My Story: Why I Went Natural

Going natural never even crossed my mind. All the women I knew had relaxers or wore their hair straight, so when I say it never entered my mind to wear my hair in its natural state, I sincerely meant it.

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The days when a relaxer ruled my hair.

Until my sister opened my oblivious eyes to this world of natural hair, I had no idea that there were hundreds of thousands of Black women throwing out the perm and wearing their natural hair! She told me to look on YouTube and once I seen all these African American women with long, curly, kinky hair; like the hair I never allowed to grow from my scalp for more than three months or so before I would get a perm slapped on it. Hair similar to that, was freely growing out of these ladies’ scalps and being showcased to the world, and to me, for the first time. Some were just getting started with a small afro, while others were years into the natural hair journey. There were women with hair reaching passed shoulder length, passed bra strap length and beyond waist length! I could not believe my eyes or my mind!  It was unusual for me to see Black women with hair that long and it be real! Not only real but afro textured; natural! I was excited and anxious, but also upset!

You mean to tell me that the reason my hair never reached passed my shoulders was because of a RELAXER? You mean I was in the endless cycle of “perming, roots growing out, trimming ends?” No wonder my hair was same length all those years! I never gave it a chance! Every time it grew, I damaged it with a perm and then cut the damaged ends. How silly of me to believe that one day my hair would grow down my back if I continued this cycle. But I did, faithfully, for years and years because nobody told me otherwise.

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I had most of my relaxed ends cut off, but not all.

“You should go natural.” That’s what my sister said to me. I thought about it, considered it and once I decided to do it, it changed everything. It didn’t take much convincing for me. I had already gone about 6 months without a perm, which was longer than usual (only because I found a really good flat iron), so I decided then that I would do it. I was not getting another relaxer put into my hair.

During the transition period, I got a semi chop, cutting a lot of my relaxed hair off, but not all.  My plan was to go a year without perming before I cut the straight, relaxed ends off. I didn’t quite make it that long. After several months, I was still using heat and I had just flat ironed my hair for what would be the last time while having relaxed ends, and…

A key chain I made describing me.

It rained! My hair was a mess! Puffy roots and straight ends, I can’t even think of a character to compared myself with. I knew one thing; I was done!  I went home and asked my mom to cut the rest of my relaxed hair off.  She looked at me, eyes big, and I am sure she understood why just by looking at my countenance. So later that day, we got to work and that was June, 2010. I had my last perm December, 2009. It is now August 2013 and I am proud to say that I have been natural ever since and don’t plan to ever return to the bondage of a perm. No longer am I afraid when it rains, no more of the “perm, grow, trim” cycle, no more do I feel like I need a perm for my hair to be beautiful, or for ME to be beautiful or presentable. I find beauty in my natural hair. It’s funny because I always prided myself in being 100% real, so much that I made a keychain in high school to describe me as being such. I wore my real nails, no make up, real lashes, and real hair, but even though it was my real hair, it wasn’t 100% real because it was chemically processed to be straight. But I struggled through the transition period, passed the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage and now have some length to work with. So now when I wear my key chain, I truly am 100% real and it feels great! I’m confident and free. I am NATURAL!

I am NATURAL!

Written by TheLaydi1

www.youtube.com/TheLaydi1

www.facebook.com/naturalkinksnaturalcurlsnaturalyou

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Natural Hair Encouragement

 

Background

I did my big chop on February 10, 2010 after transitioning for almost 7 months.  I was unaware of how many other woman had decided to go natural and had already started their journey until I came across a video on Youtube while looking for hairstyles.  I saw this woman with long natural hair down her back and she was showing her natural journey, it was amazing!  I watched her cut her relaxed hair off up to about and inch or two of new growth then she showed the progression up to her being natural for one year.  Her hair had grown past her shoulders right before my eyes.  I had already started transitioning when I saw this video, but I had no idea I was about to learn so many new things about my natural hair.  Over the next few months I watched many youtube videos about natural hair and did lots of research on what I should and shouldn’t use.  I found out after doing my big chop that you just have to find out what works for you.  I tried a few products I had heard good reviews about, some of them worked well and others i was not impressed with.  I had originally planned on transitioning for a year, but after seeing so many ladies going for it and chopping off that relaxed hair on camera, it boosted my confidence.  At six months of transitioning my new growth was really showing and it was difficult to continue blending the 2 textures together.  My husband was such a great supporter, he was the one who said, “what are you waiting for, why don’t you just cut it now?”  Knowing that he would still love me and support me even with just a few inches of hair on my head, really gave me that extra boost I needed.

