I have had no idea what my hair has felt like for six years.
Does this sound strange to you? Well, since the age of eleven years old I have been chemically straightening my hair. My real texture was a mystery to me, until one day I decided to meet my hair.
It was a strange phenomenon to meet my hair. It was hard to manage at first. It had a mind of its own and didn’t get along well with my processed hair ends. Other people constantly pointed out that it didn’t belong. There were constant eulogies from my friends and family mourning the end of my previously long and straight tresses.
All of a sudden I was a different person. My hair had changed who I was in society’s eyes- all because I wanted to grow out my natural hair.
For centuries, it has been the norm for natural hair namely ‘afros’ to be associated with being ‘unkempt’ and ‘lower class’. And yes, you can surely bet this is an effect of slavery. We all know that during slavery individuals with lighter complexions and straight hair were giving more privileges and generally made to seem better than those individuals with black skin and curly/kinky hair. So of course, when a chemical was introduced that would change the disulfide bonds of curly hair to make it straight,forever, all the black women, who were rejected solely on the basis of being different because of their complexion and hair, demanded this chemical extensively. So extreme were the stigmas attached to natural hair, that most females get their hair chemically straightened before they are even in high school. Even if a woman has natural hair, her thick texture would stay hidden with braided styles. Society has instilled in millions of black females minds the acceptable way to wear your hair is straight. However, recently there seems to have been quite a change in perceptions regarding natural hair. More women around the world, including me, are seeing the unique beauty of natural hair and discontinuing the use of chemical ‘relaxers’ to permanently straighten their hair. And not only are females going natural but they are wearing their hair in afros, a blatant display of kinky and coiled texture, instead of using braided styles. Whether you want to transition using bantu knots(‘chiney bumps’), twist outs or braided extensions or just do the ‘big chop’ there is now a plethora of knowledge available through YouTube to get familiar with how to really take care of natural hair.
Are you thinking of ‘going natural’? Well what are you waiting for?! Join the movement! But bear in mind these tips first:
*These tips are especially for transitioners. Whether you’re a long term or short term transitioner, you have to be extremely careful when dealing with two textures of hair as your hair is extremely vulnerable at this stage and prone to breakage.
1) Slip. Always comb out your hair when it’s WET and CONDITIONED. Use a conditioner with lots of ‘slip’ (detangling properties) to minimize hair breakage. I recommend using two coats of conditioner on the hair while the hair is wet to be able to comb it out easily and minimize hair breakage.
2) Use the LOC method. L stands for liquid such asand leave in conditioner. A good way to make sure your hair doesn’t dry out when styling is to put some water and leaving conditioner in a spray bottle. This also helps the product to be easily distributed. O stands for oil and C stands for Cream, such as a curl definer. You don’t have to use a curl definer, especially if you are planning to just bun your hair, but using it for curly styles such as bantu knots and twist outs will really help to hold your curl in place. However, some leave in conditioners have adequate holding effect and render these creams unnecessary!
3) Pineapple and Satin. So you’ve just done a twist out, bantu knots or braid out style and your hair has looked amazing all day but now it’s time for bed. Oh no but how do I sleep with my hair like this without my curls falling?! It’s easy! Just gather all your hair on top of your head (like a pineapple on your head) and put a satin scarf over your hair to hold your hair in place. You can also use a headband and make a very loose ponytail on the top of your head to make sure your hair stays in place. Another alternative is sleeping on a satin pillow but your curls can still get pretty squashed this way depending how you sleep.
4) Bantu Knots/ Chiney Bumps– This style is my personal favourite when it comes to transitioning. I find that braid outs or twist outs fall flat or don’t blend well with my natural roots. If you have no idea what bantu knots are or how to do them just follow the steps below!
An alternative to coiling it, is actually two-strand twisting the hair and wrapping it around itself instead (I prefer coiling instead of twisting though). Warning: Bantu Knots take FOREVER to dry. Make sure to do the style at least a day or two before you take them down or you can blow dry them to make the drying process go faster. Half dry bantu knots look very messy and pretty much fall flat. Also the bigger the bantu knot sections the LONGER they take to dry! So beware!
5) Youtube. Nevermind that your family and friends call you crazy for wanting to ‘go natural’, there is a whole natural hair community out there just waiting to accept you! Youtube is full of several naturalistas in various stages. You’ll find those who JUST big chopped, long term transitioners, short term transitioners, never-had-a-relaxer-yet, big-chopped-2-years-ago-and-now-I-have-waist-length-hair and much much more type of youtubers! It’s actually crazy how huge and sudden the natural hair movement has become! Another way youtube can help you is by helping you find several ways to style your hair. Natural hair is super versatile! You can practically find tutorials to ANY style you can imagine on youtube! Here are my personal favourite youtubers: Naptural85, thekglifestyle, alexxxhes, simpleyounique, Melsharya, Holldroid.Written by Kyra Stephens Edited by Liam Neath Special Thanks to MerelyMarie.com Share