My Journey to Returning Natural

I was very careful with the title of this post. Usually, we would mindlessly say something to the effect of, “I’m going natural” but technically that isn’t correct. We can’t go to what we originally are but rather, can RETURN to it. We are all natural. When we choose to stop altering the natural state of our hair then we are returning to being natural.

Extensions

This is my third time returning to being natural. On my 24th birthday (April 2010) I did the most radical thing I had ever done in my adult life and did a big chop (BC). My hair had died the death after constant weaving and braiding for years. I was at the point where I had not owned a shampoo or a conditioner in excess of one year because as soon as one weave was removed, I was in the hairdresser’s chair and I would get my hair washed, treated and a new set of extensions installed.

I didn’t have a connection to nor any love for my hair.

They were thin and never grew beyond a certain point so I spent my time hiding them away with extensions. When I look back now all I can say is ‘WTF was I thinking!’

First BC Apr10

First BC in April 2010

So at 24, without any thought to what I was about to do – I did the scary BC. Because I still wasn’t thinking along the lines of natural hair care and how I should now tend to my 4C hair, I used a texturizer to get  curls in my hair. I have the type of hair that I refer to as “hair that has no kinks and zero coils”. I have the “cruffy” hair that every little girl dreads.

I did NOT like the way I looked without hair so my hair couldn’t grow fast enough for me! As they grew, I continued to use a texturizer and some gel to achieve curls. I loved the curls I achieved doing this but after several months, the texturizers had taken their toll on my hair. Because my hair was naturally “cruffy” (and I use the term affectionately) my hair would “wash out” the texturizer within two weeks and i would reapply it. In hindsight, I now realize that perhaps I should have only been texturizing the new growth but because my entire head looked ‘cruff’ I would run the texturizer through the entire length of my hair.

Shot cut w ext.

Low cut style w/ extension in front

I stopped using a texturizer and tried working with my kink-less, coil-less afro and I enjoyed that for a while. But because I still had no idea how to take care of natural hair, I got frustrated at how dry it constantly was. In July 2011, I had finally had enough and opted for a relaxed short cut with a bit of extension in the front.

That lasted a mere two months!

Second Big Chop Sept 2011

Second Big Chop Sept 2011

I was breaking out in a bit of acne and I didn’t think the hair covering my face was helping so I did my second big chop in late September 2011. Again, I didn’t like the way my face looked without hair so as soon as my hair grew 1/4″ I threw in some texturizer and protective styled my hair for three months to allow my hair to grow out. During that time I discovered Natural Soul Sista on Facebook and was thrown into the wonderful world of natural hair care! I started mixing my own concoctions and blogged about my successes as well as failures. I still used a texturizer to loosen my curls but did not do so as frequently as I had in the past and my hair grew nicely. I managed to stay natural for 15 months but grew tired of looking like a 15 year old when I saw myself in the mirror and eventually went back to the creamy crack in mid-December 2012.

Clip-in hair extensions

Clip-in hair extensions

Within the month I was disappointed. My relaxed hair was just a thin as it ever was and the only style I could do without extensions was to roller set/flexi-rod my hair. I tried using clip-in extensions to better protect my hair and that was nice but that was all I could do.

I missed my natural hair!

At least my puff made my hair looked full. And I did not miss playing tag with the wind! 🙂

So my last relaxer was March 11th 2013 and since then I have been protective styling my hair using braids and very infrequently, a wig, in my lead up to what I hope to be my last BC. This time I chose to transition so as not to have to cut my hair as low as the first two times.

And so, after five months of transitioning, I am now third time around natural as of 3 August 2013! And you know what they say – three time’s a charm! I did use a texturizer to stretch my kinks.

Big Chop

I believe every person have to make their own mistakes when it comes to their hair for them to appreciate what they have. I wish I had found out about natural hair care when i was natural the first time around. I had attained a nice TWA and would have been able to take care of it. But I hadn’t. And altho I backslided on two occasions, I think that has made me come to appreciate my natural hair for what it is. Its not going to be easy, and past experience has taught me that, but the alternative – thin limp relaxed hair – is just no longer an option.

So cheers to natural…from the root up!

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5 thoughts on “My Journey to Returning Natural

  1. Suntacee says:

    I must say we have so much in common with our hair journey. I transitioned back in 2011 and had about 6″ of natural hair after 9 month of transitioning. I was in love with my natural hair but every one else wasn’t (except for my bf). So after hearing numerous comment about how old I look ( u should be happy u looked 15) I went back to the creamy crack. I’m not so much of a weave or braid person so my hair got real damaged because of the lack of care I put in. I’m dreadfully not a “cute up kinda girl”. I had major breakage and hair loss after a year and was wearing my hair in an up do with a faux bun all the time. July 2013 I bc. Omg. It was pretty. I was so displeased with my look that I wore a turban everywhere I went. Now at 1 month post bc I’m getting accustomed to my natural hair and looks. Still can’t wait for the twa to come in. I say all this because I’ve been conditioned to believe beauty is only with weaves, long hair etc. There is little guidance as to how to take care of our natural hair. Even the products (those here in Anu ) are geared to relaxed hair. I’m falling in love with my natural hair again and thank goodness for YouTube and other blogs like yours who encourage us to believe in having our own identity. I can’t say how long I will be on this natural journey but as in the words of India Arie “I’m am not my hair”

    • blackzulu says:

      Hi Suntacee! I didn’t know you BC just last month! You really must have been hiding it 🙂 The one thing I agree we need more of are ways to style our natural hair to look our age. But saying that, we also need to put ourselves out to find the styles because they are available, esp on Youtube! Tuck and rolls looks amazing and age appropriate. We tend to get frustrated when it comes to styling but believe me, with a little effort and a lot of research, we will all get there! I hope you enjoy your hair this time around. Everyone will not like it but it is YOUR HAIR and with a little confidence, you can rock it! Regarding products availability in Antigua, they are starting to fill the shelves in a few of the beauty supply stores. Super Power and Ayoushe mainly. Also, there are two ladies on FB who are bringing in the products we hear and read about online. If you are not already a part of the FB group – NATURAL SOUL SISTA, please join. Its all Antiguan and provides support on your hair journey.

  2. blessedart1111 says:

    I think you look awesome with straight or cruffy styles ;=) but whichever is better for you in makes you happy in the end is what counts. Your face is awesome and your look so versatile. I’m also a portrait artist and I’d like to know if you would mind in the next couple of months if I did a portrait of you? I would of course send you a copy when completed;=) Just let me know I think your a great subject to draw because of your features.

    LaTrice

    • BlackZulu says:

      Hi LaTrice,
      I prefer to see my face with straight hair but the constant need to add extensions to build up body (very thin hair) is not worth the hassle. And you are right, my kinks also suits me and so I am choosing to embrace the kinks I have been cursed blessed with (haha). I have grown attached to my natural hair so I am very happy with them 🙂
      A portrait of me would be very awesome! I would be honored if you were to draw me :))))
      Thank you so much for the kind words.
      Stay blessed x

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