I have had a complicated relationship with my hair. I grew up in a society that did not accept my natural hair, afro’s or dreadlocks. Straight silky hair was right and kinky hair was wrong. Right from when I was little, I went to the salon every three weeks to get a relaxer. Now if you don’t know what a relaxer is it’s a strong chemical that you put on your hair to straighten it permanently. I had extremely coarse and thick hair that my mother couldn’t comb so this was the best option at the time. Also, everyone was doing it so it was not a big deal.
I think most people can agree that relaxers are more harmful than good. The hair relaxers always burnt my scalp (yes, chemical burns on my scalp!!) but I always loved the straight silky look I got when I wore a relaxer.
I never knew what my actual hair looked like. I always had the impression that my hair was some sort of untamable beast that needs a relaxer unless all my hair would fall out. It was unthinkable not relaxing my hair!
I also thought that people who had natural hair were dirty, lazy and god forbid they had dreadlocks. This was years of conditioning where I grew up where your natural hair was not appreciated.
Breaking the Stereotype
The first time I saw a woman with natural hair was on YouTube. Shoutout to Karen aka Glamfun. She looked beautiful, and she looked like me!! Could I really have hair like that? I decided to go natural because I was tired of using weaves as a crutch. I didn’t like the fact that I felt less of a woman once I didn’t have a weave on and felt the need to hide or compensate with more makeup!
It was then and there that I decided to go natural! It wasn’t always an easy journey but reminding myself of these three things finally made me accept my natural hair and love it for what it is!
Your hair is a unique representation of you
Absolutely no ones hair can be the same. Your hair is designed perfectly for you. It’s adapted to your skin colour, your weather, even the colour of your eyes. Your hair has a personality of its own and you should never compare list for list with another persons hair. Using a natural hair typing system may be only part of the equation but just because you and someone have the same hair type does not mean you can do the same things on your hair and have the same results! It will always look different. Embrace its uniqueness cause that is you.
2. Get preconceived notions of what you think “good hair” should look like out of your mind
I’ve learnt that healthy hair is good hair. Healthy hair always looks good no matter what texture, color or length. Once you remove unrealistic expectations of what you think your hair should look like and accept it for what it is, it will be great! I used to admire people who had long flowing locks of hair and hated natural hair. The self-hatred and conditioning was real ladies! Now I appreciate all hair types, but I have a special admiration for afro’s. They’re just a special breed awesomeness!
On days that I think my hair looks like absolute shit, I get 1000 compliments on it. So never think your hair is ugly because it’s not what you think it should look like!
3. Stop obsessing over your hair length
When I first went natural I was obsessed with growing my hair long. I always had 16 inch weaves so to go from that to short hair was very challenging for me. I also felt like I had to grow my hair long because my hair had been grazing my neck my whole life and I wanted to prove to someone I could grow it long for some reason. This led me to do arduous things that I didn’t like only because it would give me long hair. Instead of enjoying my hair at every step of its journey, I was always obsessing over it. As long as your hair is healthy, it will grow!
Now I pretty much don’t care about having long hair. I’m even contemplating cutting it shorter because it’s so much more easier to manage! In the end, your hair is an extension of you. Accepting it may not always be easy, but once you do it is extremely liberating.
Thank you so much for reading! If you would like see one of the ways I take care of my natural hair check out my Ultimate Routine For Thick, Curly Hair!