I went natural, chemical free, about eight years ago. I did it for many reasons. At the time I felt straight hair was boring, my scalp was having issues from the chemicals, and I was ready for something different. Before going natural I was still permed and had a really cute pixie cut, but anyone who has had short hair knows that it takes maintenance. Weekly visits to the shop which can be expensive!
Perusing the internet for braid styles, I came across a natural hair blogger/vlogger by the name of Glamazini. Her hair was gorgeous. Long, thick, and her styling was amazing. I thought, I could do this. She made it look easy. I had decided, natural hair it was. I didn’t big chop, I transitioned. I was new to this, not true to this so I opted for what I felt was the easier route. It was interesting, coily strands and straight strands and I wasn’t very good at styling yet.
I can remember coming across a picture from Valentines Day, and I was newly natural. It was one of my first attempts at a bantu knot twist out. I looked like Tracy damn Chapman! Now don’t blast me, I love her look but 1) I didn’t have dreads (but you couldn’t tell), and 2) That was NOT the look I was going for. If I find the picture I’ll add it later. I was out here in these streets looking a mess and you couldn’t tell me nothin’.
Here is what they don’t tell you about natural hair, it is work! People think, cool, I don’t have to go to the salon. I can maintain my hair at home, save a few coins. Lies, lies, and more lies I tell you. You spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars trying to find products that work for your hair. Big chop or transition. Co-wash or shampoo. Hours and hours of detangling. Little demon knots at the ends of single hair strands. Deep conditioning. Twist out vs braid out. Shrinkage. The absolute most.
I thought about going back to the creamy crack several times but I loved the way my natural hair made me feel, even with all of the work. I believe, in the black community when I was growing up, there was no “love your natural hair” movement. Curly/mixed hair meant good hair, and coily 4c type hair meant nappy and bad.
I remember being a small child getting my hair pressed. Burns to the neck and ear with butter as the burn ointment. I even had a doggone jheri curl before the age of seven. I get it, trends, but what if…My natural hair got lots of different reactions, some positive, some negative, but I was committed.
Now I don’t know if I was experiencing an early mid-life crisis, but I had been looking at pics online of natural short haircuts. This was pre that nifty little sponge that curls the hair. Disclaimer, my hair type is 4c and if 5c existed, it would be that. These pics online were cute. I wasn’t considering hair types when I decided to cut mine off. Ya’ll, he handed me that damn mirror and I was excited and befuddled at the same time. Excited because I did it, and befuddled because it looked nothing like the google images.
I went home super excited to show my family. I walked through the door, my girl was sitting on the couch and my daughter was standing. I yelled, surprise guys. They looked and they just stared. That quickly turned into uncontrollable laughter. I’m laughing as I type this. My girl said I looked like Florida Evans from Good Times.
My hair texture when cut was like pubic hair. Not the soft kind, the taco meat kind. Yes folks, all textures are beautiful but this was ridiculous. I never got it touched up or cut again, but I rocked it until it grew back. At times I get tired because like I said, it’s work. I’ve straightened it a couple of times and every time I do, I feel a little less black, less authentic. ME people, how it makes ME feel. My natural hair has become a spiritual experience for me. It’s helped me with my self-esteem and embrace the natural ME.
Now whether you rock a fro, a twist out, a press, a perm, a weave, braids, or a fade you’re still beautiful!
Locs soon come…
Until next time…♥