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.
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!’
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!