I have had my hair in its ‘natural state’ as God himself gave it to me, since October 2013. Prior to that I was very wishy-washy about my hair care. From a young age, I remember the many various ways I would convince my mother to deal with my course tresses-even braiding it whilst I was sleeping, was one of the ways to avoid the pain, In the end I had just settled for ‘beauty is pain’ and endured the many visits to the ghetto salons, the countless rude comments of ‘your hair is breaking’ which would be comforted with product pushing from the salon manager.
From chemical relaxers, braids, curls, beads etc you name it I had it. To put it simply, I hated the process of doing my hair, I did it because I wanted to look nice and fit in, but more importantly it wasn’t worth the ‘look’ I would get from my mother if I walked out the house looking a shambles. But it was the summer of 2000; I finished junior school –when I spent six weeks without putting one single comb or brush through my hair. It was my rebellious stage with my hair-until September 1st rolled around and I was back in the salon chair receiving hair related abuse and I left with a shiny forehead and a face-lift at age 11.
Since then, I have had many looks and styles with my hair. Truthfully all of them have been relevant and necessary to get me to the stage where I am at now. I never thought that in the last year and three months that I could learn so much about myself all from doing my hair.
My journey started off with my cousin telling me all about the different things she used to do her hair and how she’s managed to get it to grow. That was at the beginning of 2013- but it wasn’t until September when I had just become fed up; living in the suburbs and my hairdresser over 50 miles away-the constant visits, money and time spent-I was just over it. So after my weave, I just let my hair grow out the relaxer and since then it’s been ‘au naturelle’ all the way.
It wasn’t until I could see the physical transformation that I had discovered that I actually knew nothing about caring for my own REAL hair. I had become accustomed to the ritual of ‘once I see a kink, its back to the creamy crack’. I cared better for my weaves and extensions than I did my own. This I think is down to the perception of beauty and how we as black women perceive our own beauty in the world. It’s an on-going battle one that first has to be dealt with mentally then the rest will fall into place (or so I have learnt)- each to their own and all that.
Even my hairdresser didn’t seem to have a clue about extensive care for natural hair-just the basics of washing/conditioning etc. So I turned to YouTube. I knew through social media that there was a so called ‘natural beauty moment wave’ within America, and I was keen to see what it was all about.
From years of racial conditioning and being told that our beauty was not acceptable, it was no surprise that hairdressers or even we ourselves would know how to care for our locks. So it was extremely refreshing when I logged on and could see the vast choice of videos available all on the topic of natural hair care. From tutorials to homemade product remedies, including different textures, lengths and styles. I loved the honesty that all of the videos shared and how it was all about ‘what works for you’.
|Au Naturelle Mel|
I found the unique qualities in my hair, different to my Caucasian friends unlike their hair- black hair for each and every individual is different in texture, curl pattern and even resilience. We need the core things that the earth can give us, water and oil; and moisture, moisture and more moisture.
I discovered that I actually can and know how to look after my hair, that it was beautiful and didn’t see the pain as a bad thing-more that it reminded me about things in general about life; how it’s important to work hard for the things you want, nothing really is impossible and you have to do you. It also reminded me that you should look to what you have and do the best you can with what you have before you suffer from silver spoon syndrome. I learnt how to braid my own hair too-such a freeing skill.
My hair grew surprisingly fast during the transition phase. Now I’m at the awkward ‘miniafro stage’. It’s now too long to maintain daily for me to have it out, but it’s also quite short to do certain styles. But I will trudge through and look forward to rocking lengths like Solange Knowles and Diana Ross.
This has been my hair journey so far, and I’m loving it!!!
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