The Big Chop

I prepared myself for the big chop, since I went to school for cosmetology, I was able to cut my own hair evenly.  I made sure I had my deep conditioner, leave in conditioner, my shower cap and even some headbands and flowers to accessorize with.  I’ve worn my hair short before, but never as short as I chopped it this time.  I didn’t cry though, once I felt my new hair and how soft it was, I was so happy.  I felt so proud of myself, my heritage, my ‘roots’.  It really was liberating.  When I decided to go natural it wasn’t because I was thinking of going back to my ancestors roots or being afrocentric or militant or anything like that.  I had let my hair grow out a few times before and loved the styles I was able to create, but I just never knew how to manage my natural tresses (they don’t teach you much about ethnic hair in beauty school) and I always ended up going back to a relaxer or texturizer because I didn’t know how to deal with the two textures on my head.  This time I learned some basic tips for managing my natural hair so I was confident when I did the big chop.

Anticipation

My hair seemed like it was growing so slow at first, I kept thinking “I’m never gonna be able to wear a ponytail again!”.  My husband would reassure me that it was growing to make me feel better, but I still had a feeling of “what am I gonna do?”.  Sometimes when i wanted to just run out of the house, I would feel the need to hide my hair under a wig or a hat.  Soon I did start to notice growth (thanks to taking pictures every month) and I started trying out different styles.  I learned about protective styles and how important they are to retaining length.  I started seeing my texture better as it grew and was happy to find products that defined my curls and allowed me to wear it in its natural state.  My comments went from “what are you gonna do to it now?” to “ooh how did you get your hair like that?” Next thing I know I was able to get a puff! That became one of my signature styles in the summer.  You can wear a puff up high or down low, off to the side or with bangs, put headbands or barettes to decorate it.  I love my puffs lol.  When I’m not going anywhere and my husband isn’t home, I keep my satin bonnet on most of the day and try to keep it in twists or braids.

Discovery

Now at 9 months post big chop I am able to pull my hair into a ponytail (with some help from gel and bobby pins) and I am so excited.  It really just takes patience and knowing how to care for you hair and I believe anyone can see great results.  Once you get past the first stage, if you aren’t used to seeing yourself with short hair, you will be fine.  You can focus on other things like accessories and clothes.  There are actually books about what colors look best on each skin tone and how to bring out your eyes etc.  I would have never stumbled across some of these things if I weren’t on this natural journey. It has made me learn a lot more about myself and things I like.  Trying new things is good and I’ve even started eating healthier.  Having beautiful hair and skin starts from the inside.  It truly is a journey, you have to make pit stops, go through construction, take detours and see some beautiful sites as well.  For me, the natural journey is not just about hair, it’s about my life as whole, it has opened up a new outlook for me; how I look at other people,  I am guilty of looking at someones natural hair in the past and thinking “its time for a perm” or “she got some naps in the kitchen”. I feel shamed that I used to think that way, but part of this journey led me to do research on words used to describe our hair such as, “nappy”, words used to degrade us and make us feel that “our” hair is not pretty or acceptable.  I also looked up information about black woman in the past and present and why so many of us feel that we need to have straight hair to be excepted. There are reasons why we feel that way.  I still like straight hair and I’m not saying everyone with a relaxer only gets it to “fit in”, but a lot of woman don’t even know what their natural hair texture is.  I was one of them!

