Happy 2011 all!!
I apologize for my extended absence! Between the holidays and me getting the flu, I’ve been out of commission. But thank God I’m back!
My first post is out of a request and support–(shout-out to Tanya, Wendy, Wanda, Liz, Dorian and Nati) about going natural! I thought I’d share some of my story to answer some questions and encourage those thinking about it.
I don’t think I’ve seen more that a couple of months worth of new growth since I was about 12, when “press and curl” went out and the relaxers/”curly kits” went in. Yep…I had a gherri curl up to 1996! Hey, I LOVED it!
I’m “over 29” now, and unlike many women, I don’t have much in the way of horror stories about my hair and scalp being damaged from relaxers, thank God. I have always tried to get my hair done professionally and regularly in part because I’m “ok” at doing my own hair, but more so because it is such a big part of my image and self-confidence (hey, if your hair doesn’t look good, YOU don’t feel like you look good), that I made the investment into getting it done, thanks to the ideals my parents instilled in me.
So why natural you say? My hairdresser, Wendy (Taj Beauty Salon, Hartford, CT) had been encouraging me for years to go natural, but I was fearful of what that meant. I was thinking huge ‘fro with a pic in it or Florida Evans from “Good Times.” I was a young kid when afros were popular, so that’s what I remember! Yes, it may sound unlearned, but that’s where I was–just being honest. The other thing was I didn’t want to draw attention or have to “explain” my hair to anyone. Certain people are curious about our hair and I honestly don’t like a lot of unnecessary attention they draw to it.
But after thinking about it, and doing some research, I thought, let me try to make it past the relaxer point (wearing a bob weave) and see what happens. That was March, 2010. I was feeling encouraged and continued with a couple of curly weaves, (May-July) two rounds of braids (August-Oct) and one of kinky twists (November-December).
I was going for another round of twists, but decided that I needed to give my hair a break. Plus, I was tired of ALL that hair. Wendy cut off about 3 inches or so of remaining relaxer and now I am all natural (about 4 inches or so). That was Dec 21, 2010.
I will say I initially got my hair blown straight, partially because I had ordered some products and they were not coming till after the the 2nd week of January. I spent WEEKS researching what I THINK will work best with my hair, but I know that’s all subject to change. The other thing was I was NOT ready to deal with comments about the “shorter-haired” me.
I spoke to a couple of people about going natural and some of the comments were “oh, Lord”; “I need to see it–another person did that and she looks a mess”. My favorite was “….you will need you to straighten that [your hair] out……a girl cut all her hair off …..and we were like “ewwww” behind her back. She can’t be in charge of……. with her hair looking like that.”
UMMM HELLO?! And these comments from people my age–totally unexpected! I will admit that I have seen some naturals that need some assistance, and while people are entitled to their opinions, the way they were expressed were petty, mean-spirited and uncalled for! But that’s ok, I still love them! I have support from my wonderful relatives, good friends and my fabulous Twitter, FB and YouTube family. I’m also noticing more natural sisters on TV and in magazines–it’s like we are part of a sisterhood!
So a few weeks into natural, this is what I’ve discovered:
I don’t need a harsh shampoo. I used Jessie Curls (NOT Miss Jessie’s) shampoo creme–it cleanses without stripping. I also used Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana Moisturizing Deep Fix Conditioner. I NEED glycerin and water to soften my moisturize my parched curls. I read about/heard many mixed comments about glycerin, so I avoided it–BIG mistake. So now, I have a small spray bottle with a 75/25% glycerin/rosemary water mix. (I just took a few springs of fresh rosemary with a pot of water, boiled and cooled it), and it works great! If you want, you can add a few drops of your fav essential oil. I like Lemongrass and Peppermint Oils–it smells good and tingly!
As far as products, I did get some and am still experimenting. I like Kinky-Curly Leave in Conditioner and Kinky-Curly Curling Custard, (KCLI and KCCC)but it dries a little hard, so I may be using too much. I’ll adjust and keep you posted.
I also use Curl Junkie Coffee Coco Curling Creme which is creamy and quenches my thirsty curls big time. I am still working on trying to properly define my curls..my hair shrinks up A LOT, and I’d like to get a little more volume (at least at the crown) if possible. I welcome any suggestions!
