I wanted to share with you all that I've embarked on a hair journey....to healthy AND natural hair! This has been something I've been working towards since May 2010. Here's a brief history of my hair story..
Age 12: First Perm. I remember being so excited to get a perm (after months of begging for one) although my hair was really short. I remember thinking I'd prefer straight and short hair over coarse and short hair. Initially that's how I felt but as time went on I grew to dislike my hair in general whether straight or coarse. I can remember clearly my aunt telling me if I didn't keep a silk wrap on when I was lying down that my hair would break off. The silk wrap would always wind up on the floor or somewhere else. I was a "wild sleeper". At first I didn't see a change and then it seemed overnight I lost so much hair especially along my edges.
Age 13: Perm & Silk wrap war continues with more hair loss!
Age 14: I REALLY disliked my hair by this point and made sure it was always kept in box braids. I did not bother with moisturizing the scalp or any thing else. I figured the braids protected my hair enough and would do all the "work" for me. I couldn't have been more wrong and would be frustrated when I took the braids out how my hair would shed and break and wouldn't grow that much. The little it did grow was so insignificant. I was looking for a dramatic change in length. I was very naive and unrealistic in my expectations of my hair especially since I didn't take care of it how I should have in order to achieve those same expectations.
Age 15: I discovered wearing weaves and ponytail extensions. The "slicked back or side ponytail" became my signature look. I STILL didn't take care of my hair. Using the bonding glue to place the weave in and literally ripping it out my head to remove instead of taking the proper steps. I used the strongest holding gel and A LOT of it and when it was time to wash my hair I had no idea what the purpose of deep conditioning was or even conditioning at all and would skip that step altogether using the strongest "sounding" shampoo I could find and after a 10 minute or less wash I would be on my way. I also constantly self-permed every time I felt a strand of hair was becoming "unruly" sometimes as often as every 3 weeks. I would say I'm touching up the "new" growth. By this time I was also on my own and thus everything dealing with me was MY responsibility including hair.
Age 16: Weaves & ponytails continue...bonding glue, super hold gel and all!
Age 17: I discover wigs!. I would either have my hair braided in cornrows underneath or I would wear a stocking cap until my hair flattened against my head. I thought I was now treating my hair right since I no longer used hair bonding glue. However I STILL wasn't moisturizing or properly maintaining my natural hair underneath those synthetic hair wigs.
Age 18: Wigs continue...as does my NON-existent maintenance of my natural hair!
Age 19: I become pregnant with my son and decide I'm going to stop all the madness with wigs and weaves and CUT my hair! My hair was at my nape when wet and by the time I left the hair salon it was in a short & tapered cut!. That salon used gel and other holding sprays to create those hard crunchy flips and curls. So I am now RE-introduced to gels and something new...moose & holding/setting sprays. Of course I just drown my hair with all these products day in and day out and my hair is only washed when I go to the salon to get it "curled" (gelled, crunched, heat applied with flat iron/blow dryer/ curling rod, moosed, setting sprayed and flipped). Every 2 weeks the same tedious and unbeknowst to me...hurtful process. This was also the first time it was permed professionally.
Age 20: I got tired of the short cut process and resorted back to wigs and weaves...this time I opted out of bonding glue and started going with sew-ins which I believed to be "better" for my hair. STILL I wasn't maintaining my hair. I truly believed if I left my hair alone it would just grow. WRONG!
Age 21: I was convinced by someone to go "natural"...of course they just meant...no more wigs and weave and just wear my "natural" hair out: permed & blow dried. I reluctantly did. I had no connection with my hair at this time and couldn't care less what it did or how it looked if I tried. I was PLEASANTLY surprised when the finished product revealed my hair to be SHOULDER LEVEL! Whoa! Where did this come from??!! It was a coarse bush before the perm, blow out & wrap and now its to my shoulders?? I was shell shocked. This also automatically made me feel as if all I was doing before was justified and helped my hair grow..I mean how else did I get this length that I NEVER had before.
Age 21: The "long" hair (longest I ever had at least) was short lived. I now cared about my hair and had been doing a little moisturizing and conditioning (albeit at the salon weekly). Yes I still had trouble maintaining my hair on my own even WITH the length. I then was scared of losing it all so when summer rolled around I opted for braids again because it would "protect" my hair. I unfortunately was unaware of the fragile state of my hair, although with length it hadn't been permed professionally in years, so this recent perm had it even more in a fragile state. I also didn't moisturizer or maintain my scalp at all. So of course when I removed the braids I had so much shedding and breakage I was BACK to a short coarse mess. All my hair was GONE! I cried a little. At that point I said I HATED hair and definitely wouldn't ever care about it again because I felt like I was manipulated into caring about it only for it to fall out. I thought "I didn't do anything different than I normally did and it grew with that process before so what happened?"...you know the process I mentioned above where I just let the braids exist in my hair without moisturizing or maintaining my hair at all...yes I was VERY naive to how hair actually worked and what it needed.
