Having natural hair back in the days as a young child for me was tumultuous experience. I remember those dreaded Sunday afternoons when it was time for mommy to wash and plait my hair for school on Monday morning. Or Friday afternoons when mommy would press my hair with the iron comb on the stove in preparation for church on Sabbath. “Hold down your ear mine u get burn.” That’s what mommy used to say. When she was done, though I liked it, my face would be shinier than a new quart (25¢).
Mommy sure had her work cut out for her. I used to have headaches, belly aches, backaches, all kind of aches or sometimes I would just do the disappearing act. When mommy would find me from wherever I was hiding (usually under the bed, lol), all the neighbors could tell that I was getting a wash. For me it was like drowning and the world was coming to an end. After I would survive the wash it was time for drying, greasing and braiding. I used to get konked on my knuckles a lot with the back of the comb cause I always wanted to touch my new style or see how far she was with the plaiting. I hated it all. Most times I just sat there and bawled. I knew my mommy felt sorry for me but it just had to get done.
My First Relaxer
Finally, when I was about ten, my mom decided then that she was through with my natural hair and it was time for a perm. I was anxious as my sister smoothed the PCJ relaxer onto my hair to make it straight. It was done and I was the ‘it girl’. I no longer had to endure mommy raking through my hair to make it look presentable for school the next day or church on the weekend.
I later discovered that I had sensitive scalp and even though I hated when it was time for mommy to do my hair I still loved my head of hair. After the relaxer I was allowed to fix my hair myself. I remember braiding my hair in single plaits with perfect parting by using a magnifying mirror. No more ‘Big Foot’. You know the style where you have three plaits in the front and a bubble in the back? Yea that style. The joys of doing my own hair.
Over Processed & Heat Damaged
In college, I decided to cut my hair in a bob for the first time. It was one of my best haircuts to date. I loved it so much that I kept cutting it. I remember how my hair was so healthy and shiny and was even the envy of some. It was then that the trouble with my hair began. I would curl my hair every day with a curling iron on very high heat (until I can hear my hair frying and smell the burn) and I was getting touch ups every 4-6 weeks (or as soon as my roots started to show). My hair began to become dull and limp. I had compromised the heath of my hair. My hair was literally falling off my scalp. After about 3 years of constant torture I decided that it was time for a change.
My First Big Chop
In August of 2005 I did my first Big Chop. I loved it. But I didn’t understand the dynamics of natural hair at that time. My intention was to cut my hair, grow it back then relax my hair again after it caught itself. That plan didn’t work out to good. After I BC’d I put a texturizer in my hair and bleached it a bright orange color. That bleaching process would have been the BIGGEST mistake of my hair history. My hair became very brittle and weak. In addition to that, I was washing my hair with harsh sulfate shampoos and then blow-drying on high heat with no heat protection. Needless to say, my curl pattern changed and my hair eventually broke off.
I decided to stop texturizing my hair altogether and grow out the bleached hair, clipping it off as my hair got longer. For the next three years, I wore braids for most of the times to avoid dealing with the course texture of my hair. I used to suffer from really bad headaches/migranes and I noticed that after I stopped relaxing and texturizing my hair, the headaches decreased.
In April of 2008, I guess I wanted a change and went back to the texturizer and in June on 2008 I fell for the creamy crack again (inserts shame face here). That was the second biggest mistake I made with my hair. My hair literally rejected the relaxer and consequently I kept touching up my hair so the kink could come out. That was an EPIC FAIL. My hair became over processed and began to fall out in clumps literally. AGAIN. I remember bawling over my hair on the ground. Right then and there I wish I had never relaxed my hair again and I made the decision to return natural at some point.
I was in university at the time and managed to find a hairdresser who would help my hair to recover. She eventually gave me a short haircut to rid the damaged ends. One day while sitting in her chair waiting for the relaxer to dissolve my hair, I could taste the relaxer at the back of my throat and my nose began to burn. I asked her to rinse the relaxer from my hair and she was like “its not finish processing”. I told her that was irrelevant to what I was feeling and to proceed with the rinsing. That oh so familiar experience. I decided right then and there that that would be my last relaxer. That was last week of May 2008. I transition from that day….
Do you have natural hair? If so, why did you return natural? If not, would you consider it?