This week, I did a twist out with my dry and detangled hair using KCCC and My Honey Child Moisturizing and Control hair creme (for type 3 and 4 hair–yes, the hair typing system was helpful to me, so I could understand my hair better). One side was a little frizzier that I would have liked, but overall very cute, thank God! I slept on it (with a satin cap) and I haven’t played with it today just yet, but yesterday’s results made me really happy and ready to ditch my hat! 🙂 I also use Shea butter and jojoba oil to keep my hair and scalp moisturized without harmful petroleum or mineral oils.
So my advice is to research at naturallycurly.com or nappurality.com, check out YouTube (my faves are so far are curlynugrowth, seemyhealthyhair, NaturalhairGrwthShow and CoilsKinksCurls) and experiment! I am not a relaxer-basher—I loved them for years! I will say, though that I like the idea of curly hair without the “Soul Glow” effect. It IS taking some time to get it down and that CAN be frustrating, trust me!!! But in the final analysis I made the right decision–Yay natural!!!
Thanks for your love, support and please feel free hit me up with questions or comments!
God bless you!!!
14 thoughts on “Relaxed about [being] natural”
I told you you would love the natural hair styles with your own natural hair….welcome the natural hair girls club.
Thanks SO much Tangiela. I SO appreciate your kind comments and support, my friend! Still trying to get the formula down, but that will come in time.
This is great….. so proud of you!! I really enjoyed this.
You look wonderful… my dear
T-Rile is in the house! Thanks so much honey…you were a big supporter and inspiration…remember how you told me you washed, conditioned and put your hair in a ponytail in the summer? I remember thinking–“I wish I could do that”. Hopefully in time I will!!!
Hey sis, Love it Love it! Your hair looks so great and healthy. I’m happy for you! One product that seems to work REALLy well for my hair is Mixed Chicks. I use the shampoo and leave in conditioner. The leave in dries a little hard, but once you touch it, it softens up really nice and defines like every curl you have. Anyone that has naturally curly hair can use it. I’m out of it right now, and am itching to get it lol lol I had to do my hair in ponytails (which i’m trying to break from too) until my order comes in. Can’t wait to use it again:)
Sorry for the late reply, but, folks I saw her hair with Mixed Chicks products and it was BEAUTIFUL!!!! I wish I had thought to take a snap as my friends in India say! Once I use what I have here, I will be looking into that….I also have a couple of samples, so maybe I will bust them out! LOL!!
Thanks for the compliment…I was a little scare-ded to let the curls out, but it’s time for me to let them make their debut! And it looks like Liz, Wanda and Nay (our friends at church, readers) are following suit! I LOVE it!!
Thanks, Naty (HUG)
Hey Blen, absolutely LOVE the blog!!! I am a “newbie” and am still transitioning, but, I have 6 months of new growth!! My last relaxer was in July 2010 and I won’t look back. I could tell you some horror stories about my hair journey!! My hair can’t tolerate chemicals. I had a jerri curl too (yep! Lol) and then decided to walk away and try a relaxer. My hair would not grow and I resulted to finding “solace” in extensions, weaves,etc. Unfotunately, continued led to hair breakage and I even had to go see a dermatologist for a bout with scalp irritation. My decision to go natural started two years ago,but I was too afraid of how my Husband would react. I finally brought up my “natural idea” with my hubby and he loved the idea! I don’t know why I waited so long!!! Going natural was one of the greatest decisions I ever made!! I love the freedom I have with my hair now and how healthy it looks and feels. This is an awesome experience and can’t wait to see how long my hair will be @ my “one year” anniversary!!! Thanks for sharing your journey! Love, Tanyel
Thanks for you SUPER comments and congrats on your decision to go natural! (I saw her pics, ya’ll–she was ALWAYS beautiful, and this just iced the cake even more!!!) You and I transitioned about the same length of time, so we’ll have to celebrate our natural birthdays over some shea butter! LOLOLOLOL!!
It’s so WONDERFUL that you have support from the hubby! (I knew you would–he’s a great guy). My question is how have the reactions been from others you come in contact with (work, friends, church, etc.) As I mentioned in my post, I was just telling a few YOUNG folks and got the “side eye”. I didn’t poke the eye (lol), but I wondered if the unlearned-ness was regional, more happening for our older friends, etc. I think with some of the older folks, the old mindset is we should straighten our “nappy heads” but I think that’s just because they didn’t know better and we didn’t have the proper products. Afro Sheen, Dax and Royal Crown wasn’t gonna work! LOL!!!
