My journey to the natural hair community started in March 2013, I don’t remember the exact day, so I mark it 1st of March every year. Happy Nappyversary to me, by the way. Yay!
The day I took the leap, I was frustrated, curled up in bed and surfing the net, my hair in knots, wondering what to do to make it behave. You see, I have the kind of hair that never relaxes, I need to get it re-touched sometimes twice a month. Dad would complain about how much relaxers cost and snidely remark that they would indeed cause cancer. So, when I took this step, he was more excited than I was.
Asuu was on strike that period, so I had a lot of time on my hands and somehow I stumbled on a natural hair blog that talked about a life without having to put all the chemicals in your hair, Plus the option of not doing the big chop. I mentally calculated all the money I would save from the word go.
This began my transitioning journey. I cut off the relaxed tips of my hair till it was neck length and I braided my hair with what we call baby wool or owu in Nigeria. I had this in for upwards of six months to enable my hair transition faster. So here I am, five years natural and two years uncombed ( I swear by finger Detangling) .
I think I am the only naturalista that doesn’t have a regimen. When I tell people I use only Shea butter and coconut oil, they look at me like I’m hiding the secrets to the location of the missing jewels of the royal empire. Honestly, I almost do not deserve my hair length because I don’t really obsess about it, products and stuff. I come from a line of inter tribal marriages, so I can’t really say where I get my hair from but it is what it is – Good genes.
However, I’m going to drop a few tips to help any naturalista reading, grow her hair. Always remember, African hair can grow too.
• LIQUID: I swear by it. To grow healthy hair, you need to be drinking enough glasses and sprinkling enough doses of water on that li’l momma. Liken your hair to a plant that needs equal amounts of water, manure and sunlight to grow. From my experience, dry brittle hair doesn’t grow, it breaks.
• OIL : I’m not an expert in these parts,but I recommend coconut oil because it’s light and it has a nice smell to boot. I tried castor oil once on my hair and it was greasy and weighed it down. Although, I have a friend who swears by it, so in all find what works for you. Different strokes, folks.
• CREAM: basically, this is a sealant to lock all that goodness from the liquid and oil into your hair. I recommend Shea butter, as not only is it cheap, it’s natural and multi purpose at the same time.
Now, that is the LOC method and it works wonders. There are some other pointers that should guide you on your journey. I can’t remember all from the top of my head and this will probably sound cliché, but you should know that,
• Protective styling is key. Your hair shouldn’t always be exposed to the harsh atmosphere and protective styling helps grow hair as it protects it from the elements that would damage it In the first place.
• Do not use shampoos with sulphate in it. I use black soap (Ose dudu) as my shampoo, I’m totally organic with this one, Plus it’s budget friendly.
• Too tight hairstyles rip off your edges. I cringe!
• Heat is a no! Let that hair air dry and you’d be glad you did.
• Deep conditioning is bae! It’s funny I say this, as I’ve only done it once in my five year journey, it left my hair feeling good but the smell of the eggs? Ugh! There are store – bought brands which are quite okay and there are the ones you can get from your kitchen. For instance, I used eggs and honey, some use avocado and all that. The point is to get protein into your hair. So, find your comfort zone and stick with it.
• Trim your split ends, sister girl!! I trim my hair real good and Chuck it up in braids so people don’t ask me if I cut my hair or if my hair stopped growing. Most people don’t understand .
Don’t be discouraged when you see shrinkage or when your hair doesn’t grow as quickly as you expect. Good things take time.
I also do not have a long list of products to recommend, as I swear by home made products and like I said earlier, I really do not pay this hair the attention it deserves. I don’t even advice anyone buying all these products that claim to be for natural hair. You need time to test things and know what works for your hair, so you can get a regimen and stick to it. Don’t be a product junkie.
The biggest challenge of being natural, I guess, Is comparism.
“Oh, look how full her hair is” or “Her hair is fuller than yours”
This of course would be accompanied with a searching glance, for a reaction.
Do you know this person’s hair is longer than your own.
*insert rolling eyes emoji here*
I’ve been compared to a 2year old before, in comparing hair length, so believe me I know the struggle. I love to see healthy natural hair on people, but I don’t think it’s wise to compare one natural to another, it sometimes emits the wrong vibe as it looks like one person is not doing enough but while one may have bad shrinkage or poor growth, the other might just be riding on the horse of good genes, but then we’ll never know.
If you’re starting out or you’re already in your journey, don’t get discouraged and don’t listen to people, sometimes they don’t have all the facts. I suffer shrinkage too, a lot. My hair is mid-back length and to most, that is not much growth, but I’m happy at where I am and I’m working toward reaching the waist length goal. Heheh!
Be you tiful, my people.