Seven years ago I transitioned from relaxed to natural hair and began the journey of self-discovery. Literally. I wanted to “go natural” because I was tired of always wearing my hair the same way with a slight variation. I wanted the versatility of natural hair; from curly to straight and back again. I also wanted the decrease in maintenance that I thought I would get from natural hair. Yeah…that last part was delusional.
Going natural was an eye-opening experience for me. I saw the change in interactions people had toward me (good, bad, and indifferent). I learned about my strengths and weaknesses. In essence, going natural forces one to be honest with oneself. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. You have to learn to stop comparing yourself to other people or thinking that a miracle product is going to change your hair type to match that YouTube blogger you love so much. You have to learn to be realistic and operate within your means.
Only the last THREE years have I started to find my stride with my natural hair. I went through my hair product phase where I was trying out EVERYTHING that promised to make my hair look a certain way. When my hair still didn’t seem to grow and retain length like it should, I decided to take a different approach. I gave myself a heat-free challenge for one year (which morphed into two). No heat on my hair was allowed, except a hood/bonnet hair dryer for conditioning. I slowly saw my hair grow. Next, I started paying attention to what I was putting on my hair. I made my list of zero tolerance ingredients and gave the majority of my hair products away. Not only was I saving money from all the products I wasn’t buying, but I also simplified my hair routine in the process. Finally, I changed how I detangled and trimmed my hair. Now, my hair is the thickest, longest, and healthiest it has ever been. But, my journey isn’t done. I’m still learning how to take care of my hair (and subsequently myself) better.