• Danielle

So How Long Have You Been Natural

I have been on my natural hair journey for about 8 years now. I made the decision to grow my perm out when I was a sophomore in college. Much like many others directly after watching Chris Rocks' documentary "Good Hair". Let me tell you it has been a long road for this mane of mine and I'm still learning the best way to care for my type of hair.

I typically get questions like so when did you do the big chop and with an almost embarrassed face I say well I didn't. When I transitioned out of my perm I wore weaves or protective styles and just let my hair grow out while my stylist would gradually cut it as it grew. Looking back on it now I should have just cut it off but, at that time I for sure didn't have the confidence I have now. Being 19 and still in college where it was already a hassle to maintain a regular hair appointment cutting it completely off wasn’t an option. For about 2 years straight I wore weaves I think I was maybe in my 2nd semester before graduation when I stopped with the weaves and just did a regular blow dry and straighten. I honestly was shocked by how long and healthy my hair felt I hadn’t seen it that long since maybe middle school.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how my now virgin hair would hold up with the weather. Before I didn’t have problems with my hair and humidity because it was chemically straight, boy was I in for a rude awakening. I would have to keep hair ties on my wrist at all times because just the walk from my apartment to campus on a warm morning would ruin my hair. I was like is this really what I’m going to have to deal with; was it even worth growing my perm out if I was just going to wear it straight anyways. I came to find out that during those summer months protective styles were key so I would rock twists or braids and learned to knot the perfect turban.

Maybe after a year after I graduated college I decided to stop straightening my hair all together and try to wear it just natural. It was at that very moment when I realized why my mom gave me a perm in the first place my hair is extremely thick and kinky. I was like whoa what the hell am I going to do with this, so to youtube I went. I saw tutorials for bantu knots and twist outs and I figured this should be easy. Yeah right I was wrong as hell doing it wasn’t hard but the outcome was never like the girl in the video.

Lets just say my hair and I have been through every trial and error. Trying this product, that product, over moisturizing, under moisturizing, washing hair in reverse (conditioner first then shampoo) co-washing just everything trust me I have tried. Trying to classify my type of hair to find the best products because they say it should work. This is what I typically tell people who have made the decision to transition it’s all about trial and error what works for me may not work for you. One thing for me is I have multiple textures of hair and it’s not from any type of heat or chemical damage it’s just the way it is. So I have finally found a formula that works for me.

1 Shampoo

2 Apple cider vinegar rinse (sit for 3- minutes with cap, rinse out)

3 Conditioner (sit for 10 minutes with cap, rinse out)

4 Mixture of raw coconut oil and Jamaican Black Castor oil as a conditioner (30 minutes with cap rinse out)

5 Leave in Detangling conditioner

6 Your choice of hair oil for strength

7 Your choice of styling moisturizer

8 Style and go

Now I know this sounds like a long process and it is but as most natualistas know “wash-day” is a process and required an allotted amount of time but you will be glad you did. For me following this method leaves my hair with amazing definition which, is what you want for a nice wash and go.

Quick tips:

Be sure to always detangle your hair from the bottom-up with a wide tooth comb it won’t ruin your curls trust me I use to think the same. When watching tutorials know that results may vary I don’t think my hair has ever come out like a tutorial but I know flat twist out works best for me. Just know throughout you journey you’ll discover what’s best for you.

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