How I Began My Natural Hair Journey, Part II

I planned to enter college adorned with individual braids and then find a black hairdresser once I settled into school. I’d then wear my hair pressed like I had K-12th grades. Well my plan did not come to pass in the time frame which I anticipated. I took down my braids during a fall break while visiting my family in Arkansas. I was thankful to have my aunt help me in caring for my hair since I was away from my mother. Much to my aunt’s dismay my hair wasn’t permed so she could not style it quickly. Instead of straightening my hair, she opted to give me twisties. I loved it – my hair looked beautiful when she finished. Little did I know, this would become a staple style of mine. How ironic that my aunt who perms her hair created this style for me?

About this time, the natural hair movement was beginning – many women cut off their permed hair; Pantene launched their “Relaxed to Natural” shampoo and conditioner targeted towards African American women; black women were beginning to don more curly hairstyles, share tips with one another and compliment each other’s curls. Pretty soon more companies were marketing towards the trend and I was trying discover which products worked for me. It seemed like nothing worked for my hair type or no product met it’s claim. I got through using the hair grease, lotion and oils familiar to me growing up. I was always open to trying the new products hitting the market but I did not find any product I loved.

I learned from a curl friend about and which aided me on my journey. I learned from another curl friend that certain products only work in conjunction with another product or that it is formulated for someone with a looser curl pattern. The learning stage of reading blogs and talking to friends played an important role in developing my haircare regimen.

College was the time of discovering and trying out new hairstyles, hair products and techniques. One technique I learned was cowashing, or washing my hair with conditioner instead of shampoo to refresh my curls during the week and not dry them out. Post college, I continue to learn about my hair’s needs and engage in the natural hair community to learn how to best care for my hair and get ideas of new styles and techniques.

I will never complete my learning. There will be new styles to try, techniques to learn, a new finding in ingredients and subsequent push to test effectiveness. I am grateful for the woes of this journey as well as the joy. I am most grateful that I have sisters and brothers on the journey with me as together we learn, celebrate one another, and promote this beautiful natural hair movement.

Fall Break, my very first twisties! 🙂

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