I have yet to name myself as a naturalista; there is no altruistic or holistic reason for my decision to transition to natural. My journey wasn’t because I was bored with my hair, but more so for personal enrichment. Back in 2008 I came across a scripture that was brought back to my remembrance this time last year, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14) and it was then that I just knew that I needed to embark upon this journey. This post isn’t meant to be dramatic or to a condensed Eat, Pray, Love adventure, but I am learning to not only love, but take care of myself and to, not redefine, not change, but expand my definition of beautiful. As the saying goes we are our own worst critics, and not that I ever harshly judge my physical, but I wanted to appreciate and rely on what God as already given me and to refer back to it.
Another motivating factor was that I had gotten into the mindset of thinking marriage and kids, and wanted to be a hypocrite when I tell my futures daughter’s that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” that they don’t need chemicals, makeup, nor extravagant processes to feel and be beautiful. I kept picturing curly-haired cuties that could admire their curls as an extension of their mother’s hair and know that when I said they are beautiful, that it is meant, without hypocrisy or exception to my beauty standards.
I have never struggled to grow out or to have thick hair, so embarking on this path wasn’t for the sake of redeeming my hair quality. However, I cannot tell you what my natural hair is like, there aren’t even pictures of it anywhere (aside from pictures of me looking like the Gerber baby or Tweety Bird), so I decided to take this time to capture it all. I do this all for myself to see how far I’ve come and to have a reference, but if you were looking for a transition in progress with details from start to finish this is it. Here you can explore my journey to find an affordable and effective haircare system to complement my curls; I have reviewed Carol’s Daughter Cleansing Conditioner, L’Oreal EverCurl System, Mielle Organics line, and others. I have tried, black tea/ACV rinses, African black soap, pre-pooing, and deep conditioning, and my thoughts on them run rampant on this site. Some more of my thoughts on follow, mostly as a reminder to myself of how much I’ve grown along with my hair…
My advice for anyone amidst their transition or wanting to begin their’s: First, to be patient with yourself and with your hair. Your hair is having as rough a time as you are, can you just imagine the shock you are putting it through? From over-washing/under-washing in the beginning to overworking or over-processing it with new products and masks and DIY treatments, to overworking/manipulating it with rods, clips, twists, and other stressful hairstyles. Your hair will act the way you treat it, respect it and be patient; it too, like a child can tell when it is loved. Secondly, low buns, ponytails, pigtails, and braids without heavy or damaging extensions ARE your friend. I was always okay with my hair being plain, as long as it is healthy, therefore I was okay with alternating between low buns and Princess Leia buns. I get that those styles aren’t for everyone, but be consistent and be gentle with your hair. Never act out of anger, frustration, or be hurried; I learned that this takes a toll on you hair and leaves you ultimately upset or disappointed. Thirdly, it’s okay for others not to see your vision and not to appreciate it, but never mistake for one second that they should respect it! Fourthly, hair grows at different rates and genetics play a major role in not only texture, but achievable length (I know this isn’t what most people want to hear), so there is not magic shampoo or other hair product that will defy science and make your hair do something it’s not intended to do. Finally, just enjoy the process and document it, even the failures and the bad hair days, because those are going to be the best to look back on. The day will come when your hair is done transitioning and you are going to want to have trophies of your battles and victories.
I am by no means an expert, as made clear by this post. I still do my due diligence by watching YouTube tutorials and visiting natural hair blogs. This is just one girl’s discovery of her own truth, which is what I think we all search for in life, a sort of self-actualization. From my education to my career to my lifestyle, it’s all a journey that I am glad to be apart of; here’s to a time capsule of hair memories that will hopefully grow and expand in the years to come!
11th month shots: