Luckily for me, I have been natural for the 21 years that I have lived on this earth. I have never had a relaxer thankfully to my mother because at age 13/14 she still thought I was too young. In addition, she said that relaxed hair required a lot of maintenance in terms of products and money. My Natural Hair Journey is not of one returning to my roots, but one of caring and nurturing my roots. It started in 2013 due to the simple words of my friend. I was venting to him how I wanted to achieve the hair length I had when I had just started high school before my mother handed over the reigns of taking care of my hair. To which he simply replied by saying, “so why not just take care of your hair then?”. He proceeded to share with me the success stories of a few of his female classmates who had grown their hair from taking heed to a youtuber’s advice. I got the name of the channel and started doing my research on caring for my natural hair.
My mother combed my hair for almost 13 years of my life. She would shampoo, rinse, condition, detangle, rinse, and style. The style was usually small braids/plaits which would last me approximately two weeks. In addition, she ensured that my scalp was always oiled with any hair oil since it always glistened in the sun. During that time my hair was long and healthy. Then, she stopped combing it and started sending me to a hairdresser in our community. It wasn’t one of her best choices because my hair started to break off. She stylist would do tight cornrows that will break of my hairline. In addition, I would leave the style in for 4 weeks without adding moisture or retouching the style. Lastly, I would sleep with no protection over my hair at all. So eventually my ends started deteriorating leaving me with neck length hair.
In 2013, I started watching Nina Pruitt’s channel because her hair was long, thick, and curly and I had wanted to achieve that. She taught me about low manipulation hairstyles such as wash and gos and cornrows. In addition, she ensured that her hair was moisturised on a daily basis using her special concoctions. Lastly, she never skipped deep conditioning in her wash day routine. Then, I started doing more research on caring for natural black curly hair. I was learning about the inversion method, the LOC method, doing twist and braid-outs, detangling with a comb vs your fingers. I took every bit of information to incorporate into my routine. I was washing my hair every week my massaging my scalp, using loads of conditioner, combing out my hair with the comb, then adding deep conditioner, then rinsing and styling. My styles were small braids for the rest of my high school tenure like what my mother did because they didn’t require any touch up necessary. Or, I placed my hair into a bun but at the rate at which my hair was growing, and its natural thickness, I opted out of that style very often.
From many failed twist-outs at the start of university in 2015 where I would have to place my hair into a bun after seeing my hair turn in a frizz ball, I finally achieved the perfect twist out at the time. It was with the use of vo5 conditioner and eco styler gel. I felt like a queen as I walked through the university campus while everyone, especially my friends complimented my hair. Now, I have simplified my wash day routine and styling by doing the proper techniques for hair growth and length retention. As well as, using the products with natural ingredients that will improve the overall health of my natural curls. I have come a long way from buying cheap products that seem to get the job done to investing heavily into making products that work for my natural hair.
My 3-staple product for any naturalista when caring for your hair are:
1. Black Soap/Sulphate Free Shampoo. This allows your hair to be cleaned properly without the shampoo stripping away your natural hair oils.
2. Next, the Cantu Shea Deep Treatment Masque for deep conditioning. Deep conditioners allow your hair to replenish the moisture and protein that was lost throughtout the week. In addition, the product will always leave your hair feeling supple.
3. Lastly, home-made flaxseed gel or a styler. These allow you to enhance your present curl definition and manipulating the hair so that it is curlier. In addition, your hair will hold or stay in the style until the next wash day.