As a 4C Naturalista, I have always considered my hair as thick, nappy, and unmanageable. For as long as I can remember, I have had my hair pressed and relaxed. Through the years my hair has resisted any and all attempts to keep it straight. Relaxers would only last for a maximum of 4 weeks before requiring a much needed touch-up, and straightening it with a pressing comb would only keep my hair straight for a maximum of three days. This created a vicious cycle that left my hair short, thinned, damaged, and unhealthy. Although, I knew that relaxers were extremely toxic, It felt as if it was a necessary evil that I had to endure to have beautiful hair. This left me feeling trapped. I have never liked feeling boxed in. So I would frequently get protective styles to allow my hair to heal and re-grow. Every time my hair would heal I would reluctantly go back and get another relaxer. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.
In 2011, I decided to stop the insanity. I cut the majority of my hair and alternated protective styles for the next two years in order to transition to natural hair. By 2013, my hair had grown significantly. In August, I grew tired of alternating between braids and weaves. At this time more and more women were embracing there natural hair. However, I was scared as I did not know how my hair would look in its natural state. With the help of an amazing friend and long time Nautralista, I was able to venture outside of my comfort zone. She introduced me to You Tube videos, and Vlogger Naptural85. Through a series of trial and error she mentored me through my first natural hair wash, detangle, and twist-out. I was finally able to leave the braids behind, and embrace my natural hair. It has now been four years. My natural hair journey has not always been easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are the top 4 reasons why I transitioned.
1. Self Love
Up until recent years, having thick, coarse, untamed natural hair felt as if it was unacceptable. For as long as I could remember I had been relaxing my hair to feel beautiful. As I got older, I began to feel as if I was not being true to myself. After all why wasn’t my God given natural hair good enough. How could I teach my pre-teen daughter to love herself, if I couldn’t lead by example.
As a long time Nurse, I am well aware of the dangers of relaxers. Despite all of it’s dangers the desire to fit in trumped its toxic health effects until I began to research the toxins in hair products. Our skin and hair have a strong ability to absorb anything thats applied to its surface. Everything that we apply to our hair is absorbed into our bloodstream. Knowledge is power. When you know better you do better. I could no longer turn a blind eye and continue to apply chemicals and products that placed my health at risk.
Time is very precious and we need to spend it wisely. Hairstylists are often very busy managing multiple clients. As a result we are often left to sit and wait for an undetermined amount of time. Through the years, I’ve had to wait anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to get my hair done, only to have my hairstyle last for a maximum of two days. Most of my friends hairstyle would last up to at least 1.5 to 2 weeks, but not me. This process was very frustrating as my hairstyles did not last long enough to equal the amount of time and money I invested. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back I feel as if my hair was trying to tell me to do better. I finally listened and transitioned to my natural hair. Aside from braids, I have not gone to a stylist in over four years.
Through the years I have spent thousands with hair stylists for relaxers, braids and weaves. As with inflation, the cost has incrementally increased through the years. As a 4C Naturalist, I have extremely thick hair that has always been resistant to relaxers. On average a relaxer is supposed to last for approximately 6-8 weeks. However, my hair only lasted for a maximum of 4 weeks. This caused me to have more frequent relaxer touch ups. Translation cha-ching. In the fours years since I started my natural hair journey, I have yet to return to a hair stylist. Aside from occasionally getting braids I have saved a tremendous amount of money.