Having natural hair is always a journey. At some point in life we have all wanted something different, because the grass just looks greener on the other side. It took me many years to finally really accept and love my hair for who she really is. I have never felt a love for my hair like the love that I have for it now. And as a result from falling in love with this beautiful mane of mine my hair has been getting healthier and healthier. I get so excited every single time I style my hair. A few months ago my hair didn’t even curl when it was wet, it just puffed. Now my hair has lovely springy curls all from me loving her and giving her the proper care needed.
Like many other naturals who were once relaxed, I have all the memories of having thick, long, super curly hair as a child. Holding onto those memories has given me so much hope and something to work toward accomplishing.
My Time Line
In the year 2000, I was 10 years old and my mother gave me my very first relaxer.
In 2001, my hair took a tragic turn after I had two relaxers put in my hair within one week. As you can imagine it was painful and extremely damaging. My mother gave me my relaxer earlier in the week and during that weekend I went to the salon. Since my hair was still so thick they assumed I need a retouch on my relaxer. When my mom dropped me off at the salon my hair was thick and down my back, but when she picked me up it was super straight and right below my chin.
In 2005, I read an article about African-American women transitioning from relaxed to natural. I decided that relaxers just weren’t for me. My scalp and hair didn’t take well to it and I was tired of the burning and scabs. So I “went” natural. Although, I was working at a hair salon, so I never really took time to pay attention to what my hair needed and how to care for my natural hair. I had so many different hairstyles and colors, being able to do so many different styles with my hair was awesome. I let the stylist at my job just do whatever they wanted, especially colors, and I’ve volunteered for many different hair shows and events. I did a lot to my hair and I didn’t think twice about it, because I felt like since I didn’t have a relaxer anymore nothing could damage my hair.
In 2009, I was in cosmetology school and I really got tired of my hair. I wanted to just cut it off and that’s exactly what I did. I got a funky, short, Rihanna inspired haircut and I went back to the creamy crack. Why? I hate heat being anywhere near my head and in order to keep my hair straight for my cut I need the relaxer, because I was not going to be able to take getting my short hair pressed with those c-irons.
In late 2010/early 2011, I grew tired of the short hair and the relaxer and I decided to go natural and grew my hair back out.
In 2012, a few month after I had my son I got bored and I cut my hair again. This time I didn’t go nearly as short, but I cut my hair into a A-Line bob. I kept some length in the front and I took the back up to my nape.
At the beginning of this year I took a vow to properly care for my hair. I did so much research on natural hair care and my hair type to find products and a hair care regimen that would work for me and my hair. One thing that really got me hooked and helped me fall in love with my hair was learning about natural products that I can use for my hair. I thought it was so amazing that I could actually use fruits, veggies, and oils, that I keep in my house all the time, to make my own hair products. I now make my own shampoo (I make it for my friends also), I make my own pre-poo, conditioning treatments, and co-washes. The only store bought products that I use are, Jane Carter Solution Nourish and Shine, Jane Carter Solution Wrap and Roll setting foam, and when I am being too lazy to make my co-wash I use Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner with Aloe Vera and Avocado.
My hair is very fragile, so I try not to manipulate it too much. I found that doing my protective styles help me to maintain my hair’s health and length. I also have stopped being rough when I comb my hair. It really isn’t that hard to detangle so I mostly finger detangle my hair instead of combing it. Pre-poo is an extremely important step for me since my hair is so fragile. I use oils and butters in my pre-poo process to coat, strengthen, and protect my hair for the manipulation that follows.
I feel like it is really important for us to encourage young girls to embrace their natural hair and teach them how to care for and protect it. When I was younger I was always told that my hair was too nappy, that it was such a pain, I have to much of it, and that I wasn’t pretty with my dookie braids and twist. If I had someone telling me the positives and showing me the beauty of natural hair my hair decisions may have been a whole lot different. Natural hair is beautiful, unique, and so fascinating. My 7 year old sister has beautiful curly hair and I tell her that as much as I can. She looks up to me a lot and by embracing my natural hair it helps her to do the same. So be very careful what you say about your natural hair and do to it, because there may be someone some one looking up to you!
Written by: Cecily Wheeler