COCOACHERA

Getting Back to My Roots: My Natural Hair Journey

I decided to go natural out of sheer curiosity. I had no philosophical reason or life-changing event that happened to me. I just wanted to see if I could do it. Well as you can see from the left photo above, I succeeded. Going natural was one of the best things I have done for myself. I have no regrets. I love my curls! Here is a look at my journey.

I drew influence from my significant other, as he had been doing his natural thing for years. Watching and learning from him, I discovered that I was beginning to build up a resistance to doing things in the original way I had been raised (brainwashed) to do as a child. So I decided that I wanted to see if there indeed was any truth to this “being natural thing.”

The First Six Months

I began transitioning in December 11, 2015. That was the last time I chemically relaxed my hair. In case you are not familiar with what a relaxer is, click this link for more information. I was already relaxing my hair four times a year or every 12 weeks, so stopping really wasn’t a big deal to me because I was used to it. In the first few months I watched a lot of YouTube beauty bloggers, like Mahogany Curls and tutorials on transitioning and the GlamTwinz do’s and don’ts. They discussed protective styling, deep conditioning and stressed using NO HEAT.

These things were not difficult to implement either because I was already protective styling in between relaxers, I deep conditioned every single time I washed and I had already cut back on heat. For being a relaxed haired girl, my hair was relatively healthy, except that it wasn’t. Every time, I put that creamy crack on my roots I was killing my hair. Ponder that for a moment.

The Next Seven to Fifteen Months

Although, this period was the hardest, I was a pro. I had learned to successfully do a couple of styles that looked decent. I discovered head wraps, which are still my favorite go-to on a lazy day, but wash days were still a struggle. Wash day is a term used by many of us curlies because the process can be somewhat long, depending on what you like to do for your hair and the length of your hair. My then hair routine consisted of shampooing every 3 weeks, using a rinse out conditioner, deep conditioning and styling using the LOC, which stands for leave-in, oil and cream; or LCO method. Detangling was a nightmare and sometimes I was frustrated so badly that I wanted to pull it all out.

Despite this, I was learning things about my hair that I never knew were important like hair porosity and hair types. I learned about the line of demarcation and hair in it’s most delicate state. I discovered that my hair hates coconut oil, unlike so many who have raved about it, for me it just didn’t work.

The Final Stretch: Last 16 Months and Counting 

I installed braids for the first time in my life, all on my own, because I refused to pay someone to do something I could do. Since I’d learned all of the other stuff, I figured why not? I kept them in for 3 weeks and when I took them out it was time to do away with the rest of the straight ends. I felt like it was the moment in the Lion King where Rafikki tells Simba, “it is time.” **laughing hysterically** Yes that was me. I went to the Dominican’s the next day and cut it all off!

I did it! I felt light, liberated and scared. I had never cut my hair that short before in my life and that was my second time ever cutting it, period. I was afraid of what people would think. Did it look ugly? Would my texture change? Would my boyfriend like it? Would my mother approve? And I was scared for nothing because they all loved it. Eh, well my mom, she liked it but it took her a minute to really come around. I did not need the approval of others, but it helped me to gain my confidence back more quickly. I was excited because I’d finally be able to do all of the stuff I’d watched in the videos and get real results. I quickly became a product junkie.

I love my hair now in it’s natural state. I never imagined how much more strong, confident, beautiful and sexy I would feel.

If you are transitioning or thinking about doing it, here of some tips that might help you in your journey. I am not an expert. These are just some of the things I did that worked for me.

  1. Don’t get caught up in what other women’s hair looks like or their hair type. Love your hair type, nurture it and it will blossom.
  2. Get a wash day routine and stick with it. Consistency is the key and will help you make this a habit.
  3. Don’t overdue it with products. You still have two textures. So, know that products that may have worked on your relaxed hair, may not work on your natural hair.
  4. Make the switch to sulfate-free products and naturally derived products. The whole point of going natural is to stop using chemicals. Learn to read the ingredients and know what to look for. Shea Moisture, Eden BodyWorks and Curls are a few great ones to start with. Also, Mielle Organics, is one of my faves. These are all black-owned businesses, by the way. Please support them.
  5. You will be frustrated, but take a breath. Use the head wraps and protective styles to give yourself and your hair a break. Playing in your hair to much will damage it.
  6. By all means, absolutely NO HEAT and deep condition weekly. This is REQUIRED.

I hope this helps you. Write me or comment below. Good luck!

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