Coming to Terms with Myself

I stopped and asked myself why was i getting relaxers every 3 months, and the answer was, so my “roots” don’t show.  Even after going to school for cosmetology and learning what relaxers and texturizers and colors were made of and what they actually do to our hair, I still continued to get them. WHY?  I finally figured out that I was afraid to let my hair grow out because of what other people would think and how it would make me feel.  To me that was a poor excuse, especially after seeing my hair damaged by a girl down here who said she knew what she was doing (had a license) when she put the last texturizer in my hair and applied it wrong, leaving my hair limp and lifeless.   I decided enough was enough, I haven’t seen my natural hair since I was 6 years old.

A Beautiful Journey

Going through the phases to get where you want to be is well worth it.  If you are considering going natural, do a little research, ask some questions and go for it!  You can ask me anything you want.  If you have no desire to let your natural hair grow out, still do some research and find out how to take good care of your hair.  A lot of things I was doing to my relaxed hair were wrong and I never would have known.  Remember, having natural hair doesn’t mean you have to wear it in its natural state all the time and you don’t have to do the big chop if you don’t want to.  I’m so glad i made the decision to go natural. I don’t remember the last time my hair was as healthy as it is now.  I wish I would have done this a long time ago!

I know this was long but I hope someone has been encouraged and educated. If you would like to share your story of going natural or if you are still transitioning, please send it to me at iprefer2benatural@yahoo.com

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This is my personal natural hair story in hopes of encouraging others, these are my opinions and experiences and not meant to offend anyone. All are welcome on this site regardless of what your hair condition is, chemically processed or natural.  This blog has many other things to offer that aren’t focused solely on natural hair.

Time for Protective styles!

♥Protective Styling♥

Winter is almost here and the cold weather means dryness for our hair and skin.  We do have options to protect our fragile hair from the elements though.  Most of you may have heard of a “protective style” before, but for those of you who haven’t I will tell you what a protective style means to me.  It’s a style that completely protects the ends of your hair which are the oldest part therefore the easiest to damage.  It also means that you are not manipulating your hair very often, giving it a chance to rest and grow.  The more we manipulate our hair, the more room we allow for breakage.  Things as simple as brushing and combing our hair can cause breakage.  Last but not least there is no heat involved in a protective style as far as I’m concerned.  Heat damages and so to protect my hair I do not apply heat to achieve my protective style nor do I use heat while my protective style is in. The less damage that you cause to the ends of your hair, the less you have to trim it therefore you will start to see your hair grow longer and longer.  If you really want to see growth, in my opinion, protective styling is a great way to go!

Protective styles can look many different ways and can even be camouflaged with a wig or a weave.  A bun is probably one of the easiest protective styles i can think of, but with short hair it’s not always achievable.  I prefer cornrows, you can also do flat twists and 2 strand twists, what ever is easiest for you to achieve, just know that when it is cold out, your hair is not going to keep the moisture the same as it does in warmer weather so protective styling is ideal.

It’s very important to keep our hair moisturized on a regular basis, this is every 2 to 3 days for me, but could be more often depending on your type of hair.  Very tightly coiled hair has a tendency to be more dry because the moisture has to find its way through the coil, so if this is your type of hair make sure that you are pulling the product through to the ends of your hair and it may help even more if you apply your moisturizer in sections using the shingling method which is like parting your hair in 4 sections then taking smaller subsections of each and adding the product one subsection at a time (if you’ve ever had a relaxer done professionally they “shingled” the chemical in using a small applicator brush).  When your hair is in a protective style that you cannot take down nightly such as braids or a sew in weave, just apply your moisturizer carefully focusing more on your hair and less on your scalp. If you can find a moisturizer in a spray pump bottle that would be ideal.  Find a good moisturizer that works for you and make sure you apply it when needed.  It’s always good to follow-up with an oil to seal in the moister when possible.

Here are a few pics of my protective style, I did this Monday (6 days ago)and have been keeping it under my satin bonnet all week because I haven’t had to go anywhere special.  When I leave the house I just slide my stocking cap back to the crown of my head and put on a knit hat or beanie. I plan to keep it in for 14 days or more if possible.




