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Curly Girl Chronicles: Why I Went Natural
Posted on August 30, 2012
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The natural hair movement began in 2008 and has become a phenomenon ever since. Women are ending their relationships (lifelong in some cases) with relaxers to embrace their natural curls and kinks. Some women have taken on a whole new lifestyle since going natural including going vegan, and embracing what they were once ashamed of— hair that wasn’t 'fried, dyed and laid to the side'. Many black women suffered from self-esteem issues because of their skin complexion and hair texture, which makes this movement much more than a “phase” or “fad”. Black women are finally embracing their natural tresses instead of perming their hair every six weeks just to avoid waves and curls forming and the taunting that may come along with it. Besides, how is it a fad if you came out of the womb with kinks, curls or waves? 

Don’t get me wrong, every woman that has gone natural hasn’t had to deal with those issues. Many black women are taught that their hair is their crown and glory, but in some cases they spend so much time and money trying to keep their hair “laid” that they end up damaging it. Women have chosen to ditch their perms because of bad experiences or because they just got tired of having to touch up their roots and duck and dodge the rain to keep their sleek, straight style.

That’s exactly what happened to me. I began my hair care journey in May 2010. I just wanted to have healthier hair so I revamped my regimen and began wearing my hair in curly styles during the summer to avoid flat ironing because my hair + humidity = frizz. Many of my friends went natural and that made me want to explore my natural texture, but I was on the fence about it. I admit, I was nervous about the entire process and I had no clue where to start. I continued to wear my hair in flexi-rod sets and twistouts during the warmer months in 2010 and 2011. May 2011 rolled around and I was four months post-relaxer. I usually stretched my relaxers 3 or 4 months apart anyway because I didn’t like to schedule my touch-ups too close together. Besides, I liked stretching because my hair grew and it was pretty healthy after I stuck with my new regimen. In June 2011, I randomly decided not to get any more relaxers and transition to natural hair a couple of months before I graduated from college. My last relaxer was January 2, 2011. 

I really wanted to transition for at least a year before I big chopped because I didn’t feel comfortable rocking a TWA (tiny weeny afro). My breaking point was really the breakage from my ratty relaxed ends that were getting in the way. I had had it with two textures of hair being on my head so I decided to start the year off with new hair so I started all over by chopping my hair off January 2, 2012. I must say cutting my hair off was very liberating considering I had never even gave myself a trim before because I was always afraid I’d jack up my hair, but this time it was different. Natural hair gurus on Youtube and various blogs prepared me for that day. I always tell people who are going natural or who are thinking about it to take their time and do it when they’re ready. Don’t rush for anything or anybody, especially if you’re nervous about having a new look. If you’ve always been a free spirit and you don’t care about length, then I say go for it! 

The most difficult thing I had to deal with during my transition would have to be dealing with two different textures of hair and the constant breakage towards the end of my transition, but I stuck it out and chopped it off when I was ready and comfortable. Here we are 8 months later and I’m loving my hair. It’s been a major adjustment, but I love how carefree and versatile I can be with my styling. If I wanna go back to straight hair, I can straighten it (using heat protectants and cautious with the temperatures of course) or rock a wig or sew-in. The beauty of natural hair is its versatility. I haven't done a whole lot of experimenting just yet, but I love having the option to do whatever I want with it and simple techniques equal cute styles. Taking care of natural hair vs. relaxed hair is a major adjustment, but you get used to it after a while. I don't regret my decision and I believe whatever you do with your hair is a personal choice. No matter what state it's in: natural, relaxed, loc'ed, texturized, etc. healthy hair should always be top priority. 

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