I’ve been natural since April 2015. I’ve always wanted my natural hair to grow long, but I was so used to getting perms that I didn’t know any other way to obtain my goal. Considering the damage relaxer did to my hair. I was on deployment in the military when I realized this was the perfect time to cut off my hair and let it grow back relaxer free. One day I completely cut off all of my hair and I was in complete shock.
I had an out-of-body experience because I could not believe I actually cut off all of my hair, but it felt good to finally do something different. I kept my hair braided up in either Senegalese twist or sew-ins until it was at a decent length for me to do something presentable with it. Natural hair was not accepted as much in the military at the time. I had to hide my natural hair until it was at a length where I could start experimenting with my hair.
As time went on, I was not caring for my hair properly. I was not giving my hair enough time in between hairstyles to breathe and bounce back from the constant tension. I was not using the right products to keep my hair healthy. I was constantly using gel and hard brushes to pull my hair back into a ponytail. Once I left the military in 2017, I began to care for my hair properly. I left my hair in its natural state for most of the year, trimming my ends, monitoring when I washed, styled my hair and what products worked for me.
At first, I found it difficult my curls were not “cute” like what I was used to seeing on the internet. My hair was not at the same length as everyone else and it made me uncomfortable. Then, my hair and I began to bond. I started loving my hair in its natural state because it is a part of me and there is nothing I can do to change it. I originally thought I could not go a week without washing my hair. However, as I continued to experiment with other products now I know my hair can last as long as I let it. I have to preserve it at night and keep my hands out of my hair throughout the day.
I’ve learned that my hair pattern can change. I started out with really tight 4c coils, but now I can say I may be a mixture of 4b and 4c. I also learned that part of my hair does not curl properly, so I have to be careful when taking down my two-strand twists. My hair loves two-strand twists, which in return I get really nice curls when I take them down. My hair loves thick products and marshmallow root. My edges can only take so much edge control before it starts rejecting it. In the end, my hair is getting healthier and longer. This year, I plan to work on length retention and styling my hair in other ways. I also plan to teach myself how to cornrow.
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Dear Pretty Black girl, You are dripping with melanin and a force to be reckoned with. You are made of brown sugar, cocoa, honey and gold. You’ve been crowned with kinks as loose as 3A to as tight as 4C. No matter what type of strands you were crowned with, pretty girl, embrace them unapologetically. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. -Welcome home, pretty girl!