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A Brief Natural Hair Journey Story

My TWA after the Big Chop in Spring 2009

I was on Instagram going through my timeline the other day when I realized how many naturalistas I have met since joining in late 2013.  It occurred to me that I haven’t really talked about the beginnings of my natural hair journey which is now going on eight years.  I honestly can’t get over the fact that I have been natural since the spring of 2009.  Prior to that, I had relaxed hair and didn’t even know there was such a thing as, “going natural.”  So I thought that I would share a brief “natural history” with all of my new readers and followers.

My hair journey started all because I couldn’t figure out why my hair was stuck at one length.  At the time, my hair was dyed, relaxed and I used heat constantly.  The reason for my stunted growth was pretty obvious but I was completely oblivious.  My store bought, auburn hair color put my hair porosity levels on the high end which meant it was constantly dry.  This was in addition to having a relaxer.  The two chemical processes left my hair with twice the damage.  Then there was the heat.  I loved using heat on my hair everyday.  Sure, I wrapped my hair at night, but I still did touch-ups with a curling iron or flat iron each morning before work.  I basically didn’t know how to care for my hair.  I just knew how to style it and there’s a big difference between the two. Continue reading “A Brief Natural Hair Journey Story”

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How Heat Damage Led to My Mini Big Chop

Curlyincolorado.com Heat Damage Mini Big Chop
My hair after my mini big chop in February 2016

Stubborn.  I guess that’s the word for it because I have no other way to describe it.  I keep trying to straighten my hair until it is laid to the gods and it keeps coming back with heat damage.  Yes, I have now, to date, given myself heat damage more times than I can remember.  There isn’t a stylist to blame or even a lack of knowledge on my part.  I knew better and still wound up damaging my hair while straightening it.

I blame Youtube.  We’ve all seen the videos where people are cranking their flat irons up past 400 degrees.  Well, I thought maybe I could too.  I mean why not?  My hair was getting longer and healthier.  I was doing protein treatments and using multiple heat protectants.  Sometimes I even thought I could just wear my hair straight whenever I felt like it.  I found out the hard way that those things would certainly not work for my hair. Continue reading “How Heat Damage Led to My Mini Big Chop”

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Enjoying Your TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro)

A wash n’ go style with Eco Styler Gel
 at 3 months Natural

Sometimes I find people in hair forums who are trying to figure out what to do with their TWA a.k.a. “Teeny Weeny Afro”.  Everytime I see this I think to myself, don’t they realize how good they’ve got it?  When I was new to being natural and my hair was shorter than ever, I embraced it.  It was so much fun!  Now don’t get me wrong, it took some getting used to.  However, after a nine month transition, it seemed like my hair wasn’t short for very long. 

When I think back on it, all I can remember is how easy it was.  My routine was pretty simple.  Each day I either re-wet my hair with my homemade spritz or co-washed it in the shower with a cheapie conditioner.  I didn’t really use a lot of products.  I moisturized my hair with leave-in conditioner, my aloe/glycerin/water spray or shea butter.  I tried a few different hair gels and realized that Eco Styler worked the best for making my curls pop.  Other than that, I played around with finger coils, the conditioner only method, and hair accessories.  This was also the time when I started wearing earings more often which turned out to be a great compliment to my short hair. 

Using a large, snap barrett
for something different
My only piece of advice for anyone who is wondering about caring for their short fro is to consider what season you’ll be doing the Big Chop.  Why?  Think about it, the only way to work with your newly natural hair will be when it’s wet or damp.  So, doing the BC during the winter months is probably not the way to go unless there’s no way around it.  This is precisely why I decided to cut the last of my relaxed ends off in May of 2009.  By the fall, I had enough hair to do braid outs, blow-outs, and individual braids.   Other than that, I think you should enjoy your short and sassy TWA.  It’s fun and easy to care for.  Ultimately though, for anyone who is going Natural for the long haul, it is also just the beginning.
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Celebrating 2 Years with Natural Hair

This week marks my two year Natural Hair anniversary.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, it was two years ago this week that I decided to go ahead with the Big Chop and finally let go of the last of my relaxed hair.  Since then, I have tried many different styling techniques and hair products hoping to find what works best for my thick and curly hair texture.  There have been some hits and surely lots of misses but it has been a learning experience all the same. 
The reason for all of my trial error is because I wore my hair straightened by chemical relaxer since age 11.  Before that, my mother styled my hair so the last two years have been my first experience with doing my hair in its’ natural state.  Not only that, my hair is beginning to grow past the shorter lengths I am used to which means I’m also learning how to maintain my length. 
So proud of my TWA
in 2009
Still, even after all of the research, hair forums, YouTube videos and my own personal hair trials, I am discovering that I still have a long way to go before I can claim that I have mastered my hair.  My natural hair journey hasn’t exactly been easy but it is still something I wish that I had done sooner.  It just makes so much sense to do my hair without all of the extra manipulation that comes with heat styling and chemical processing.  I don’t run inside when it rains.  I enjoy my fro and my big hair.  When I get that itch to wear it straight, I can do that too.  I love my natural hair and I can’t wait to see where it ends up in the next two years.