I started my natural hair journey when I was in middle school. Well, by that I mean that I stopped straightening and putting relaxers on my hair in middle school. But I didn’t really do anything with my hair until my junior year of high school. I’m a protective style girl. My hair has, almost exclusively, stayed in braids, twists, and anything similar since my hair was long enough to get them done. So, when I first stopped putting chemicals and things in my hair, nothing really changed. I kept doing protective styles. I never did a “big chop.” I never really looked at my hair beyond those few days between styles. It was weird.
Now, I’m pretty comfortable wearing my natural hair out. I’ve gotten pretty solid at doing my own twist outs/braid outs, etc. I’ve found products that work best for my hair and I’ve started to take longer breaks between protective styles. I’ve even started taking pictures of my natural hair and posting them, which is something I never would’ve done when I was younger. I think a big part of my insecurity with my natural hair was just how much I didn’t know about it. I didn’t know how to wear it or take care of it. I didn’t know how long it could grow or how beautiful it could look when I gave it a chance. Not to mention, I had to learn all of these things on my own, because my mom didn’t know anything about natural hair either. It was just easier to not mess with it and not think about it.
But I started watching YouTube videos of girls who’s hair looked sort of like mine. I started learning from them and buying products to try out. Then I started experimenting with my hair and seeing what I could do, during those few days my hair was in between styles. I learned what my hair looked like curly and it was fun to see what I could do with it. Those breaks began to get longer and longer, until I’d let my hair stay out for months at a time and had developed a hair routine that worked. I may do another article on my hair routine, with pictures of my hair over the years, but I’ll just say that rice water and Jamaican Black Castor Oil work wonders and have really helped my hair grow healthily.
I’ve really grown to love my hair over the past few years. I’m actually at the point, now, where I miss my hair when it’s in a protective style. I have soft locs in currently and I can’t wait to take them out, but I also know I don’t have time right now to actually do my hair. I also really need a trim and am too lazy to do it myself, but that’s a different conversation. It’s definitely a weird back and forth. I remember there’d be times when I would refuse to go to class or out with friends if my hair didn’t look up to my unrealistic standards — despite the fact everyone else thought it looked okay. Now, though, I even embrace the bad hair days and have learned different quick styles to work around them. I think my overall confidence has grown along with my acceptance and comfortability with my hair too! I’m still learning about my hair, but I’m really proud of where I am now with it; hopefully, it’s only up from here.