I love my natural hair. I love how healthy it is and I get compliments on it all the time. Yes, it’s my real hair & no you cannot touch it! But, my hair and I haven’t always had a great relationship. And, it wasn’t always this bouncy and curly. In fact, it used to be a hot mess and it took me two years to grow it out healthy and heat-free.
Now, I am bombarded daily with questions about my hair – especially how I grew it out. So, here’s my natural hairstory and how I learned to love and get the bounce back in my curls.
I was raised in a small town in New Hampshire and I am mixed, which means I stuck out like a sore thumb in almost every environment. I have naturally tight-coiled, soft, thick curls but, in my youth, I conformed to what my peers believed was beautiful and/or accepting. I began relaxing and straightening my natural hair regularly to look more like my straight-haired friends.
I continued to struggle with my definition of beauty until I left for college in 2010. Now, my college is in no way known for being diverse, but for me, seeing students of varied ethnicities embracing their individual cultures opened my eyes. I had friends who asked me why I always wore my hair straight/in a bun and wondered what my natural hair looked like. To be honest, at that time I didn’t even know what it looked like.
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In 2012, I began my journey to natural hair. I began researching steps to go natural and discovered that the “big chop” was the way to go for me. Talk about a moment of near mental breakdown! I was already insecure about how chunky my cheeks were and now I had to cut my hair to a length that literally highlighted one of my main insecurities. Not my idea of a good time.
But, I knew that I had too much chemical and heat damage to revive the stringy, lifeless ends with just moisturizer or deep conditioners, so I waited until my natural hair grew below my ears.