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My Natural Hair Journey

It's been about two years and I've finally completed the transition from relaxed (chemically straightened) to naturally curly hair and I'm loving it. After many years, I've revealed my natural texture, a thick mass of soft curls. I've said goodbye to the days of dry, over-processed hair.

It wasn't easy. Half the battle was figuring out what to do with my hair and the other was finding just the right products to pamper my curl type (between 3B and 3C). The battle is over.

The texture has taken some getting use to. My new look is fresh and youthful. I've been told that it makes me look 10 years younger. I feel like I've been through a makeover.

I've promised myself that I'll never put another relaxer within 10 feet of my head. The biggest lesson learned is that there was no need to chemically straighten my hair in the first place. As you can see in the pic below, my blowout is as smooth and straight as when my hair was relaxed. To prevent permanent damage, I don't blow it out very often, just once every few months and I limit the amount of  heat. My blow dryer is always on the medium hot setting and my curling or flat iron is never above 400°.

2 mths ago, my last blowout

I've been relaxing my hair for most of my life. The first time my hair was relaxed was when I was 13 years old. My mom did it at home, she had mastered the art of relaxing hair without burns. I absolutely loved it and couldn't stop playing with it. It went from puffy, kinky curly to smooth, shiny, and straight in minutes. Like most little girls, I wanted the hair I didn't have. At the time, many women of color were using relaxers every 6-8 weeks.  Kinky hair was not "the look" when I was growing up in the 80's and 90's. If your hair was natural it was either because you didn't know how to relax it yourself or you didn't have the means ($$) to get it done by a hairstylist.

What made me decide to transition? I was tired. Tired of relaxing, over an hour of styling after every wash, and the many burns from my flat or curling iron. I was tired of spending so much time and money battling the dryness and breakage from over-processing.

The transition wasn't easy. It was rough at times. I had to get use to my natural texture, I didn't I have a clue what to do with it.  For months, I would look in the mirror and ask myself, what have I done? For the first six months, I was so tempted to buy a box of relaxer but I kept reminding myself that chemically straightening my hair would've been an epic fail. I had a goal and I had to stay focus.

After about 8 months, I figured it out. I sampled many curl creams, gels, shampoos, conditioners, in search for just the right level of moisture and definition to make my curls pop. My goal was to find both the easiest and fastest process to do my hair. I've succeeded, I've got the process down to 20 minutes, and it's wash-and-go. I shower, add my leave-in conditioner, then styling cream, then blow it with the diffuser attachment on a warm setting and I'm out. My new hair life is simple.

After a ton of work, my hair is back to the texture I had as a young girl. It's the hair I had before relaxers, hot combs, curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers. Before the transition, I had no idea how far I had gone. Even though it took a while, I'm so happy I had the patience to complete the transition process. The journey was worth it.

It's been totally liberating. I would have never thought I could still look professional with a head of curls but it does. The image I was portraying was not mine, it was what I felt was acceptable. But there is an exiting movement happening, one that allows everyone to be exactly as they are as long as it doesn't impede on the rights and freedoms of others.

Most of my hair appliances have been packed away. No more conservative, sleek, straight hair. No more hiding from humidity. I swim without any regrets. No more anxiety on rainy days, instead they're some of my best hair days now. I've this huge mane of soft and thick curls that make me look alive, free, and youthful. It's reliable, all mine, and I love it.

Going natural has been one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I feel fabulous and that's what matters. I'd love to hear from you. Have you made the transition? Are you considering going through the transition process?

Until next time.