Be sure to protect your hair while you sleep with a satin scarf, bonnet, or pillow case(NEVER COTTON!!).  The slightest brush against other fabrics can cause damage.  I put my bonnet on the headrest in my car to keep my hair from breaking in the back.  If you can put a satin cover over your couch cushion where you sit most that can benefit you greatly. It may seem like a bit much, but if you want to retain length stopping breakage and split ends is a necessary step.

Let me know what some of your favorite protective styles are. Please leave a comment and rate this post!

A breakdown of oils for our hair

Essential Oils & Carrier Oils

This is a guide to essential oils & carrier oils for kinky-curly, or natural hair of African descent. Your hair can benefit from two types of oils. These two types of oils are essential oils and carrier oils. Essential oils are fragrant oils that are actually the concentrated essence, or ‘life force’ of a plant. Essential oils are light and do not feel like an oil. They evaporate quickly. You would mix essential oils with a carrier oil before you put it on your hair to prevent skin irritation. Carrier oils are oily in consistency. They can be oil from a vegetable, a fruit, a nut, or even a seed.

Essential Oils for Natural Hair

All essential oils are not created equal. Look for the highest grade you can find. Only buy Complete Essential Oils or Genuine Grade A Essential Oils. These are oils that contain the most natural oil and the least amount of additives and chemicals. Some essential oils for the hair are:

Basil♦stimulates the scalp.

Cedarwood ♦an astringent, antiseptic, balances production of sebum, and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Chamomile ♦adds sheen and conditions the hair.

Eucalyptusremoves dandruff and has antiseptic properties.

Frankincense ♦used to get rid of dry scalp.

Jasmine ♦often used for fragrance.

Lavender ♦used for dandruff and fragrance.

Lemon ♦cleanses the hair and scalp and improves hair elasticity.

Myrrh ♦used for dry hair and scalp.

Orange Oil ♦helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Palmarosa ♦helps the hair by regulating the production of sebum. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Patchouli ♦treats dandruff and oily hair.

Peppermint ♦stimulates the scalp.

Rose Oil ♦used as fragrance and to sooth the scalp.

Rosemary Oil ♣(DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT!) stimulates the scalp and treats dandruff.

Sandalwood Oil ♦an astringent, an anti-inflammatory, as well as an antiseptic. Use sandalwood oil to soothe a dry and irritated scalp.

Tea Tree Oil ♦used to treat dandruff and kill lice. Tea tree oil balances production of sebum and stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Ylang-Ylang ♦balances production of sebum, stimulates the scalp. Sebum is your hair’s natural oil.

Carrier Oils for Natural Hair

You can use carrier oils with essential oils or by themselves. A popular, readily available, and inexpensive carrier oil is extra virgin olive oil. Other carrier oils for the hair are:

Almond Oil ♥a light, non greasy, fast absorbing hair conditioner.
Apricot Kernel Oil ♥used for dry hair. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Avocado Oil ♥a light, protein and vitamin rich. It include vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and potassium.
Castor Oil ♥a humectant. Humectants attract moisture into your hair.
Grapeseed Oil ♥odorless and vitamin rich. It makes your hair shiny and moisture rich. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Hazelnut Oil ♥fast absorbing and medium weight. It contain a large amount of linoleic acid which is essential for cell health.
Jojoba Oil ♥simular to sebum, which is your hair’s natural oil. It can be used with or without an essential oil. It is often used 50/50 with another carrier oil to massage the scalp. Continue reading

Transitioning or New to Natural hair and frustrated?

Are you transitioning and have come to the point where you feel you can’t do anything else with your hair? Have you just done the BC (big chop) and can’t figure out where to go from here? I’d like to hear about some of your frustrations. I want us to be able to help each other because the natural hair journey has many bumps and potholes in the road. I’d like to share what I’ve learned and hopefully learn even more from others.

Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts or questions on the subject. Please subscribe to keep up with the up and coming articles.