So if you care to share any experiences you may have had, please let me know.
So sorry for my delayed response…last week was a little crazy! 🙂 So far, I’ve received positive responses from everyone. Alot of women admire the fact that I was “brave” enough to go natural. Some say that they just can’t do it right now, funny, I say the same thing about relaxers. I JUST CAN’T DO IT RIGHT NOW! WOOSA, I SAID IT!
Ok, I digress, but, seriously, some view this as a trend or a fad, but, for me its freedom. I’ve spent some sleepless nights trying to figure out what I was doing wrong with my hair. I finally consulted with my hair stylist and she suggested I give the “natural” journey a try…so I did. She said I have “good hair” and that my hair would probably love the break from having chemicals. She was right…so glad I made the decision.
I’ve received more and more compliments and especially from the hubby. Of course, his opinion is what REALLY counts ;-). I even had a woman stop me this past weekend and say “you are stunning”. Wow, what a compliment!!!
Still there are others who give me the “side eye” (mainly the older crowd), so far, no real response. I did tell my mom about my decision and she definitely supports my natural decision. Of course, she said she also said she’s not ready either! LOL
Ok, I often find I’m anxious to see how long my hair will get. Have you noticed any growth, Blen?
Thanks for commenting! Glad you got a good support system and not too much flack. 🙂
As far as growth, I just took my kinky twists out last month, so I’m not sure…I pulled out a couple of pieces that looked longer, but I don’t know if it’s just wishful thinking! Lol! One YouTuber twists her hair dry and then picks it out every three months to check length. I like that idea and may do something similar. I really need to work on my edges…they aren’t as strong as I’d like and seem a little thinner to
me— that probably came from all the over-manipulation with weaves, braids and the like. But that’s ok…hair victory is coming!
I will say my hair is much thicker and feels healthier! Its a little work to keep up, but it’s “good work”. I also enjoy reading articles on naturallycurly.com on how to upkeep and how things like coffee
rinses and honey conditioners work well in natural hair.
I’m hoping by the end of May, Lord will, to have a lot more
growth..maybe to get a small ponytail. It’s kind of cool to see all those curls…God made them so pretty! Can you believe we permanently straightened them all these years?
Well now that we know different we can do different! 🙂
I am SO delighted you came by! Your comments blessed us!
Last Paragraph, I meant to say: “she said she’s not ready either!” 🙂
Ok so FINALLY I found the right combo that works great for my curly hair. Carol’s Daughter Tui Herbal Shampoo, Tui Hair Smoothie, Mixed Chicks leave in conditioner and finish with Carols Daughter Tui Jojoba and Shea Butter Sheen. LOVE IT! I’m sticking to it. So bye bye Pantene and whatever else I was trying 🙂 And BIG Thanks to Jessica V. for CD product recommendations)
Thanks for sharing…I was going to ask you again for the combo. 😀 It’s a wonderful blessing to find product(s) that work for your hair! Since curly is all new to me, I’m working my way through some of the products I have. I was always a product junkie, so this new ‘do doesn’t help! Lol! But your combo sounds like a winner! I was reading abot Mixed Chicks just this weekend…people are raving about them. I’m a HUGE Carol’s daughter fan (her Hair Detox line is fabulous–I used it when I was relaxed!), so I’m anxious to try it. It’s also nice I can go buy it, rather than order it. Woot, woot!
Thanks SO much for the info, Naty! Muah!
You’re very welcome 🙂 I’m just so happy I’m done with my search. Let me know when you try Mixed Chicks leave in. Usually I think it’s better to air dry, but until it gets warm enough outside you can diffuse. I just use the regular blowdryer when i’m in a rush. HIGH AIR, LOW HEAT. And it still comes out great. I bought the huge 1 liter bottle so I don’t run out of the leave in as fast.
A friend at work told me there’s a salon in New Haven that sells MC products, so next time I can just pick it up instead of ordering online. WOOHOO!! And I can go to Sephora for my CD products!