Shante’s Natural Hair Story

Natural hair some hate it, some love it. There have been TONS of conversation surrounding natural hair. Who knew something as simple as a hair preference could spark so much debate? I’d like to add my two cents into the discussion by talking about my personal experiences with natural hair.

I began my transition from relaxed hair to natural hair in June of 2013; about two weeks after I graduated high school. I can’t say there was really one thing that contributed to my decision. My sister had been natural for about 2 years before, and I saw how much her hair had been growing, so I think that alone made me say “let me just try this out.”

My mom also decided to go natural, so we started at the same time. Her hair, for as long as I’ve been born to remember, has always been way down her back even with relaxers. So I could imagine how long it would grow to be post-relaxers.

Before I decided to transition, I would have a heart attack if my hair went past its 6 weeks without it being relaxed. I hated how “nappy” it would be in the roots. That’s an issue in itself, right?

The reason I decided to transition instead of do the big chop and start completely natural is because I could not fathom having short hair. My hair, for the most part, has always come right below my chin or sat right on my shoulders. So the thought of cutting it shorter than that was 100% not an option.

My hair kept growing, and it was manageable at first. I was mostly taking care of it myself. I would wash it, dry it, and straighten it. It was easy because the majority of my hair was still relaxed. After a year of having transitioned hair, I began getting box braids during the summer. At one of my braid appointments, my braider asked if I wanted to just cut the rest of the relaxer out. My hair had grown out so much that the amount of natural hair I had was equal to the length of my hair while it was still relaxed. So basically, it would not look like I cut my hair. So I decided to cut the remaining of my relaxer out, and she proceeded with putting in my braids.

At that very point, my hair began to have growth spurts. When I took my braids out 3 months later, I could not believe how much my hair had grown! I was so motivated. I was glad I had cut out my relaxer, and I was glad that I started wearing braids as my protective style.

Fast forward to April 2017, my hair is longer and thicker than it’s ever been. I have someone who takes care of it for me, and during the summer months, I wear it in braids. While I am natural, I still do not wear my hair curly. People have their own opinions on whether or not straightened hair is “truly natural,” but my hair is chemical free, so in my book, that means natural. When I don’t have my braids in, my hair is straightened. I’m not comfortable enough to wear my natural curls because my hair is very coily, and I personally am not ready to rock the afro look.

To anyone who is considering going natural, I highly recommend it! I will admit, it is a lot of work when you are first starting. If you have a hairstylist who can take care of it, then it’s much easier, but if you plan on maintaining it on your own, prepare to spend a lot of long days on YouTube learning how to take care of your hair. In the end, it is so worth it. Your hair will grow to be so healthy. Also, take advantage of protective styles. Twists, braids, weaves, and wigs are all great ways to protect your hair and keep it up and out of the way.

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