I was always a fan of curly hair, and of course, when I was little (pre-relaxer) I had gorgeous bouncy curls. However, my mom relaxed my hair at the age of 8 or 9 (maybe). And ever since I had gotten relaxers in my head. At first, I would get them often (every 2-3 months), because the new growth would get frizzy, and make my straight hair look bad. As I got older I decided to allow longer times between my relaxers to give my hair a chance to grow. I noticed that the longer I took between relaxers the faster my hair grew. I was, however, still straightening it every time I washed it. I washed my hair, usually bi-weekly, and sometimes once a week.
When my mom, and aunt were doing my hair it grew long and seemed pretty healthy despite the fact that it had a relaxer in it. But when I started wanting to do my own hair around middle school that’s when the health of my hair started to deplete. I wasn’t giving it enough TLC, nor was I moisturizing it as often as needed. I was scared of grease! (Like why???) Of course, like most black girls my age I was convinced that beauty was defined by white skin, and straight hair. Once I reached high school, I started going to get my hair done professionally, and my freshman year was the longest my hair had been those four years of high school. After a while, I stopped going to get my hair done at the salon, 1) because it’s expensive, and 2) because I didn’t feel the need to. I joined our high school’s show choir in my sophomore year, and the hairstyles we had to do were damaging to my hair. My hair was breaking off, and thinning by Senior year. I wasn’t trimming it like I was supposed to, also I rarely deep conditioned, or gave myself a protein treatment.
My hair was still growing, and I began to trim my hair more often, and take better care of it near the end of Senior year. I was still getting relaxers though. Exercising, eating more fruits, and vegetables helped my hair reflourish. I drank more water and less pop, and I stopped getting relaxers as often as I did. I started only relaxing my hair twice a year. In-between relaxers I still flat ironed my hair, but this time I was deep conditioning and using heat protectants. My hair was significantly thicker by the end of my freshman year of college. The story goes on with me flat ironing and washing regularly, but the constant use of heat was damaging my hair too. I noticed that my hair was growing, but it broke off easily, and the split ends were crazy!
So the day of my sorority’s Midwest formal, I decided to no longer get relaxers, and decided that I would try to cut heat from my regimen for at least 6 months. I cut off about three-four inches of hair! The idea that I was going natural was displeasing to so many people around me, except for me. I’ve always liked the idea of curly hair, and I was born with it so why not let it show? Although I enjoy curly hair, I still plan to straighten my hair, because I like straight hair too.
In August, I went to Korea with no idea how to take care of it without access to affordable products, and stylists. So I got Senegalese twists. Check out my review about them here. I had no idea on how to go about getting my hair done, so I went in clueless. I had never had extensions or weave before. I honestly wish I had done it before because it’s very helpful in protecting your hair and giving yourself a much-needed break. I kept the twists in for about 3 months and removed them in October of 2015. My hair grew, but when I took them out my hair was thin, stringy, and really tangled. It most likely got tangled, because my hair was slightly damp when I got them installed, but it could’ve also been from the stylist being so rough with my hair. I refreshed my hair after the twists by deep conditioning overnight and moisturizing my hair with a butter, and oil. My go-to style was twist-outs and sometimes flat twists. Every once in a while I did a braid out. I noticed that braid outs looked better on my hair, especially since my natural texture was getting longer, and longer. Braid outs made the two textures blend well.
I gave myself a protein treatment at the end of February, which was the first time I had one in a while. I kept doing twist outs, and braid outs (I broke, and straightened it until it got all frizzy from the humidity) until I decided to cut most, but not all, of my straight, ends off near the end of March this year. Shortly after, I got long box braids installed by a different stylist. One who allowed me to get a discount, and who listened when I instructed her not to install them tight. I kept them in for one month and took them down (with the help of Yasmin, thank you ^^) yesterday. I think next time I’ll save myself some money, and learn to install my own protective styles!
So what’s the next step? I’m not sure. I want to get crochet braids next but I want to give my hair time to breath for a bit. Since my hair is significantly shorter than it has ever been in my life, I’m not sure what to do with it. But for now, buns will have to do. I know that natural hair is hard, and expensive to deal with, but it’ll be worth it, in the end, to see my curly hair at its peak. So stay tuned!