For starters, about 13 years ago I accidentally began my natural hair journey. After the birth of my daughter, like everyone else, I lost a ton of hair. I got mixed reviews of it’s just your hormones, breastfeeding, and lack of nutrients. I was told to continue my prenatal vitamins, keep the hair manipulation to a minimum, and maintain a healthy diet. Lastly, I was advised to trim it a little shorter. In which, I took all the advice above.
After a couple of months, my hair was still shedding terribly. I was once again told it was due to me breastfeeding. That’s when I made the decision to see what I can do on my own to help it stop shedding and begin growing back.
The first choice I made was to not perm or relax (chemically straighten) it again. I figured eliminating as much chemicals as possible was important to stopping the shedding. Along with that, limiting the amount of heat styling was essential to growing it back as well. That’s when I began researching styles to maintain that was low manipulation. Also what I can do to manage my hair in my everyday lifestyle without putting heat to it daily.
In come the thousands of hours spent on YouTube learning about products, styles, hair terms, routines, and maintenance of natural hair. I thoroughly was intrigued and excited to begin ”my journey”. I realized I was transitioning (naturally let the relaxed hair grow out) and that would take my hair a little longer to be completely natural. Although, I did do a nice trim as suggested, all my relaxed hair hadn’t grown out yet.
I dived in with both feet spending endless amount of dollars on products. Something I know all naturals can relate to. The amount of time I spent on hairstyles and maintenance I can’t even begin to think about.
The versatility I loved. Flat hair has always been boring to me. The curls and different styles provided personality and fun for me.
However, taking care of natural hair is a lot of work and time. Because it’s in it’s fragile state constantly, maintaining the health is around the clock. I had long thick hair that required patience. Making sure it was moisturized and prepped before bed was a task. Maintaining the styles for a workout required time and effort. After a workout it was another task. In the morning, that was a whole other ball game.
For me I would always love the first couple of days. After that my styles never lasted or looked presentable enough to my liking. That meant I had to spend time restyling and moisturizing all over again. Too much product was always a problem.
Another problem I constantly ran into was having wet hair. If I washed, styled, and prepped the night before I was going to sleep with wet hair. Yes, I could have sat under a dryer but that would have taken my long thick hair 2 hours to dry. Plus, I was avoiding heat at all cost to get my hair to grow back.
Even after a long day at work, by 5p.m. my hair was still damp in the middle. I just didn’t like that feeling. I knew my hair constantly being wet wasn’t a good thing. In addition, my hair never turned out how it did on the YouTube videos or the Pinterest photos. I eventually learned it never would.
No matter what I tried, how short I cut it, maintaining my natural curls wasn’t giving me what I wanted it to give. I would always find myself blow drying and flat ironing again. When I would blow it out, I found I had less hair shedding, I was able to keep my fingers out of my hair, I spent less time and product on it, and it looked healthier, felt better, and I felt good.
Lastly, the comments I received from coworkers when I did where my natural hair didn’t make me feel good. I don’t want to repeat them here, but I knew how they felt about it. There were times I was told not to attend a meeting because of my ”look”. It was perceived as nasty, unclean, and unprofessional. 5 REASONS VULNERABILITY IS STRENGTH
I know I shouldn’t never let anyone make me feel a certain way. But picking up and finding another job making the money you’re making, having the flexibility you have, and position you worked hard for isn’t easy.
I would begin to where my natural on the weekend and then blow it back out for work. But the curls I get from my blowout, still give me volume, texture, and personality. All while easy to maintain on daily and keep up.
Be well on your journey.
Be you so you can be free.