I used to get annoyed when people asked me “how long have you been natural?”
After turning about 15, I took my hair into my own hands. Worse decision of my life. I slapped it back into a greasy ponytail and straightened the life out of it every chance I got. Not to mention the times my sneaky ass dyed it. Fast forward to freshman year in college, my “funky” natural hair was fried. I had no choice, but to cut it all off. Back then I had no idea this was considered the “big chop,” I just knew it was complete devastation.
I wish I could say I jumped right in perfecting my hair techniques. What can I say? Colors, haircuts, weaves. They allure me. It wasn’t until the last 4 years of my life that I really got a handle on taking care of my hair and it wasn’t a drastic change in my hair routine. I’ve been deep conditioning, detangling and moisturizing since childhood. The biggest difference in my hair health now versus then is the quality of hair products.
I’ve bounced from product to product, salon quality and drugstore, over the last ten years none of them nourishing my hair the way it needed. Garnier Fructis and Pantene Pro-V have held me down for years, but not without altering their formula a little. My mom always whipped up homemade conditioners and face masks, so naturally to combat the sulfates and other drying agents in these products I’ve learn to add my own blend of mayo, eggs, avocados and oils. As of now, I use a mixture of Shea Moisture Black Jamaican Castor Oil, Garnier Fructis Whole Blends, avocado oil, egg white and Ganier Fructis anti-frizz serum. As you can see, I don’t stick to one product or line. I simply use what works and I heavily rely on my own concoctions for extra nourishment.
With natural hair taking on a larger movement and meaning once again, so many great products have developed that cater to every pattern and texture. We’re no longer limited to one or two “ethnic” products or choosing the lesser of evils when it comes to Herbal Essence and Mane n’ Tail. The influx of products is helpful, no doubt, but it’s still a process of trial and error and every product in a line may not work. I’m just grateful for the options more than anything! Knowing that in my own lifetime products for natural black hair were scarce makes this surge of black enterprise even more sweet.
I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in owning our hair texture and creating products that work for US. I’m no longer upset when people ask how long I’ve been natural, I embrace the trend and encourage more people to love their naps in whatever form they come.
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