Growing Natural Roots: Adventures in Wearing My Hair Natural
I Am Not My Hair
PCJ, My Old School Relaxing Kit!
Study Says Black Women Are Ditching Relaxers
If you want to know how big this topic is and how it concerns you and the economy, check out this tidbit from Mademnoire.com,
While the number of women who ditched relaxed hair was 26 percent in 2010, it has jumped up big time with a 10 percent increase hitting 36 percent for 2011. According to USA Today and Mintel, a consumer spending and market research firm, relaxer kit sales have also dropped by nearly 17 percent since 2006.
Read the whole article here.
So my next question is this: Is this just a fad, or will we forever love our natural hair?
When India Arie Said It...
India Arie stated boldly and proudly that she was not her hair.
We sang, hum and played her song over and over again. I know I did. And even though I loved it, in 2006 I still wore my hair relaxed. The most natural I went back then was keeping my hair braided.
For intended reasons, this hub will focus more on the why than the how of natural hair care. However, I will list helpful tips I have found to help you in your journey.
So what changed my mind in 2012 to finally let go of the “creamy crack” and fully embrace what actually grew from my scalp?
Many factors played into why I went natural, and trust me. As you will soon understand, going natural is a psychological choice as well as financial one for many African American women.
- I had an epiphany.
- I did(still doing) the research.
- I understand that there is really no conclusion.
I don't know about you, but nearly every magazine I saw began to bother me. Plenty of black women wore their hair in long, silky tresses, and when not looking at those books the commercials would feature women of other races with soft hair down their backs.
Finally I asked myself: Will I ever naturally have hair like that?
However, I can have that hair, un-naturally.
I finally grew a brain and realized, “Hey! I will never have that kind of hair naturally.” This was not a bad thing, but it will require some work in the long run.
Pause right here.
This is not a "beat down the relaxed hair article", that is certainly not the aim. I just want to point out how much fun it is to see what my own roots look like. It is also great that I can have water fall on my hair and not get mad at the "naps and clumps"
How to Obtain the Accidental 'Fro
Warning! This was mistake #1 in my opinion.
You may may not wish to try what I did to get a 'fro.
- I washed and conditioned my hair like normal.
- Used a wide-toothed comb to detangle(I use Curls Unleashed detangling shampoo and conditioner)
- Blow dried my hair then,
- Set my straightening comb to 450 degrees.
Voila! I was supposed to get straight hair, right.
Nope. After walking outside in ninety degree heat, I got this big 'fro that everyone just loved.
The Low Cost Products I Use
Curls Unleashed Shampoo&Conditioner
Used to wash and detangle hair
Nice&Curly, Curly Pudding
Used for curl definition
Used to hydrate and moisten hair
Keeping Up Chemically Treated Hair Costs!
$79 and up
$45 and up
Here is the dirty, nasty truth about our beautiful, natural curly kinky hair:
- It takes dedication and faith.
- You don’t have to chop all your hair off to start over(called the “Big Chop”), however many consider this an ideal start to growing your hair healthier.
- Learn your hair type. I believe I am a 4b…most days I think 4c.
- The web is full of natural hair websites and videos on how to care for your natural hair.
- Pinterest has become a friend of mine recently. Pinterest has hundreds of photos of how to do your hair and those who post them up are more than happy to direct you to some resources.
- Google+ is an awesome place to hang out as well. I have joined a natural hair care community and this is where I post my questions and connect with other women like me.
After my research, I discovered something else.
I am not sure how high the percentage is, but some women revert back to perms. I can speculate two reasons. 1) The natural requires much more care than we ever imagined, meaning perms appear easier to handle, and 2) society dictates what is acceptable.
African American Hair
Considering the Natural?
After reading my story, are you considering going natural?
Our Natural Hair and Society
When we relied on chemical relaxers for our hair, the most we had to do was “keep it up.” You would maintain your hair by shampooing and conditioning your hair every two weeks, grease or moisturize the scalp and then apply curls, ribbons, or get it “did” at a hair salon.
Usually you can do this yourself from home and just wear your hair flat down if you wish. No backbreaking work.
However, if you have just transitioned to the Natural, I send out my apologies.
I apologize because you were not taught how to care for the locks that grew out your own scalp, versus chemically straightened hair and weaves.
Now, the things that we should have been doing: (washing hair regularly, moisturizing, keeping our hair protected) are the things that take up our time.
Going natural will make you feel free- and it should. And I will not tell you to worry over what people think of you.
But if you are African/African American and love your scarves, twists/locks, and fros- corporate America will not show you love.
I think it is unfair and some jobs are not like this.
The Adventure Continues...
Since 2012 there have been trials and errors and many of them due to me wanting to do my own thing.
I am learning that the internet is such a good place to learn about hairstyles and why not try talking with others about their journey in natural hair care?
At my job I ask women who wear their natural afros and locks what they do to maintain that gorgeous-ness.
One woman told me, " We have to learn what works best for us."