The decision for me to go natural was not very clear to me at first. Back in October 2010, I first just did a lot of research on the internet about how to care for African hair. I was clueless about what my hair needed and how to care for it in a way that will allow it to actually grow long or maybe just shoulder length (I didn’t believe that it could get any longer than shoulder length). I was blow drying my hair daily on the highest heat setting possible, on unwashed hair with lots of oil. That spelled disaster for my hair. It started breaking off by handfuls. I was confused and did not know what to do at all, I felt so helpless at the time.
My strength came when I devoted a lot of time to research and then practice. I discovered that relaxed hair needs protein more, so I purchased my first bottle of Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise and absolutely loved the results after just two to three uses. I could visibly see the difference that the treatment made to my hair.
I began to do further research and discovered a lady called Cathy Howse and was amazed at the length of her hair (but still did not believe that it was possible for me achieve the same length). I discovered many tricks and tips on how to properly care for African hair on her website. I began to devour everything that I could read online but also practice whatever I could. The difference was very clear to see. I went from brittle, extremely damaged hair that was now at just near nape-length to healthy looking hair by January 2011.
As a result of years of being told from childhood that my hair just doesn’t grow and my inability to care for it resulted in me not believing that it would get any longer, despite the proof in the photos that I was taking.
I continued the research, still using relaxer. At this point I was stretching my relaxer time from 8 weeks to even up to 10 weeks before relaxing. I continued that way and decided that I would only relax my hair 3 times a year. It was going very well, I could see the growth and especially the length. I was beginning to believe that I can actually do this, I could actually have long hair (my definition of long was armpit-length)! I kept consistent and continued my research. Near the end of 2011, I began to wonder about this “natural” hair that I kept reading about. I didn’t want “Afro-hair”! I wanted nice hair, straight hair, pretty hair…
I was very happy with the progress. My regime was simple but consistent. I was using Organic Root Stimulator products only on my hair as that was the closest natural products in my area, Empangeni, at the time. I washed and deep conditioned without fail every week. Moisturized and sealed with Olive oil. Then did a protein treatment once a month. I also did learn how to be very gentle when handling my hair. I lived in flat twists and ensured that I covered my hair with a silk scarf at night.
Late 2011, I began to experience an extremely stressful situation in my personal life. It was so server that I was on the brink of depression. My hair also suffered as a result. By June 2012, I was forced to cut off all the previously relaxed hair as it was breaking-off very badly. I was left with my natural texture only. I now had to either continue with the relaxing or just learn to care for my natural texture. That was when I decided to just continue to care for what was growing out of my scalp.
It was not easy as the hair was so dry and hard to the touch, especially in the middle of my head, I was worried that it would always be that way. That changed when I discovered something called scab hair. That was the hard hair that I had at the back and middle of my head as a result of using relaxers for so many years. I kept it constantly moisturized and was gentle on it and eventually, it was gone.
As I continue to learn how to care for my Afro-hair, I love what God gave me and still continue to enjoy the journey.