Updated: Oct 15, 2022
Natural hair isn’t just about not having a perm. I am a strong believer that to be anything, you have to embody it in all aspects. Like the traditional little Black girl hair story, I started off with a perm in the 3rd grade and then about 3 years later I decided to let it grow out. I let my hair grow out with box braids, Senegalese twist, and sew- ins. This was my "natural hair journey" before, using weave as a cover up from my 6th grade year of school until my senior year of high school.
I remember how much I feared wearing my natural hair. As soon as I took weave out I washed my hair, and put more weave right back into it. Underneath the weave my hair was screaming for nourishment. It was brittle, dry, and see through LOL! During the summer of 2018 I did the unthinkable! I cut my hair!
This is when my journey to freedom began!
1. I SLOWLY LET GO OF PEOPLE'S PERCEPTIONS AND OPINIONS OF ME
I used to be a big conformer, in fact, most of my choices and actions were based on what other people wanted me to do, think, and feel. When I started wearing my real hair, I detached from the traditional beauty standards and embraced one of the best crowns God has given me. My natural hair.
2. I BECAME MORE IN TUNE WITH MY ETHNICITY
I knew I was black but I didn’t drown in my blackness. I didn’t understand my true power as a black woman. I wasn’t soaked in my roots, my history, and my qualities. Instead of watching “How To Get Your Leave out to Blend” videos, I started watching videos on hair porosity, hair density, good deep conditioners for natural hair, and good textured hair styles. The most beautiful part about this is that I started to see more women like me!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against weave at all. I have been wanting a closure for the longest now but since the straight Peruvian, Brazilian, Malaysian weaves are attached to European beauty standards, so was my mind. The weaves kept me disconnected from my culture. Seeing the women on the YouTube videos have 4c textured hair just like me, gave me a sense of belonging.
3. I BUILT A BOND WITH MY HAIR
One thing that disappointed me was how I was more confident in weave than my real hair. How am I more confident in another woman’s hair than my own? Oh no! I’ve got to make some changes! Cutting my hair allowed me to just that.
Yes I started off buying way too many hair products and trying to wash my hair everyday to get the cute curly look. I didn’t know what to do with my short hair in the beginning. That’s honestly what I expected because I didn’t even know what to do with my natural hair before it was cut.
You see, some Black Women think that proper hair care is just leaving your hair alone. While that is true to some extent, properly taking care of your hair will guarantee maximum hair growth and bonding time!
Here are some products I recommend:
Aztec Indian Healing Clay: Need a quick guaranteed hair reset? Is your hair lacking umph? Is your curl pattern lifeless or dull? No worries! Mix the powder with Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, detangle your hair, apply, leave in for 30 minutes, and WATCH THE MAGIC HAPPEN! Shoutout to my friend Zay for putting me onto this amazing product!
Now I've seen people use Aztec Indian Clay or Aphogee Protein Treatment for heat damage repair but for me I just CHOPPED IT OFF! Something about trying to revitalize lifeless heat damaged hair just didn't sit right with me.
Mielle Organics Mint & Babassu Deep Conditioner: This conditioner does EXACTLY what it says! Providing a genuine tingly scalp sensation, this conditioner without a doubt goes deep! It is my go to after weaves or hard hair months LOL! The slip that it provides is amazing too!
Tip: If I buy a hair product and it doesn't give my hair slip THE PRODUCT IS NOT FOR ME!
TGIN Honey Miracle Mask: No tingly sensation but your hair's aftermath? Moisturizing, bouncy, shiny, and revitalized! This is my what I liked to call "recurring deep conditioner" I use this more consistently while the Mielle Mint and Babassu I'll use once or twice a month.
OGX Biotin & Collagen Shampoo and Conditioner: OGX, imma need ya'll to make a deep conditioner of this line for me ok?
When I was struggling with see through thin hair strands, this line, right here, brought my hair back to life! My hair is so thick, fully, and voluminous because of this line. Once my hair got extremely thick I slowed down a little. I still use it but it's not my recurring shampoo and conditioner.
Shea Moisture Manuka Honey Shampoo and Conditioner: Now this is my recurring shampoo and conditioner. You can literally shampoo your hair with this line 7 times and it'll still feel like you put conditioner in it. My hair is more on low porosity side so my primary focus with it is adding in moisture as much as possible.
