I have always wanted to start a natural hair blog but I was always walking around with a bag of excuses. A couple of friends suggested YouTube, to which I always tactfully changed the topic, quickly steering away because I wouldn’t know what to do with myself behind a camera, let alone people watching me. But maybe one day, just like I have finally got to writing this blog. I still cringe at the thought of blogging because you basically make yourself vulnerable to all the negativity out there. One of the reasons for my delay was because I was trying to figure out how to make this platform as purposeful as possible.
So here’s my story; I had never sat down to reflect on my own natural hair journey till this post. As I reminisce about my hair journey, it wasn’t easy. It required a lot of acceptance, self-confidence, just like many other naturals to get to where I am today. I LOVE MY HAIR.
I have had natural hair all my life but of course with a couple of setbacks. Mum always did my hair, it ranged from cornrows with cute bead accessories to pony tails. The pony tails became my signature look in my nursery school (preschool) years to which some people still remember me by. My hair was doing so well, until I started to handle it myself. In the early stages of my life, I was extremely small because I didn’t like eating and it was always tag of war to get me to comply. So it was short and skinny me against the ‘AFRO’, to which a handful of ‘haters’ told mum that since my hair was too big at the time, that was the reason I was so tiny and therefore, she should cut my hair off. What a ridiculous suggestion! Luckily, my hair wasn’t cut off at the time.
Remember, natural hair does grow, otherwise, we would be bald. The secret is in how well you manage it to retain length.
Primary school (grade 1) comes along and little did I know that the dreaded ordeal had caught up with me. You guessed right! The school I attended required that we cut off our hair and best believe, I lasted only 2 months at that school because I was often miserable and complaining to my parents about how I didn’t want to look like a boy. So I changed schools only to be the new girl with no hair. There I was on the first day of school in a class filled with 6 year old girls who had long, RELAXED hair, how exciting! My dear parents had no idea what drama I was yet to start. As soon as I could hold a forced ‘puff’, I started to demand for my hair to be relaxed. Of course Mum couldn’t agree to my non-sense to which I constantly told her she doesn’t love me because she wouldn’t agree to relaxing my hair. “Connie you will thank me later” was her repeated response.
It wasn’t until my first day of High School in the queue to get my boarding school supplies checked by the teachers that I thanked my Mum for not relaxing my hair. All students with relaxed hair were sent back to get their hair shaven. It was an all girls school that required strictly natural hair. In this environment, my hair independence deepened as I had no option but to learn to maintain my own hair. On the other hand, I always came to school with my hair bone straight, with a hint of flat iron smell because hair straighteners were not allowed in the junior years. I made every attempt to keep it bone straight, including sacrificing my books in cases I had forgotten my umbrella.
The girls in the senior years had very long, thick natural hair and our goal as the younger ones was to one day achieve such great length. After 6 years, most of our hair had grown but just not as long as our seniors whom we admired dearly. I learnt how to cornrow for the sake of not having to do anything to my hair the rest of the week. A friend of mine and I always spent the weekend doing each others hair. But I still was not happy with my hair, it was now so thin from all the straightening. I had moments whereby I would simply hold my signature pony tails and cut off everything above the scrunchie, because my hair was taking too long to grow, lol. Hello, to uneven hair. At the time, I thought it was a great idea, only to have that awkward length that you can’t really do much with. I resorted to washing it and letting it shrink so it would appear even shorter or hold a puff on a good day.
University came along and I was grateful that I had the luxury of braiding my hair, so life was great. Well, that didn’t last too long before my hair received the shock of a new environment. My middle hair broke so bad. At this point, I knew that something needed to be done. Behold, Pinterest and YouTube natural hair tutorials became a huge part of my daily routine. So my world was about to turn around, right? At least I thought so. In no time, I was in the product junkie trap. I lived for the 3 for 2 specials from my beauty supply store and everyone who passed by my room and took a glance at my product cabinet would leave in amazement. With so many products, I could start my own product store. I was lucky to meet a fellow natural who will also be sharing her story on this platform. It was so exciting meeting someone with my curl pattern. She helped me manage my hair and I started to see a significant change. She emphasized keeping it simple but consistent. please note: simple might still take time.
I was so desperate for my hair to grow as long as the ‘You Tube gurus’ and I was frustrated because I felt I was following everything and yet no results! It wasn’t long before I realized that majority of the You Tubers I followed who were giving me these quick fix tips already had very long hair. That’s when I gave my hair a break. I started keeping it simple but consistent weekly with my hair regimen over the weekend and I started to see a significant change, not just length but in volume too. I decided to be patient and enjoy every stage of growth. The constant manipulation before just wasn’t ideal.
I hope you stay tuned. I have plenty of vital tips to share with you on how to maintain your hair, reduce breakage, and you will be on your way to reaching your ideal hair goals. Remember, natural hair does grow, otherwise, we would be bald. The secret is in how well you manage it to retain length. Many factors come into play, NO HAIR PRODUCT will magically increase your growth rate. I’d advise one to buy products for the purpose of moisturizing your hair and creating that environment for healthy and strong hair to reduce breakage. Study your hair, know what you want from a product before you purchase it. Embrace your curl pattern. If you are following someone on You Tube/blog, look for someone with a similar texture to yours to avoid unrealistic expectations that will only get you frustrated. Be careful not to fall prey to marketing schemes . ”Retention is more important than growth rate” Retention is simply preserving as much hair that grows out of your scalp and keeping it as healthy as possible. It takes a lot of experimenting to find out what works for your hair type and what doesn’t.
*REMEMBER YOU ARE MARKED BY FLAWLESS CRAFTSMANSHIP*
This post is part of the *Hair Journey Story* series
About the Author:
I love to help people achieve what they aspire to be, through my knowledge, skills and experience. This blog is one of them. I love God, food, music, speaking to people and anything natural hair related.