In January, 10 years ago, that’s when I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair and grow it natural. Back then, I gave myself 10 years to figure how best I can grow my natural hair. I had been a yoyo natural in the past years and it usually used to take me about 2 years to go back to relaxers because by then, I would not be managing the natural hair thing anymore. So, by giving myself 10 years, I made a commitment to giving myself time for the learning process and not throwing in the towel when things got tough.
And now, looking back, boy oh boy, what a journey. Interesting is an understatement. More like, life changing. I went from working with drawings in engineering to formulating hair and skin products. Doing hair has moved from a pass time or a hobby to a daytime job. What can be more life changing than that? A whole career change here.
It has not all been easy, I promise. From what I didn’t earn from, a lot of lessons were learnt. I want to share the lessons I have learnt from being natural specifically for all these years. I’ll keep the points to 10 otherwise I learnt a lot.
- Natural hair is for me. It grows from my scalp, it is so much for me and for everyone if I may add. I gave up so many times before because I thought it was not for me. I had other options to run to when the going got tough. But now, I make do with it. It’s my hair.
- Our hair is different, and our climates are also different. Hello genes! These play a major role when it comes to the length of the growth cycle of your hair. The shorter the growth cycle, the shorter your hair’s terminal length. Genes also determine the number of follicles on your scalp. So, big hair is not for everyone unless you put in hair extensions. The thickness of your strands as well. Yes, blame it on your genes. I know sometimes hair thins due to malnutrition, illness and over manipulation. But all these things being equal, I mean when you have tried everything, the only thing that’s holding you from having thicker hair, your genes.
- Natural hair can be cheap or expensive to maintain depending on what you are willing or able to spend. But hey, so is relaxed hair. I started spending less on hair actually once I went natural. There’s less pressure with natural hair because I could even just wash it and wear a short afro if I could not afford braids at the time. Or do a twist out for weeks and be just fine. Anything can pass for a hairstyle.
- It is a trial and error on products to use. What works for another may not necessarily work for me. It’s my responsibility to find out what works for my hair and when I do, to stick by it.
- It’s not a race but a journey. There are so many hills and valleys along the way. Since I went natural, I went through pregnancy and post-partum shedding and not to mention many setbacks that I experienced along the way. Some where I could have done better to alter the result and others where I was completely helpless and had to watch while my hair shed.
- Trimming my hair is particularly important otherwise I stop retaining more length when I have split ends that need to go because they will keep breaking off as time goes.
- Every time I comb my hair, I am increasing the chances for breakage. In fact, every time I manipulate my hair. Ever wondered why locks grow longer that the loose natural hair could ever go? It’s the breakage. I’ve learnt that, less manipulation works better for me.
- Water is good for my hair. Not just washing my hair often but using water-based products to moisturise my hair and drinking enough of it.
- I still need to use a leave-in conditioner even after conditioning my hair. This is one thing I didn’t know was important all my life until I started growing natural hair
- It’s important to keep in your lane and not jump onto every natural hair product craze because it comes from a place where women have hair to their ankles. I know I have tried several DIY products but at some point, I needed to say no and draw a line. As much as I keep being pressurised by readers and viewers to try certain things, I really try and keep my hair routine simple and straight forward. That could actually be point number 11. Keeping my hair routine simple and straightforward helps me remain sane in this crazy world and strengthens my love relationship with my hair. But because we said we will keep it at 10 points, this one is off record.
How long have been natural? what lessons have you learnt?
That’s it loves. Thank you so much for getting this far. Much love and blessings to you and yours. God bless you.