Y’all, My Hair Had Me Cryin!
ep, that’s right, I was crying over my hair because back in the summer of 2009. I thought I had jacked up my hair. I was lying there struggling to remove a hot, matted mess from my hair. That day, a Saturday afternoon, if I recall. I was done! I hit my breaking point.
So let me go back, that whole first half of 2009, I was seriously contemplating going natural. I believe came in the beginning stages of the whole natural hair train. The reason behind me going natural was nothing close to being the same as a majority of people. I wasn’t on some going back to my roots, embrace my natural ethnic self.
Yeah, No Deep Epiphany For Me
Nope, my sole reason was homegirl was broke! I was sick and tired of shelling out $75 every few weeks to maintain a relaxer. Tired of wasting all dang day at the salon waiting for the said relaxer. And, I was through with constantly having my scalp on fire from relaxers. Not to mention, I was in a complete standstill when it came to wanting to grow my hair. It was always in this “we just gonna stop right here and never pass go” phase.
The Waves At The Root Peaked My Interest
Y’all know what I’m talking about. That good ole new growth baby. Every time I would go a long stretch in between relaxers. Those fresh waves came rolling in, super thick and soft. I loved getting those waves all the time. I started wondering how long could I go without having a relaxer? Next thing, one random day, I hit the internet. I don’t know how or when, but I do know that I stumbled on a site called Curly Nikki. Post after post, I was reading hair stories and seeing all these pics of curls everywhere in different varieties.
My curious self-was thinking could my hair do that? Hmm, I wonder if my hair would be curly. Definitely became jelly and I wanted my hair to be just like every wavy/curly pic I saw. Knowing from the jump I was not about that big chop life. I was not going to cut off all my hair to reach my end goal.
Transitioning Was My Preference
May 2009, I decided I was going to transition for at least a year before cutting my hair. Doing every tip/trick/tut I saw on Curly Nikki, NaturallyCurl.com, MopTop Maven, or any other blog or forum about the topic. Of course, I got some side-eyes from my mom when I told her I was going natural. The usual, “you want to be nappy headed” stuff, but nothing major.
Anyhoo, as I started on my journey, there were plenty of rough days. Learning to deal with thick new hair coming in and thin lifeless hair going out. I did become a bit of a hair product junkie. Even made all these concoction recipes I found online. Also, remember having sneeze attacks in the shower because I was allergic to something in Kera Care products.
Twists, Braidouts, Oh My!
I tried just about every style to help maintain both textures. While, at the same time, trying to get my hair to look halfway decent. It was a lot to wrap my brain around. Hoping that I wouldn’t make myself bald headed before reaching my goal of being natural.
However, I would say, end of June or beginning of July 2009 I was defeated. The day I was in tears, my hair got so matted and hard out of the blue. I gave in and relaxed my hair again.
I May Have Lost the Fight, But I Won the War
April of 2010, I was still lurking those natural hair sites. I didn’t want to continue dropping money on relaxers and be stuck in salons all day. Plus, I wanted to know how my hair would look curly.
Back in the day, elementary school, I had a Jeri Curl lol. Although, still a chemical, my hair was uber thick and I looked naturally curly. I wanted to achieve the same look, but chemical free. If other ladies can work with their hair and achieve thick long black hair. Why couldn’t I?
Wanting to see my hair grow past a certain length. Watching it curl up on its own. At the same time, not worrying about rain or sweating out a fresh relaxer. Sounded like a win-win to me, I just had to get there first.
In 2010, I transitioned again. Doing everything under the sun. To my surprise, once I surpassed four months it was a breeze. The experience was like night and day from the year prior. I don’t know what made the difference but I’m glad it did. I transitioned for 16 months. During my transition, I would do a lot of twists, braidouts, and other struggle sets smh lol.
My goal was to hold out for my August birthday, but I was itching to cut the ends. So July 19th, 2011, I “big chopped”. Still considered it a big chop because, to me, I was cutting off a lot of hair. I don’t have a pic of myself, so this one is a good description of how I was looking for after I chopped [insert don king].
Say Whaaa? Now You Got Me, Take Care of Me
Faced with this whole new fresh thick head of hair. I had no clue how to take care of this it. At least not in the beginning. By Sept/Oct 2011, I was slowing getting the hang of things. Twistouts, braidouts, stuff like that were a complete bust for me. They never came out right. So my go-to style of choice was the wash n go.
Using the oldie but goodie, Eco Styler gel, which I absolutely hate and my hair hates it too. That green tub and I do not mix. I tried it one time for my first wash no go and it was just too heavy for my hair. Felt like my hair was about to break my neck and that gel took forever to dry!
I tried many gels and other products over the years. Even dabbled in Ayurvedic mixes. Basically just learning what would work for my hair. Frequenting many natural hair sites such as Curly Nikki, MopTop Maven. Watching tons of youtube videos from Naptural85, who I still watch, and many other YouTubers.
Around 2012/2013, I started using Xtreme Wetline. This gel changed the game for me and became my staple gel. Works with a lot of other products. It still took me some years to hone my wash n go technique though.
All other manipulated styles like twists and flexi rod sets. Honestly, just learned how to achieve good looking sets about a year or so ago. And I’ve been natural for 7+ yrs now. Smh lol. So it does take time and practice to get good at doing a style. At least, it does for me.
