I was natural for 24 years and then decided that I wanted a change and on a whim I relaxed my hair. It was such a freeing experience, not because my hair was now relaxed, but because I realized that I was not bound anymore by anyone's expectations for me.
I was not afraid to do anything to my hair. I became very adventurous.
So while all my friends were transitioning to natural hairstyles, I had relaxed my hair. Over the years I have faced much criticism by people who thought that because my hair was relaxed I did not love myself or had succumbed to the pressures set by other cultures. However, after years of trying different things with my hair and trying different techniques and products I have come to the conclusion that hair is hair.
I now use the following hair techniques that I learned while I was natural on my relaxed hair to amazing results.
Find the right oil for your hair!
You learn quickly with natural hair just because someone loves a product doesn't mean it will work for you. After a product graveyard had accumulated underneath my sink, I realized I had to figure out my hair pattern first and find products that would work.
I avoid products where the first ingredient is petroleum jelly. You wouldn't put Vaseline in your hair so why would you put a product whose main ingredient is Vaseline?
Products that use natural oils are the best for your hair and will help your hair to grow. I have a thinner hair shaft but still have a great deal of hair. As a result, I found that Argan oil works well in my relaxed hair because it does not weigh down my hair and still moisturizes my scalp.
Pin curl your hair at night
I learned to pin curl my hair using bobby pins with my natural hair. This helped me to reduce my use of heat in my hair on a daily basis. I also found that the curls would last longer and look better longer.
One day I was frustrated with my relaxed hair and wanted to try something new.
So I experimented and realized that pin curls work just as well with my relaxed hair as my natural hair. You just need to take a small section of your hair, twist it around your finger then place it flat on your head and secure it with a pin. It's easy and effective hairstyle that can be used to form many other intricate hairstyles.
Use protective hairstyles to prevent split ends
When my hair was natural I would twist my hair and pin it up especially in the winter so my hair wouldn't dry out. I knew that if I wanted my hair to grow I couldn't leave the ends exposed all day every day. However, when I first relaxed my hair I thought I could leave my hair down every day. I would love to swing my hair. After my hair split worse than Kim Kardashian's first marriage, I decided that I had to protect my ends.
I would wrap my hair at night and in the day I would wear my hair in pin curls, buns and even twist outs. I would also trim my ends when as needed to prevent my hair from splitting up to my roots. Soon my hair was growing and I was able to maintain my new length.
Do not be afraid to try new hairstyles
It is very easy to just get into a hairstyle rut. When I had natural hair I had to learn to braid, twist and curl my hair. As a result, I saved a lot of money by not going to the hairdressers every week and I became more adventurous.
Cut your hair, change your hair colour, put your hair up or put it down! Your hair should be reflection of your personality and no one wants to be known as boring and neither should hair.
Naomi Campbell should be the warning to all black women! If a woman of her financial standing can have hairline recede like that, then so can we!
I do not over manipulate my hair.
I do cool hairstyles on the weekend and then adjust that style to suit my work during the week usually using hairpins and combing out my curls. This way my hair grows quickly and my hairline isn't constantly being brushed and manipulated.
No crunchy, stiff hair
Please avoid crunchy, stiff, dry hair! When my hair was natural I used to go to salons and they would flat iron my hair. When they were done with my hair, it had little movement because it was over-pressed or they used crème that would weigh down my hair.
I learned my lesson now that I have relaxed hair and avoid certain products and do not relax my hair bone straight. Having healthy and touchable hair is important to the overall look of my hair as well as to my husband who doesn't want to be afraid of my hair.
I was at an event a couple weeks ago with my one of my close girlfriends who is natural. As we were siting chatting away a lady came up to her and said, “You have beautiful natural hair!”. I was extremely perturbed because I couldn't understand why she needed to emphasize “natural hair”.
I realize now that it is important that we as black women start emphasizing the importance of healthy hair. I believe that one of the greatest things about being a black woman is the amazing things we can do with our hair when it is healthy.
I have had natural, texturized and relaxed hair and I have loved my hair in each state.
|"It was such a freeing experience, I realized that I was not bound anymore by anyone's expectations for me"