My hair journey has spanned a few years. I first big chopped when I was in college. And I had no cooking clue what I was doing absolutely none. I was tired of relaxer and i had this idea that I would grow my hair naturally and that I would have this wonderful long glorious afro and life would be easy. No more relaxer burns, easy styling. That kind of thing. My hair’s response to that assumption?
Growing natural hair was hard. I had no idea what I was doing with my hair. As a result my hair was always under braids and weaves. I went online aka YouTube to try and figure out what to do with it and all I saw were things like Shea butter and products like Cantu or Shea Moisture which you couldn’t find anywhere (this was in 2008) and if you did find them, their price was like the GDP of a small African country. As a result, my hair was always hard, it would tangle and I’d have “skuurpot” hair.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking down YouTube as a source of information when I’m looking for hair ideas, but I didn’t sift through the information properly. All I saw and was searching for was other people’s hair (with super different hair types) and their style ideas, but I wasn’t looking for information about manageability, and how to actually care for my hair. And when I couldn’t find anything I could afford, find or style myself, I got discouraged. I got tired. I got hella fed up.
I quickly went back to relaxer and got a pixie cut. Now when you have a pixie cut, you want to have it sleek and bone straight and I was on that relaxer like a drug addict. And that’s because my hair was taking so long to process. I would touch up my roots almost every two to three weeks myself because the curl pattern would not change very much.
I know! I had a problem!
One day in true addict fashion I retouched my new growth. I had braids which I took down and I chose not to give my scalp a break first. After applying the product to my scalp, I had that relaxer itch and because it wasn’t anything unusual, I completed the process and styled my hair. An hour later when I had dried and straightened my hair, I realized I had the worst chemical burns ever. They were the size of continents. The ratio of relaxer burn surface area to healthy unburned scalp was horrifying. I was devastated. And on top of that my stupid hair didn’t even become straight. I suffered for nothing!
I kept my hair as it was and I let the wounds heal on their own and during that time, I came to the realization that I was punishing myself. I was putting myself through unnecessary torture and damaging my hair In the process, all because I wanted to conform to some unrealistic standard of what good hair was or what the rest of the world saw as beautiful. I got tired of having to punish myself to look beautiful. And I started thinking of going natural again. The only difference now is that I did my research.
I spent ages online looking at pictures and videos and reading and actually looking for ways to manage my hair and I made the decision to big chop. I have now been natural since 2013 and it’s a decision I do not regret. Looking after and learning more about my natural hair has not been easy. There have been plenty of ups and downs but more ups than downs. I haven’t been great at documenting my journey (this will change) but I will share some pictures below.
I just want to encourage everyone out there who’s wanting to go natural, do it! Natural hair is beautiful, and I’m referring to all curl types. It’s what you were born with and if your hair was meant to be straight, God would have made it straight. Embrace the kinks.
Remember good hair is 4c hair.