Once upon a time back in 2011 a trend seemed to sweeping the black community at a heightened level, it was called “going natural” in which women…and some men were freeing themselves from the European standards of relaxed, straight and limp hair. There was a girl who went by Dej, who decided she wanted in, but she didn’t know how she would look or feel with short hair. She had heard a lot of this TWA, but didn’t think her face would go well with one. After tons of research she discovered the technique of long-term transitioning and thus began her journey to “going natural”
Happy with her decision, Dej took a little trip to this magical land called Carol’s Daughter when she walked inside she was entranced by so many magical smells, she wanted to try them all. Shampoos, conditioners, creams, butters, oils, there was so much to choose from. $150 later Dej left the store with a new hair regime she was eager to begin. Being that part of her hair was natural at the roots, but still chemically processed at the ends, she noticed immediately that her hair was becoming dry. The new products she had spent a load of cash on only worked on the roots, but left the ends feeling like dry hay on a hot day. Frustrated, Dej took to the natural hair community of CurlyNikki for some much needed advice on moisture retention and thus set out to the closest beauty supply store for a new set of hair care products. What she didn’t know what she had just entered into the world of “product junkieism.”
The hardest part of Dej’s journey was finding products that worked for her hair. Her afro literally ate everything and was still hungry! When she did find a product she loved it didn’t last long…seriously for her hair type she needed more than a dime sized or pea sized dollop of anything.
Finally finding a regime that worked Dej decided to take that big step, she did the Big Chop in the Spring of 2011 and was disappointed when she realized her Tracee Ellis Ross curl pattern was more like a Brillo Pad once the relaxed ends were cut off. Rocking her TWA and feeling completely vulnerable without her long hair she realized that being natural was more than just a hair thing. It was a way of life. Changing her whole diet her hair began to flourish and her super absorbent fro which she named Leo became her best friend. She learned how to take care of Leo to keep her healthy and strong.
Once summer came around Dej was introduced to a new nemesis: Humidity. No matter how long her hair had grown the summer heat kept her in her TWA stage. She learned a new term, shrinkage. Major shrinkage. With the heat and the heavy oils and moisturizers she found herself swatting away the gnats that were attracted to the fruity hair products she used. She thought she was getting the hang of this “going natural” thing. One day she decided to get experimental and tried different styles such as twist outs, bantu knots and two strands. Embracing the carefree nature of her hair she even decided on some color. Green, blonde, red and copper. She tried them all, little did she know there was some damage control that needed to be done.
Needing a change and wanting to give her arms a break from twists outs, she did her second big chop in the summer of 2014. With a promise to Leo that she would take better care of her she is now on her second journey to healthy hair.
What’s your natural hair story?