When people look at me and see my FULL head of hair they are usually in awe by the texture, thickness, length, fullness or any of the mysteries surrounding natural curly/coily hair.
For a very long time, when I looked at my hair I saw work or an unmanageable mess. Trust me, at times I feel that way, but often it’s just that it takes a lot of time and energy to manage such a massive crown. It’s much different than when I used to get relaxers.
I grew up getting relaxers. For as long as I can remember, my Mom or I, would mix the “Just For Me” creamy crack that came with a two sided “Just For Me” theme song cassette. I’d sit comfortably between her legs as she would apply the mixture. After that step was complete, I would try to withstand the burning sensation, which was an indicator that my hair was almost straight and it often resulted in chemical burns as an indicator that the relaxer had been left it on for too long. However, despite the process, for years, I enjoyed the ease of being able to have my hair “well kept” and not having to spend too much time on my hair each day. I guess you can say I was spoiled in a sense.
It wasn’t until I was a student at Howard University that I had considered a different way of taking care of my hair. I had several friends who had never had a relaxer in their lives and I secretly loved the versatility of being able to wear my hair straight then big and curly the next day. It also helped that I would often stretch out my relaxer applications.
In 2008/2009 I decided that I would take the leap and try going natural. I went from Optimum relaxers to a PhytoSpecific “natural relaxer.” I eventually stopped getting relaxers all together and had my last application in December 2009 during my senior year of college.
Because I had been used to having long hair for so long I decided that I COULD NOT possibly do a big chop (cutting all of my permed hair off and starting from scratch) so I decided transitioning was the best bet for me (cutting off the damaged hair little by little, over a period of time).
It was a process and I faithfully got trims every several months/couple months until my stylist cut out all of my relaxed ends in February 2011. It was the moment I wished for. Without going into too much detail (I will in a future post), it was HARD to transition and it took a LONG time for me to become comfortable and to learn how to manage my texture. I have very thick, full, small coils and can be very challenging if you don’t know the right products to use of process to follow for your hair. EVERYONE’S hair is different and it’s something I continue to re-learn.
4 years completely natural, I’m still learning more about my hair and how to properly care for it. Currently I’m in a process of trying to find a steady ROUTINE and stick with it. Its an ongoing journey.
How can you relate? Have you gone on or considered taking the natural hair journey? Share some of your relaxer or natural experiences in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this with someone!