Why I’m Still Natural

I did my Big Chop March 2012 and my new short ‘do was completely new to me. While it was foreign having relatively no hair it was the change I needed after dealing with my previous broken, uneven hair. As my hair grew it formed its curls and coils and I kept up with its changing needs. Now, at nearly 19 months my hair has gone through a number of styles and products.

Do I ever have thoughts of returning to relaxing my hair? Yep. But they’re usually nightmares. Never have I thought of returning to relaxing my hair because honestly, I can achieve the straight look without slathering my hair in chemicals. If I get tired of dealing with my hair I’ll take some time to put it in mini-twists that will stay out of my way for a week. Or I’ll put some long-term twists in or box braids but what’s nice is that I have options.

The only time I get hair anxiety is on wash day. The process of actually washing my hair doesn’t take too long but it’s taking care of it afterwards that is critical and time consuming. I know better than to wash my hair too late or I won’t want to stay up and do it. I also like to leave time to deep condition so I give myself enough time to do it all. I know once I do my hair I’m setting myself up for a less tangled week which I will only thank myself for later on.

I stay natural because my hair is no longer something I have to ‘deal with’. My hair is something I nurture. I’m not going to pretend it’s all rainbows and sunshine. I have my share of tangles, single strand knots, multiple strand knots, dry, crunchy ends, but I am so equipped with knowledge, tools and products that help me get my hair to the best it can be.

I’m excited to see what my hair is capable of. I don’t have an ultimate goal but I like that strands that stopped above my eyebrows now reach my chin.

I get the occasional comment about how long my hair would be if I straightened it. I like that I have the option to wear my hair short and curly or long and straight. I really do.

Happy Rocco

If you don’t mind, I have some questions for you out there:
Do you ever feel the pull to return to chemically straightening your hair?

What keeps you natural?

A Reflection—9 Months Natural

So I’ve been natural for 9 months today. What a journey!

Here are some stages of my natural hair.

First 3 Months.
My hair was easy as pie. I was still getting used to seeing myself in the mirror with hair like my brother’s. A good scalp massage was all I needed and I just had to make sure it was moisturized. I didn’t need a shower cap and although I didn’t co-wash every day, I did let it get wet in the shower. Wash and Go’s were my best friend. If I didn’t shower that day, I just spritzed with water, massaged my scalp and allowed what little curls I had to spring up. No biggie. I slept with a satin cap to keep my ends safe and that was pretty much all I needed. I didn’t bother wearing headbands, clips or anything. I recognized how simple my hair routine was, realized that point was the easiest it would probably ever be and I took advantage of that fact.

3-6 Months
What’s this I see? Now I was sporting a not-so-teeny-weeny afro. It was long enough to twist and I did have to work some tangles out with my fingers. I was now wearing headbands, bows and other accessories. It mostly stayed out of my way and I didn’t feel the need to have it constantly stretched. I still rocked a mean Wash and Go. I did notice though, that if I rocked WnG’s without combing through my conditioner-covered strands in the shower I would get these little thick coils. Mostly on my right side for some reason. But those little coils were just itchin’ to make their own locs and since that wasn’t the direction I was going in I made sure to comb through those curls and separate them. At this point I noticed my curl patterns were most distinguishable. Twist-outs were still fun to do when I had time but otherwise I left my curls alone.

6-9 Months
My hair is now at the length that if I have it in a twist/braid-out or otherwise have it stretched I can feel it resting on my ears and my neck. I hadn’t felt that in forever. One of the things I had to get used to after my Big Chop was having bare ears/neck. But now my hair is finding its way back. It’s great but it does take more thinking and planning. I prefer having it in a stretched style. So I will often sleep in twists or braids. At the 8.5 month mark I noticed I was dealing with too many tangles and I didn’t want that so I trimmed my ends. Exactly what it needed. I can run my fingers through a section and they’re not getting caught or tangled up.
Also with my hair gaining length I find myself able to wear actual styles. I can twist and pins my bangs and wear my hair ‘down’ or ‘up’. It’s pretty exciting. I can’t wait til I can wear a bun!

Some things that have changed are:
1) Wash and go’s are not my best friend anymore—Feeling my hair in its completely shrunken state means a) I will need to detangle and braid my hair at some point and b) this is one day hair. I don’t find myself wearing W&G’s for more than a day. My hair gets flat in the night and then bringing back the curls the next morning? Pass.

2) I find myself scheduling my hair-time and considering styles or washes days in advance—I need to wash my hair this week? Maybe Saturday or Sunday morning? Then I can braid it and have it dry for work in the afternoon. Oh, I have to ride my bike to work.. not wearing a twist-out fro because I have to fit a helmet on that… hm…

3) I prefer having my hair separated and taken care of before bed—I don’t like going to sleep with my hair out. I feel like it’s protected and also resting when its twisted or braided up. I just oil and moisturize my hair and put about 9 braids in, put my cap on go to sleep. Next morning I feel like I have more options with my hair.

One thing I have in mind for 2013? Protective styles. Hopefully January or February I will be able to purchase and install Havana Twists. I like the way they look, I like that my hair is put away and I feel like I could install them on my own.

This natural hair journey has been a great learning experience. I have made mistakes and learned from them. I have watched others and learned from them. I’ve really learned to listen to myself though. I do my hair up at night before I’m too tired and want to ignore them. I trim my ends and notice how much healthier and less tangled they are.

It will always be a process but it’s fun, what more can I ask for? 🙂

Stay inspired and happy Friday!