Back again with another hair post!
Specifically my natural hair journey.
My hair has gone through A LOT in my 24 (almost 25 😳) years of life. I’m really bad at remembering years and ages that most of my pivotal hair moments happened haha so sorry to the natural hair fans out there for the lack of details but I’ll try my best to remember!
Also, WARNING: There will be a lot of embarrassing/ gross pictures of me through out this post. I apologize in advance 😭.
Ya’ll ready for this…
Ok so I’m pretty sure I started getting relaxers when I was maybe around 6 years old? Give or take a few years. I don’t remember the experience of getting my first relaxer but I remember loving having straight hair.
The first salon I remember going to was a black hair care salon. I would come out of the salon and my hair would be so long and thick! A time in particular that I remember, was when a woman was curling my hair, she literally burnt the back of my neck. I just remember crying the rest of the time she was doing my hair. Thinking about it 🤔, I hope my mom got a discount because she left a huge mark on the back of my neck smh.
Lol but anyways, my mom would always do my relaxer for me. Every two months or so we would go through the process of applying the relaxer in my hair. It was such an uncomfortable and long process too, because my mom wouldn’t rinse the relaxer out of my hair until my scalp was BURNING. Like, my scalp would feel like there were flames coming out of it 😐🔥
In middle school, that’s when I started to do my own hair. I remember I bought my own mini hot pink curling iron with the money I saved up and I would practice using it on my hair all the time. The amount of heat damage from that was so insane just thinking back to it 🤦🏽♀️. But my mom would still do my relaxers for me and the initial straightening, then I would do the touch ups myself. After all that hard work I would put my hair up in a bun. I usually wore my hair in a bun because #1 it was easy to do instead of straightening and combing my hair until I thought it looked perfect, and #2 I HATED wearing my hair down because someone would always have a comment about it and want to touch my hair. The comments were always nice, but I was such a quiet and shy kid back then that I hated when there was any kind of attention on me.
I think around 7th or 8th grade my mom started bringing me to a Dominican hair salon where they would do my relaxers for me because my mom was tired of doing it all the time which I get lol. I would literally be in the salon allllllll day which was torture for me because my mom would leave my shy self there with all these people speaking Spanish to me knowing that I can’t understand them.
They would do a Dominican blow out to my hair which was basically them putting a bunch of rollers into my hair, sitting me under a hair dryer for 2 plus hours, taking the rollers out, then VOILÀ I had a head full of volume and curls for days. Then they would cut my hair soooo much because they said I “needed” to cut a lot of my hair off for it to grow smh THE LIES. Every time I left the salon I would cry so much. Not because my hair looked bad, which it did sometimes, but because I had so much anxiety about what the kids at school were gonna say about it. I remember I would try to do anything to my hair to make it not stand out so much. I would put a headband on, a ponytail, or tuck it behind my ears. My mom would get so mad at me because she spent so much money to get my hair done and I was ruining all the hard work.
In high school, that’s when I took control of my hair. My mom would still do my relaxers for me, but I would straighten it and style it myself. I straightened my hair EVERY DAY. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that. My hair was getting tortured by my flat iron because I needed my hair to be perfectly straight. And after all the straightening, I just put it into a bun because I wouldn’t like how it turned out. I noticed that my hair was breaking off a lot in the front of my hair because that’s where I applied the most heat. So my dumb self decided to cut some bangs into my hair. The first time was horrible but I would cut my bangs every few weeks to clean them up and practice. They looked so bad smh. If you ever want to get bangs PLEASE see a professional 😅😂.
My junior year of high school, my mom moved to Arizona so I didn’t have her here to do my relaxers for me anymore. My nana (who is white haha) stepped up to the plate to help me with my hair. I remember one time she did my relaxer for me and she left it in my hair for way too long that sooo much of my hair fell out. I could barely put my hair in a bun anymore but when I tried it was definitely a struggle bun 😭. And I STILL applied heat to my hair because that’s all I knew how to do.
The first time I remember seeing any type of curl in my hair was when I went on a school trip to Disney World. I had washed my hair and I could see some kind of wave in it. I decided to wear my hair out like that for a day and I actually liked it. After the trip I continued to wear it how I normally did though.
