Journey of My Natural Hair
If you know me, you know I almost always have my natural hair out. What most people don’t know is that I’ve actually been natural for my entire life! My mom didn’t let us get perms. (Shout out mom!) Up until high school, my hair was heat trained which means I got it straightened on a consistent basis and it lasted pretty long even through gymnastics and track practices. But at some point in highschool, we went to a new hair stylist who said my hair was beginning to break off in the back and that she had to cut off a good amount. I remember crying after my appointment because I thought my short, natural texture was so ugly. I didn’t know how to cornrow, flat twist, or really know how to do any styles. I thought it was nappy and impossible to tame. I thought it was dry. I hated it. We even bought a product that was supposed to define my curls and I thought I was about to have that 3c bouncy, perfect curl texture… Meanwhile most of those products back in 2013 only defined patterns already there… and I don’t have much of a natural curl pattern. I thought I was going to have to wear just my plain afro every day because I didn’t know of any other styles. It also didn’t help that the majority of my school was white and I wasn’t seeing many people with the same hair type as me. I just wanted long, straight hair. So my natural hair journey began slightly forced and with a lot of negativity, but TODAY I am 1000% for natural hair! I loveee our hair! I am that annoying friend that tries to convince all their friends to wear their hair naturally whenever they have weave, braids, or wigs in.
So even though I’ve been natural my whole life, I’ve only been caring for my natural hair since my junior year of high school (2013) and didn’t truly start loving my natural hair until 2014 when I learned how to properly take care of it and do different styles.
To this day, I have never had weave. I own two wigs that I whip out when I’m feeling fancy. My most common style that involves extensions is box braids or kinky twists because I think these styles mirror my natural hair the most. I have partially abandoned these styles too because braids and twists take forever to get done though. I also choose not to wear wigs/weaves because I think our (black women) consistent use of them has somewhat been influenced heavily by society and European beauty standards. I also know that the ability of black women to switch up their styles is also part of our culture so I am definitely conflicted on my feelings about weave/wigs… but that’s a discussion for another time.
Why do I do my own hair?
The main reason I choose to do my hair myself is because it’s cheaper! (y’all know meeee) Getting our hair done consistently is EXPENSIVE. The other reason is because most of the places I have gone to get my hair done don’t actually care about my hair. They are focused on finishing the hairstyle as quickly as possible and the style being as neat as possible rather than valuing the health and care of my hair. A lot of stylists also don’t specialize in thick 4c hair texture. I have had hair stylists tell me many times from LOOKING at my hair “oh yeah we can do this!” They start doing my hair, mention how thick it is, and then proceed to struggle with it for another 3 hours while also using too much heat to tame it. My experiences are consistently people roughly detangling my hair, using a lot of heat when straightening my hair, pulling my hair and edges extremely tight, and using products that may help lay my hair down smooth but might not be the best product for my hair.
Long story short... I love and value my hair! I love hair in general. I think it is art and a way to uniquely express yourself. If you saw a glimpse of my Instagram explore page, it is either pictures of natural hair or videos of hair tutorials. I have invested tons of time in taking care of my hair so as y’all have requested this is the start of my Natural Hair Series! I will try my best to offer tips for the THICK 4b/c hair community out there and it may apply to other hair types too but that won’t be my focus. ***All of my knowledge is from personal experience or youtube videos; I’m definitely not an expert or I would have had waist length hair by now lol.***
Throughout this series, I just want to encourage y’all not to get discouraged by those youtubers with the perfect styles and textures. Everyone has a different hair type so it’s best not to compare. Don’t feel like you have to slick down your hair, get it flat, and smooth for it to be a finished look. Those styles are nice but our hair was also made to defy gravity, be big, and bumpy. Learn to love your hair how it naturally is and practice, practice, practice, and more practice + patience + more patience. It’s the only way you’ll learn. I hope this series is helpful to whoever is reading! #TwistOutFleeky
Things to Know Before Going Natural
Keys to Styling Success (braid outs, twist outs)
Favorite Products & Youtubers
Products to Avoid