Home Hair 4 Years Post Relaxer, 2 Years Fully Natural.

4 Years Post Relaxer, 2 Years Fully Natural.

by Evenes Ruth Mafupa

Hey. I can’t believe it has been this long since I embarked on my natural hair journey. It seems like yesterday when I decided I was going for natural hair and funny enough, I made that decision the very day I had just put a relaxer on my hair. Delaying the inevitable I suppose because inside, I was a natural and straight hair no longer appealed to me. This is the longest I have been natural ever since I started relaxing my hair and I am so proud of myself. Not that I have ever been tempted to relax my hair again these past 4 years but it is because I have managed to commit to growing natural hair for this long. I am loving it.

The Challenges

On average, hair grows at a rate of 6″ per year. That is about 15 cm per year. This is not the case with my hair though as I discovered after my 2nd year of transitioning that mine only grew about 10 cm per year. So after 2 years, I had about 20 cm of hair growth which was great to be able to retain all that length. Things started going bad six months after I delivered my baby. My hair started shedding and I only noticed how far I had gone when I looked at a photo I was taken in August of 2013. I had way less hair than I had when I was pregnant and even before that. I tried all I could to save my hair and although I did not bald, most of my hairs were in a resting phase and they did continue to fall out still albeit at a slower rate because of less manipulation and the hairloss rinses that I continued to do. As if that was not enough, I went through a stressful situation that landed me in depression with lot’s of anxiety attacks. And I also had a full time job, was studying and starting my business all at the same time and my system was under a lot of pressure with very little sleep and a lot of deadlines to meet. So, although I wished for my hair to flourish, that did not happen. Our hair reflects a lot about our health and the general wellness of our bodies so I was not surprised when my hair made very little progress over the past years. My scalp has been riddled with a lot of dandruff I still cannot hold a protective style for longer than 2 weeks which means I am relying more on low manipulation styles more than anything. Anything meant for dandruff irritates my scalp I just scratch like a mad woman such that I have learnt to stay away from applying anything on my scalp now if I can help it.


The Joys

My hair journey has been eventful and interesting. I have had to transition twice and live with all my hair’s whims as I learnt my hair day by day and month by month. I do not regret returning to natural hair at all with all its time demands and all. I love my natural hair so much I can not trade it for anything else. I am African and have kinky hair. That will not change. I love how bulky my styles can be and oh the versatility of natural hair. The fuller twists, the ease of styling for any event, and the fact that it is mine and a part of who I am. I also noticed I have inspired a lot of people to return to natural hair through this blog. My mom and my sister are now growing natural hair, throw in sister-in-laws and nieces in there and don’t forget the many people who read this blog and watch my You Tube channel. It is so rewarding just to know that my natural  hair journey has inspired someone to grow their kinks and to learn to take care of them better. There are times when I do not have much time on my hands and I just want to throw in the towel but once I get an email or read your comments on how my efforts have helped you along your journey, I feel so encouraged to write one more post and then two and before I know it, I am back in the swing of things. I am wired to help where I can and that is what I do best. I think that is the reason I end up with too many things on my plate. Last year I ended up making a wedding gown for my niece even though I had vowed not to make another gown ever because it is a LOT of work. She could not find a ready made gown with the style she wanted and somehow I ended up making it for her. So I love helping people and if one person is helped out, I am happy and my efforts are all worthwhile.

My Hair Journey

Indeed it is a journey and not a competition. (thanks Tumelo) I think of you all the time when I look at the little progress my hair has made. I always remember these words. I have been on this journey for four years now but my hair is not where I would like or where I was expecting it to be. Just as with any journey, there may be obstacles on the way that may delay you in reaching your goal. Some may even teach you a lesson and you may start looking at life with a different lens altogether. Some will reveal the fighter in you and you will soldier on until you get to your desired destination and others will mould  you along the way in preparation for things to come your way. My natural hair has taught me patience, introduced me to a lot of wonderful people, helped me start a business, helped me appreciate African beauty even more. Along this journey, I have met me. I have realised that I am an individual and do not have to conform to a set standard of beauty. I have learnt to feel more comfortable with who I am as a whole. No matter how I look, I am wonderfully and fearfully made. Knowing that I can only improve on character and not my DNA. I am the daughter of my mother and father and physically their features are what you will see on me. I am still on the hair journey. There is still more to learn and more skills to master. I am not sure how long my hair can grow yet and I hope I will not have any more major setbacks and will find out in the coming years. My journey is different from anyone’s. I face different obstacles and my hair is not the same as yours. As much as I take much inspiration from other people’s journey’s, I have to walk mine and reach my goal. There are so many variables to our different paths. Talk of genes, climate, knowledge, hair skills, water hardness, family situations, stressful situations, general health… I can go on and on. But you get what I mean. So as we walk side by side, let us keep on encouraging each other to keep on track and reach our goals whatever they may be.


My Hair Regimen

Not many things have changed on my hair regimen. I am going to be taking it slow and easy on my hair this year though. There will be less daily styling and more protective styling that should last me at least 5 days. I normally flat iron my hair every January and that is not happening this year as well. There will be less combing/brushing out my hair and I will be using my fingers to style it more. My washing technique stays the same although I am introducing more washes and more light protein treatments. I am going to be washing my hair twice a week whenever I can and do two light protein treatments a month. I will share my light protein formula in a later post. I will also be alternating between a co-wash and a shampoo wash for the sake of my scalp which builds up gunk easily due to a lot of dandruff. My pre-wash treatments will remain on garlic oil, coconut oil, olive oil or castor oil. I am still a big fan of the maximum hydration method and I wish I had the time to do it every time. I will be doing clay washes still though and the warm conditioner is the bomb. I love it and am totally hooked to it now. I will expound more on my regimen for 2015 in another post as well so look out for it.


Thank You

You have read this far, you are awesome. Let me take the time to thank you for being a part of my hair journey thus far. I know that this blog motivated me as well. I felt like I was accountable and not only to myself but to you as well and that has kept me going. Thank you so much. I really appreciate. And if you have left a comment, even one, you are a star. Feedback is just so important. We are social beings and when we speak or do/say something, we expect some kind of reaction to what we have said. I really appreciate your comments. You have subscribed to this blog and my You Tube channel because you are awesome and know how to support a sister who is trying to make a difference. Thank you so much.

I will leave it here before I turn this already long post into something else.

Love, peace & joy to you.

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thokozile nkuna 31 January 2015 - 00:38

on the post frm 14 jan plz help I ant my hair to look like that how do I do it

Ruth Mafupa 31 January 2015 - 08:44

Do you mean how it is styled?

thokozile nkuna 31 January 2015 - 10:17

hi thanx 4 offering consultation ruth im in fs tho id need 4 u 2 tell me when. I mean I want it 2 grow like yours. plz email me on thokozilenkuna@gmail.com

Fezeka 13 February 2015 - 08:07

Hi ruth, i am changing from relaxed to natural hair, i wash my hair 3 times a week with just normal hair shampoo now its hard, coarsed and has split ends. how do i make this transition work.

Ruth Mafupa 13 February 2015 - 08:36

Hi Fezeka. I suggest you do more conditioner washing than shampoo washing. Some deep conditioning as well once a week or with every wash. Find a good moisturiser and keep your ends protected as much as possible. That worked for me and I hope it will work for you too. Much love to you and your hair.

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