remain straight even after washing. No one told me I would be returning to my curly hair in a matter of weeks. I was so disappointed more so because I couldn’t afford a visit to the salon every six weeks. Mom still being upset and everyone else said “I can’t believe you spoil your hair.”. Every year after I got it relaxed once. I struggled and struggled. I knew nothing about treatments and flat ironing.
The Transition Process.
In 2011 I still had no clue of how to properly take care of my hair. It wasn’t being relaxed as often as I should and as a result it was always dry and damaged. I was using the wrong products,flat ironing regularly and the ends were unkept and brittle. I started doing simple deep treatments using stuff from my kitchen such as eggs, olive oil, mayo etc and started trimming the ends myself (awful cuts) LOL. My diet was poor, I was depressed, and wasn’t exercising at all. All factors that contribute to unhealthy hair and skin.
I gave up relaxers in 2012 and decided to let my hair breathe. Wasn’t sure how this was going to work our but I was willing to give it a try. I applied no heat tools to my hair, started using hot oil treatments and was taking better care of my hair. The huge difference I saw was unbelievable. My hair was so much fuller and thicker. For the entire year I tried to eat more healthier, drink more water (I struggle) and just take care of myself.
New Year Same Me?
Onto 2013, New Year. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I knew great things was about to happen and I was fueled with faith. February came and I was feeling so stressed like the world is on my shoulder. Filled with so much emotions, guess what I did? Leave a comment bellow if you guessed before continued reading.
I went back on the hair crack LOL. Yes I relaxed my hair. I had no idea what I was thinking. This natural hair thing just wasn’t working out for me. Once again my mom was upset because she watched me put so much time and effort into taking care of my hair only to go back and ruin it.
Did I regret it? Honestly, no I didn’t. After 5 weeks and it was time to wash I just continued to do my deep conditioning treatments and regular perm rod sets. I knew I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again and again. I just wanted manageable hair.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again.
It was now summer 2013 and although things wasn’t going how I expected I was still hopeful. My hair on the other hand was in a rough place. All these years I never got a proper hair cut. I was there playing stylist and cutting my own hair. I had so many split ends and boy was my hair dry.
December quickly came and I was super elated. I was finally moving out on my own and started a new job at a salon. What are the odds right? LOL. Perks of working at the salon were amazing. Got my hair treated, cut and styled. My hair was smiling with glory.
Ah 2014. The year I decided to be free and be me. That was when I made a conscious decision to take better care of my health and myself. The process was tiring and difficult but well worth it.
I still had no idea what I wanted to do my hair. I knew for sure I wasn’t going to cut it and so continued with treatments and regular cuts. My hair was basically half curly half straight until that one random day in June of 2013 a client said to me “the ends of your hair looks like squiggly worms!” LOL. Then everyone insisted that I do the big chop and so I did.
I remember panicking after because I looked so different. I washed it over the weekend applied some product and never looked back since. I absolutely loved my hair despite being so short. I couldn’t wait for the day that could style it in a ponytail. I struggled with finding the right products but thank God for Youtube and people who were already #teamnatural. If you’re transitioning or contemplating the big chop by best advice would be to consult with a stylist and do your research. Let Youtube and Pinterest be your best friends. There you will find many tips and methods that may work for your hair type. It can be a difficult process but the key is to be consistent and have an open mind when trying different products. What may work for others may not necessarily work for you.
Stay connected with me for part 2 “Then to Now” on my hair journey series. I do hope that this was informative, and inspiring and that you will take that bold step to start taking care of your hair. Leave your comments about your journey and if you have any questions ask away. #teamnatural #curlygirl