Relaxed about [being] natural

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.

~Ahhh...Relaxed and natural~
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.

Braided in India! Cute look--I may go back, but not for now!
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:

Kinky-Curly, Curl Junkie, and Myhoneychild products
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!

Circa Jan 2011
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.
Look what God did!

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!!!

~Blen