My {Natural} Hair Journey

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December 2014 before 2nd big chop

How I Ended Up Natural     

I honestly wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked about my hair over the last five years.  My hair had become my trademark, and it grew like I was pouring Miracle Grow on it.

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November 2010

My transitioning started in December 2009, when I never heard of people going natural (yet); my hair was just damaged from the relaxers and heat.  Around August or September 2010, I got Senegalese twists in my hair so that it would be easier to manage (I never wore weaves or braids consistently…maybe I had 2 sew-ins in my life).  Well, I had those twists in for about 3 months—no one told me that wearing them for so long would matte my hair (lol).  My mom and I took out the braids and we literally could not comb my hair after it was washed.  In the past, I would frequently cut my hair because I knew it grew fast, so I told her to cut it all off!  She was hesitant, but she did.  Who knew I had a little peanut head.  That was November 2, 2010, the BIG CHOP.

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October 2012, Protective Style

Over the course of the next 18 months or so, I watched YouTube because no one I knew was natural.  I learned from Naptural85 and Natural Chica (the natural hair OG’s) how to make homemade products and that’s all I did. Honestly.  I didn’t have any heat on my hair for over 12 months.  I made a rule for myself to only get my hair straightened once a year, and that’s what I did.  The other 48 weeks out the year, I diligently wore twist out and single twists.  When 2013 came rolling around, it was such a process to twist my hair (an entire weekend), it was depressing!  In 2014, I don’t think I did a full head of twist at all because my hair was (and is) so thick and dense, and it was long.  Between January 2013 and August 2015, I’ve had 4 blowouts (and twice in 2012, all for grad pics and graduation because I couldn’t fit my cap). 

At the beginning of this year (2015) was the first time I did something major to it—I dyed AND I layered it! I love it.  I took proper care of the color and kept it conditioned.  I went on a cruise in March and I put twist in for the first time in over a year!  Over this past summer, I was literally not touching my hair.  It was such a daunting task to even wash and detangle it, and even more nightmarish that I had to style it! So, I just kept it in a poof for several weeks.  When I did wash it and I felt the kinks I said “not today”, and threw it back in a bun.  So August 2015 is here and at this point, I’m really struggling personally and spiritually—something needed to change.  When I go through a life change, I’m usually going to do something to my hair (lol).  I just so happened to wash my hair on a Monday evening and I attempted to detangle allllll the hair that I haven’t COMBED all summer.  Madness to say the least.  I was not making any headway, so I called to make a hair appointment to get it cut.

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August 2015, NEW layered bob + color

Tuesday evening.  We were in the midst of dying my hair and the next thing I heard was SHEERS—I was shocked!  My stylist took a chunk of my hair and just cut it and and the nerve to say, “well you wanted it cut!” LOL.  I said, “WE WERE SUPPOSED TO DISCUSS THE LENGTH FIRST!”  She only ended up cutting it because my hair had SEVERAL FAT LOCS all over.  There was nothing I could do about it; it was my fault.  She proceeded to cut away.  I knew she was happy, because I had SO much DENSE hair, it took FOREVER (2-3) hours to detangle and blow dry my hair.

Needless to say, I love my haircut!  I’m debating if I want to keep it in the inverted bob or if I want to grow it out again.  I’d be crazy to say I didn’t miss my hair—I miss my length (18-20 inches before the first cut), but I absolutely don’t miss the maintenance.

How did I grow my hair sooo long and in under FIVE YEARS?

I don’t know the secret to hair growth, I know my methods for health and retention.  I think what helped my growth spurt was I rarely got blowouts; I’ve had less than ten to this day.  I also kept my hair moisturized with aloe vera and coconut water and locked in with only essential oils and shea butter.  I never wore any added hair to my hair once natural—no wigs, no weave, no braids, nothing.  I did not take “hair, nails, or skin” vitamins.  (I barely drink my needed intake of water, I sure wasn’t going to be able to keep up with the amount of water your body needs when on those vitamins, nor was I taking a chance to destroy my skin after I worked so hard to get it back to my pre UPS stress days.)  Lastly, once I found a hair brand(s) I liked—I stuck with it! 

My go to and only washing products are the Tresemme Flawless Curls shampoo and conditioner.  I have dense hair, so I can’t (and won’t) buy $20 washing products and get 3 uses out of them.  Tresemme is affordable and the slick in the conditioner is amazing!  For styling products, I ONLY use Crème of Nature Argan Oil product line and Body by Eden.  Since I’ve cut my hair, I can wash and detangle AND flat twist my hair in 1.5 hours now.

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2013, Front Puff

My suggestion—if you aren’t going to maintain your hair, don’t try to grow it long—you’ll end up with up with unplanned dreadlocs.  I know. Also, keep your styling manipulation to a minimum (glue, sew-ins, etc.). Braids can and will ‘pop’ your hair and you’ll lose those blessed edges.  Lastly, MOISTURIZE AND LIMIT THE HEAT!!! Naptural85 helped me understand 5 years ago, simple was the way to go.

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January 2015, First layered cut and color, Freshly Washed

Last thing!  Don’t idolize and want a softer or more lose curl pattern.  Girl, if you’re black, be prepared, your hair will grow out your follicles in whatever texture it does.  If its curly and doused in Soul Glo, great!  If it’s tight and kinky like my hair, EMBRACE IT. Why?  Because YOU can do whatever you want to it.  Those two strand twists…(no shade), those soul glo curly sisters won’t accomplish them without that kinky texture.  On a serious note– I’ve ALWAYS been confident in my hair– short, long, twisted, afro, whatever!  Be confident in YOUR NATURAL hair–it’s sexy sis.

Let that hair Be Phenomenal,

Charisse

More Pics:

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2011

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2014, Top Knot

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January 2015

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4 thoughts on “My {Natural} Hair Journey

  1. Danni B says:

    Love, love, LOVE! I could feel your personality through this piece. This was a perfect way for anyone who is struggling in the natural hair movement tonknow that it’s not all juices, berries, and tropical waterfalls all the time. Lol. You have certainly captivated me, I saw the journey from beginning to end. Byw, I LOVE the bob! It gives you this Loise Lane/Michelle Obama ora.

    Like

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