Age 22: Ah the discovery of lace front wigs and indian remy hair weaves. LOL! Goodness..I felt that I now had the ability to have hair that "looked" like my own but wasn't really mine. I honestly didn't care if it looked fake or not but having that option just seemed to be more alluring to me. When I first started I wore the synthetic pieces that looked very unnatural then I opted for the human hair. I hated the "hairline" on the lace fronts and then went entirely with indian remy hair! I loved how sleek it looked, how it flowed like real hair and the versatility of it. ..I experimented with different colors (1, 1B, 2, 1B/33 I believe) and looks. I loved my hair best when it looked "ethnic"...a huge coarse curly, kinky or bushy afro. I knew my own hair could one day look like it but Oh how I wished my hair WAS already NATURALLY like that!
Age 23( May 2010): I wanted all the madness to stop so I cut my hair again. This time I made sure to go to a salon that specialized in short cuts but didn't use all the harsh chemicals to curl & set it. I DID have my hair permed. My hair came out super short, tapered,soft and cute. I continued going to the salon and noticed my hair was growing at a fast rate. By 3 months time I could place it in a ponytail and I decided to start back with sew-in weaves as protective styling. Last perm was about July-August 2010 At first I wasn't maintaining my own hair underneath but then I decided that I had no one to blame for my hairs dire state but myself. I decided to TACKLE that! I researched on how to help hair grow healthy, how to maintain hair while in protective styling, how to grow thicker hair and the steps necessary to go TRULY NATURAL! Honestly I knew for SURE I wanted HEALTHY LONG hair but I was undecided if I would go natural or permed. My love for BIG hair fixed that quickly...NATURAL HAIR JOURNEY IT IS!
Age 24(Feb 2011): I had a HUGE setback. I had opted to remove my last sew-in myself and completely tangled my hair into the thread coupled with having kept my sew in longer than usual(my old stylist no longer worked in a salon so I was on the hunt for a new one) the new growth grew out around the thread.
I told her of my plans and what I wanted to accomplish with my hair. The new hair stylist helped me remove the tangled mess in my hair (my hair was coming out in HUGE clumps! I believe it was the worse she's ever seen) and cut the last remaining strands of permed hair still left. I noticed that although I wasn't as vigilant with maintaining my hair underneath my sew-ins from July-Aug 2010, after my last perm, my hair HAD changed. It was no longer thin and brittle. It was thick and soft with a slight CURL PATTERN!! I knew then that after this last sew-in(to help me grow back what I lost) I would be going natural. The stylist did a braid pattern that allowed me to easily maintain my scalp and hair daily! I also opted for a style similar to what I would LOVE for my hair to look like down the line on this natural hair journey...my hair may not be exactly like it but I'd love something similar..Those of you who are subscribed to my youtube channel may remember this hairstyle in my recent HD videos.
Well after ALL THISSSS here I am now!
MARCH 20TH 2011 FIRST DAY NATURAL
YAY!! I made it and it was NOT easy. There will be people who do not believe I will STAY on this journey, or believe that I'm STILL beautiful WITHOUT straight or synthetic/human/indian remy hair, or that probably don't or WON't ever understand. The single most IMPORTANT thing is I'M HAPPY! My hair does NOT define me. However it IS a part of me and I want it to be free to grow, curl & shrink as it may.
My goals for 2011 are:
1) grow out my edges
2) grow out the nape of my neck
3) have a HUGE 'fro!
4) LOVE MY HAIR UNCONDITIONALLY!
I love the fro puff but still want to protect my hair so although I have one I will from time to time wear a protective fro ponytail piece over my own. Similar to the one worn by the model below.
Sometimes the weather can be unforgiving to hair especially ends( the oldest most fragile part of a hair strand). We all know the ends make the puff LOL! Although Beyonce is wearing a fro ponytail piece (maybe even a full fro wig as a piece idk) this is my ULTIMATE GOAL!!! I want a HUGE FRO PUFF!!
I am not opposed to ANYONE who wears their hair in any style weather weave, braids, natural, permed, straight, kinky, loc or any thing else you can think of. This is just MY journey and mines alone. I'd like to thank ALL the amazing Youtube women with natural hair channels, natural hair blogs, natural hair forums, and a huge thank you to a childhood friend (who you all may remember from a previous post: CELEBRITY MAKEOVER: KANDI BURRESS) She answered my phone call when I called her one evening and offered her opinions on products I could use to begin my journey and gave amazing suggestions. She is gorgeous and I have admired her for some time. She is also known as my "Airbrush Beauty" (I used Temptu Pro S/B foundation and she's now a part of my portfolio) Thank you soo much!!!
Thank you all for reading this blog. For those of you who inspire me, support me and helped me along the way.THANK YOU! For those of you who will not support me and who will change due to my decision (who knew what you do/dont do to your OWN hair could make people change!) I forgive you! For all my subscribers and blog followers THANK YOU! I WILL record Youtube videos of my healthy natural hair journey and I will blog on the steps I take along the way. For all who are interested feel free to comment, leave suggestions, tips, warnings and anything else below and don't forget to share your hair journey!
Until Next Time,