That’s pretty much my hair story in a nutshell. Let me give you a quick breakdown on a few techniques I started and graduated from overtime.
In The Beginning, I Was Doing the Most
I use to do prepoos, deep condition or dirty hair or on clean hair. Follow all these recipes I saw on blogs or youtube. Mixing my own products like bentonite clay for shampoo. Or, using different essential oils for prepoos and scalp massages. Even tried the conditioner only method, used I believe Pantene, that was a hot mess. Clearly wasn’t doing that technique right.
For a change of pace, I would attempt braidouts, twistouts, flexi rod sets, and curlformer sets. The downside, I could never get the ends to look right or successfully make it to day two. So I stuck with the wash n go. Sometimes, applying products to wet, damp, or slightly dry hair to get my desired look.
Although, no matter what it seemed like it took me the whole day to do my hair. During, those 6 years I never went to the salon. I didn’t trust anyone to touch my hair. If I had set back it would be my fault.
If I wanted to color my hair I did it myself. Using genuine henna for a “red” color or for jet black I would do henna + indigo. Let me just say, using henna is a pain in the butt process! The mixing, applying and getting that mess out my hair. Sixth year in, I wanted to color my hair again but that time I used a box dye from SheaMoisture.
In addition, if I wanted to flat iron my hair, I would do it myself too.
The Grease & Hot Comb
Going down memory lane a bit, I remember those hot summer days in my mom’s kitchen. Me sitting there by the stove and her with the grease and the hot comb, pressing out my kinks. In later years, when I was older that hair pressing task fell on me. During my college days, I used an electric hot comb. Then, went up a level to a Chi then a Sedu flat iron.
Oh man, the smell of fried hair is etched in my brain. That’s one smell us black girls will never forget lol.
Even though flat ironing during my relaxer days took a 45mins. It was nothing compared to flat ironing my natural hair. A blowout alone took me 45mins to do. Longer if I was doing a traditional roller set, then flat ironing. Either way, it would take me 3 hours to flat iron my own dang hair, smh.
Only Wear Straight Styles In The Optimal Season
No sense, wasting time and all that hard work. I only flat iron around Thanksgiving and stretch that straight look for a month. Sometimes, I might do another flat iron around March/April. So, I definitely wear my hair curly the majority of the time.
My treat though, came once a year when I got to flat iron my hair. I was amazed at how long my hair actually grew. Before I knew it, my hair was grazing my bra strap!
When I was relaxed, my hair barely touched the top of my shoulders. Then, I would get tired of it and cut it into a bob because it wouldn’t grow any further. As I natural, you couldn’t tell me anything, when I was able to maintain length down to my back lol.
My Graduated Wash N Go Technique
For my preferred style of choice, I do things completely in the shower now. For a while, I was doing the conditioner method again, but the correct way this time. I was using the Anthony Dickie method; which is basically applying a butt load of conditioner to soaking wet hair and letting it set a few minutes. Then rinsing the conditioner before applying my gel to lock in my curls.
This worked alright for a few months, but it took longer for my hair to dry. Not to mention, I was getting a lot of flaking. I was leaving too much of the conditioner in my hair instead of rinsing completely before applying the gel.
Presently, I still do my hair styling start to finish in the shower, all in sections by the way.
- Deep Conditioning (when needed)
- Applying Leavin-in of choice
- Finishing with a gel of choice
Yes, Girl! A Good Shape Up Is The Key
Around 2016, I went to the salon for the first time for a deva cut. My first deva cut experience was great. Second deva cut was blah. Around April of this year, I did my own DIY deva cut; which turned out better than my second salon trip.
However, a few months later my hair was looking blah again and growing out weird. Third times a charm, my deva cut at a different salon came out amazing! Omg, the best haircut, and shape in my life. Noticeably shorter, but the shape brought back my curls back to life. Well worth the reduced length.
What I’ve Learned, Keeping it simple
I’ve learned that water is my friend and heat is the devil lol. Whenever I go to get a silk press, I make sure I do protein treatment the day before. Also, I try not to retouch at all with the flat iron during my month stretch of wearing the style.
Before going to any salon, I did my research. Making sure I was going to people that knew how to work with natural black hair. I also don’t reach for box dyes anymore. For my color strands, I go to a professional as well. I’ve also learned that it is important to test all products against each other. If it doesn’t create any white clumps in my hand. Then it’s pretty safe to say it will work in my hair. I try to keep track as well of which products work together.
My Natural Hair Story Never Stops
It’s been an interesting hair journey. I haven’t had any major setbacks. I do have hair envy and hair crushes, but I love how my hair is uniquely mine. Btdubs, my mom loves my natural and as well as the rest of my fam. I get tons of compliments all the time on my curls. A lot of the time ladies asking how I get my hair like that? Or, asking if do small braids or twists to get my hair so curly.
I’m really happy that I made the decision to go natural. Gone are the days of grease, OG hot combs, electric combs, flat irons and relaxers. In the beginning, it seemed like a lot of work taking care of my natural hair. But, that was only because I was doing the absolute most. I’m all for keeping things simple when it comes to caring for my natural hair. I may never reach the point of having long curly hair. As long as it’s healthy and has a great shape, that’s all that matters.
Interested in learning about the products I use for my wash n go? Head on over to my Best Products I Use To Get My Uber Soft & Defined Wash N Go post.
Hope you enjoyed reading about my natural hair story.