So I have been ‘natural’ for 2 years now– 2 years, 3 months to be exact. What does this mean? It’s simply the date I stopped using chemical relaxers in my hair. And what an adventure it has been.
Towards the end of 2011 I was still taking a ton of medication for my illness which were adversely affecting my hair in many ways– it had a lack of growth, strength, thickness, shine. So, I decided to stop doing two things.
First, I weaned myself off of box relaxers. Back then I had a bad habit of picking up a perm every time I went grocery shopping like it was frickin, water or something. And I was on chemotherapy, taking 20+ pills a day at that point. I had no business! Although it seemed like it should have been a smooth, simple transition for me–it wasn’t. I had no clue how to take care of my hair in its natural state (3C curls). I had not worn my curly hair since I was 5 years old.
Second thing that had to stop was my obsession with dyeing my hair. Though I didn’t use bleach, I did color my hair at least twice a month with ammonia-based box kits. Over time this had completely fried my edges and I had to trim my hair more often than usual because of my large amounts of breakage and split ends.
After a few trial and error DAYS of trying to let my real hair breathe, I decided it was time to get a sew-in weave for the first time. Yup, this was my very first time.
With doctor visits, hospital stays, and just pure constant tiredness and exhaustion (from being sick) I didn’t pay as much attention to my natural hair as I should have. I switched out my styles and got a couple of more sew-ins over the course of a few months, but I not once paid attention the the overall health of my real hair, hiding underneath.
After 10 months of living on my own in another city, by March 2012 I had moved back in with my parents. I needed to fill my free time, so I happened to score a part-time gig at the offices of Texture Media, which has two websites- naturallycurly.com and curlynikki.com. Working here, without a doubt, influenced me to go ahead and “big chop”. I had access to an abundance of haircare products, so there was no reason why at this point I shouldn’t have been taking proper care of my hair.
However, my illness was still getting the best of my energy. It took me a couple of months before I went and did another big chop around May 2012. That’s when I started really paying attention to my mane and caring for it. I wanted to retain some length, so between summer 2012 and today (spring 2014) I’ve only gotten probably four good trims.
Now I can proudly say– I am so excited about the health of my hair! Writing content for a company that is completely dedicated to curly, natural-haired folks who focus so much on healthy hair–it was inevitable that I started doing the same. Each day I’m learning new techniques and ‘tricks of the trade’ on how to make the most of my curly spirally hair. And I love it.
Wearing my hair with confidence has to be one of the biggest smiles my soul has given me in a long time.