I’ve always wanted to chronicle my natural hair journey from the start, complete with a well-edited YouTube video montage and beautiful background music.
Unfortunately, that would’ve taken more spare time than I ever seemed to have on hand, so I’ve opted to give a quick update instead (complete with pictures). 🙂
After the combination of chemical hair relaxers (which I used to straighten my hair), hair color treatments (to cover those grays) AND caramel-colored highlights (definitely pressed my luck with that decision), my hair became severely damaged and unhealthy.
I wanted once again, to have the healthy hair of my youth, before the chemical processes and subsequent hair damage.
So, I decided to “go natural” (chemical relaxer-free).
Another major reason for my decision: my daughter’s comment that she wanted her hair to be “straight like Mommy’s.”
Could it be my daughter didn’t realize my hair’s natural state was NOT straight?! More importantly, her comment told me she was lacking a full appreciation of her naturally thick, long, curly-coils.
It also revealed how much my daughter looked to me for her hair goals and inspiration.
It wasn’t enough to tell her how beautiful her hair was or point out the bevy of ways in which she could wear her hair.
I would have to show her what it looked like to embrace her natural hair.
Seeing me wear my hair naturally curly/coily or in twists; in a twist-out (a wavy style obtained after removing the twists); or wearing it straight (by blowing it dry and heat styling), would be the best way for me to show her, rather than just tell her.
The plan was a success! 🙂
I’ve been chemical relaxer-free since October 2011 and transitioned until my big chop (cutting off the remaining relaxed/damaged hair) in May 2012.
In order to speed up my hair growth and return to hair health, I chose to limit heat-styling (the application of direct heat to my hair with blow drying, flat-ironing, etc.), to the three occasions my hair stylists thermally straightened my hair to trim my ends (November 2012 and May 2013 by the fabulous LaTashia Mitchell of Something Natural Hair Salon in Austin, TX and in January 2016, by my equally fabulous Knoxville, TN stylist, Tawanna Russell of Divine Touch Salon).
I’m happy to say, my hair is healthier than it’s been in a very long while.
This natural hair journey has been quite the experience, and I’ve learned so much along the way. So has my daughter, for that matter!
The most significant lessons have been the importance of planning, preparation, and persistence… followed by learning to go with the flow!
Now, my daughter and I fully embrace the variety of textures and the wide range of hairstyles we both can achieve!