For my senior prom, I wanted to get my hair done in this fancy updo. I brought the picture to the salon and the girl said she could do it. I thought it was doable with my own hair but I guess the hair stylist didn’t think so and put glue in extensions in my hair. She didn’t even ask me! But I didn’t say anything either because of shy kid syndrome and I thought she knew what she was doing. I had never had any type of fake hair in my head so I didn’t know how to take care and maintain it. A few weeks after prom I decided to take the extensions out because they looked so bad at this point. I went to my shower, wet my hair, and started pulling the extensions out. While doing this, I pulled out so much of my own hair that I had mini bald spots. This was the worst my hair had ever been.
August 2011 is when I moved to Arizona. My mom was over giving me relaxers at this point but I still forced her to put them in my hair lol. I still straightened the crap out of my hair every day and did the same routine. My mom and sister started going to a hair salon called Toni & Guy to get their hair straightened, and they encouraged me to go get my hair done too.
(Side Note: My mom and sister are both natural. My sister has never had a relaxer in her hair and my mom wears her hair natural but always in a bun or ponytail. I honestly don’t know why my mom didn’t put a relaxer in my sister’s hair but I feel a way lmao. I just think her hair was more manageable than mine. However, my sister would always “straighten” her hair back then too. I put staighten in quotes because it was like a black girl straight if you know what I mean 🤣. I would insert a photo but I wont do her dirty like that haha ok this side not is too long)
The end of my freshman year in college I went to the salon and got my hair straightened and cut. I had sooo much damage from my relaxers and flat iron frenzies that the hair stylist (hi Adam if you’re reading this 👋🏾) encouraged me to cut the damage off, essentially a big chop. I was sooo nervous because back then the natural hair movement wasn’t as popular as it is now so I didn’t know that much about big chops. I trusted Adam, so we went for it and he cut my hair. My hair was sooooooooooooooo short. It barely went past my ears and that was with it being straight. I hated it at first but it eventually started growing on me.
(My editing skills were horrible back then hence my red orange skin lol)
My sister actually encouraged me to stop getting relaxers. She joined this natural hair site called Hairlista that helped girls track their natural hair journey and have discussions with other people to give each other tips, tricks and guidance. I joined the site and decided to go relaxer free. I went a year and a half without a relaxer but I still straightened my hair during this time.
It was the summer of 2013 and I was going back home to Connecticut for 3 months. I was really over straightening my hair and I honestly didn’t want to do it all summer. So, on July 13, 2013 I made an impulse decision to wear my hair in its natural state all summer. No heat, no relaxers, just my hair! My hair still had heat damage but for the most part it was natural. I wore my hair in a bun that whole summer with a headband usually lol.
(The first picture was me the beginning of that summer and the second one was in the winter of that year after I cut off my heat damage.)
When I got back to AZ for the school year, I cut most of my heat damage off. For a few more months, I only wore my hair in a bun. I would wet my hair and throw it up in a bun everyday. I didn’t even detangle it, I was so bad smh 🤦🏽♀️.
I decided to get more invested into the natural hair community so I did a lot of research on hair products, hair styles, and hair growth solutions. I had heard a lot about a hair pill called Hairfinity, that encouraged hair growth, and I decided to try it out. I ordered a 4 month supply and tracked my progress by taking pictures. I think keeping my hair moisturized and adding zero heat to my scalp, along with the Hairfinity pills, really helped my hair flourish during this time. I ordered a few more bottles and decided to keep the same routine going.
I decided for my 21st birthday, I was going to straighten my hair for the first time since going natural, which was about a year and two months difference. When I got my hair straightened I was SHOCKED at how long my hair was. My hair had never gone past my shoulders before and I was surprised that within a year and two months it had managed to reach that point. The next few years I made it a tradition to get my hair straightened once a year on my birthday to see the progress.
Twist outs became my go to style, and is still my go to, when it comes to styling my hair. I experimented with a lot of different products and even subscribed to a company called CURL BOX, that would send you different natural hair products for a $25 monthly payment. Through this process I was able to see which products worked well with my hair and which ones didn’t. I eventually ended my subscription because it was starting to get pricey and I had a whole bunch of hair products that were barely used lol. I did find some products that have become a staple in my hair routine till this day!
Over the next few years, I started following a lot of natural hair influencers on Youtube and Instagram for inspiration. I loved watching and reading about other girls hair journey because it gave me the encouragement to keep wearing my hair natural and not go back to the hair crack (relaxer lol).
This journey has definitely been anything but easy but I am grateful that I had the patience and strength to keep going and not go back to my old ways. Hopefully, you guys have enjoyed reading about my personal hair journey and I hope I have inspired someone on your their own journey! It gets better I promise 😉