Tip: Some people co-wash (wash with conditioner only) their hair. That didn't work for me personally. I thought because I had dry hair co-washing would be the remedy. But my hair indeed needed to be shampooed and conditioned regularly. The moisturization part comes in with your cream and oil aka the LOC or LCO method.
Peppermint Oil: I love putting peppermint oil on my scalp after I moisturize and seal my hair! The feeling is amazing and this helps your hair grow too!
Castor Oil: This is my hair's antidote. If my hair could say one word it would be "castor oil." Castor oil has helped with my hair's moisture a ton! Not to mention, its contribution to my hair's overall thickness. I haven't had any problems with my hair being dry since I've incorporated this oil into my regimen.
Tip: Pre-pooing before you wash your hair is extremely important! Especially if you wear weaves a lot. I love to use grapeseed oil or olive oil for this. You can either mix oil in a spray bottle with water or spray water in your hair then apply the oil. I finger detangle or use a wide toothed comb.
Our Hair Speaks To Us In So Many Ways
Before I went on my natural hair journey:
I didn’t care what I used on my hair. As long as it was shampooed and conditioned for my next sew- in.
I used products that made my hair dry, not products that provided the maximum moisture/benefits to my natural hair.
I blow-dried my hair often, now I know that my hair actually hates being blow-dried.
And trust me, not only did I have a lot of heat damage in the front from previous sew-ins, but the rest of my hair displayed neglect.
Tip: Something I naturally did was pay attention to the hair I had on my head. I worked on length retention, instead of growth. When you focus on length retention, you’re focused on what you already have. Which means you LISTEN TO YOUR HAIR!
4. I BECAME SO CREATIVE WITH MY HAIR
My creativity heightened when I started using natural hair clip-ins. I learned how to effortlessly blend my real hair with them and add more "diva" to my hairstyles.
What I loved the most is how the clip-ins looked like my real hair so I didn't have to manipulate my hair with heat. Even though blending with Brazilian weaves was much easier, because all I had to do was straighten my hair, blending my hair with natural clip-ins is more strategic.
This allowed me to have more leisure with my hair by experimenting with different looks.
I blend my natural hair with the clip-ins by:
Insert the clip-ins
Leave out a U-shape in the front and take out the twist from my real hair
5. I Realized How Conditioned Society Is
Let me be honest again, a lot of black women are scared to wear their real hair out because they are afraid of what society is going to think. I’ve heard countless stories on natural hair divas explaining how they were ridiculed for the hair that grows out of their heads. And I am one of them.
Hearing comments like:
"Oh, your hair looks better the other way." (other way meaning with weave)
"Oh my god what happened to your hair?"
"You should wear your hair like this."
"Do you comb your hair?"
6. I DIDN'T WEAR WEAVE TO PROTECT MY HAIR, MORE SO TO RUN FROM IT
Yes a lot of us wear weave to protect our hair, but the weave is also a way to hide. Most of us are not confident in our real hair because we don’t feel beautiful when we wear it out so we keep it hidden under weaves. Some Black women feel like they aren’t going to be desired unless they are rockin' Peruvian bundles.
“My hair is just too much!"
" I can’t deal with it.”
Is often what you hear from Black women, but underneath all of that I hear, “I’m scared of what society is going to think.”
Let me say going natural is not for everybody! I don’t expect it to be, but what I don’t like seeing is black women shame, and neglect their real hair, just to turn around and take better care of hair that is not theirs.
7. SHAPE SHAPE SHAPE!!
Ok I’m going to honestly admit, when I began my natural hair journey, sometimes my hair did look a mess. I thought because it was short I didn’t have to do much to it. I would throw a bonnet over it at night, wake up, spray some water on it, and fluff it out.
When I look at pictures of my hair 2 years ago I thought to myself, now why would I walk around like that? But at the same time I did not know. I did not know how to properly shape my hair.
When my hair started to grow out of my taper cut FORGET ABOUT IT! I still have trouble shaping my hair to this day! LMFAO!
8. I’M STILL LEARNING!
Ya’ll the knowledge never ends! I must give myself credit though, because comparing how I took care of my hair 3 years ago to how I take care of it now is HUGE transition. But I still have a longgggg way to go.
Watch my natural hair journey video here:
What did you learn throughout your natural hair journey?