This is the third in a six-part series featuring real Black women and their thoughts about their natural hair. Join us each Monday (until the end of February) to celebrate our natural Black hair and ALL that it means in our lives. We hope these stories help you to enjoy a feeling of empowerment about your coily, wavy, or curly hair no matter how you choose to wear it!
My Natural Hair Journey: Rebecca’s Story –
I Think My Hair Has Seen It All!
I’m of mixed African and Indian heritage. I have multi-textured hair — somewhere between types 3B and 3C — with tighter curls at the front and looser ones at the back.
My hair is naturally thick and plentiful and, since I was a child, I’ve hated combing it or having it combed. Wash days, in particular, were an ordeal I definitely did not look forward to. I would have done anything to avoid those post-wash detangling sessions, with my mother trying to comb through the inevitable knots and tangles.
My hair is naturally thick and plentiful and, since I was a child, I’ve hated combing it or having it combed.
Chemically relaxing my hair to make it more manageable seemed to be the best solution and I began doing so before I was even 10 years old. Though I must admit, even while I had relaxed hair, I still hated combing it and didn’t take good care of it at all! I was also never one to style my hair either; most of the time, I either went with a low ponytail or my loose locks. I suppose I was quite blessed since my hair remained healthy regardless of my indifferent treatment of it.
I regularly relaxed my hair until early 2019 when I was 17, going on 18. At that time, I had a major hairstyling faux pas of relaxing and bleaching my hair on the same day. Even for hair as thick and healthy as mine, it was a mistake that left my hair in a horrid state. It became very frizzy and began falling out much more than usual, at (what seemed to me, at least) an alarming rate.
Related article: The Top 10 (Fixable) Things That Damage Natural Hair
Chemically relaxing my hair to make it more manageable seemed to be the best solution and I began doing so before I was even 10 years old.
After a few months of worrying myself sick and unsuccessfully trying to salvage my fried locks, I decided I would stop relaxing it and instead grow out my natural hair to a decent length before finally doing the big chop at the end of 2020. My relaxed hair was already a goner so I decided to just have fun with it before I inevitably cut it all off. And that I did!
Throughout 2020, before embarking on my natural hair journey, I bleached the already-fried portion of my hair multiple times and dyed it four different colors. In December, I had it all cut off so I was left with just my natural hair.
Related article: 6 Natural Ways to Color Natural Hair
[My hair] became very frizzy and began falling out much more than usual, at (what seemed to me, at least) an alarming rate.
I didn’t feel any particularly strong emotions about the actual act of the big chop but it definitely felt good to have a fresh start. Having dealt with the horror of my hair going from healthy to irreparably damaged almost overnight, I have a much better appreciation for it now and try to take better care of it.
- 10 Ways to Make Transitioning to Natural Hair Easier
- Thinking of Shaving Off Your Natural Hair? Read This First!
- The New Big Chop- Taking Care of Your Short Natural Hair After Cutting It!
I am learning a great deal about how to care for my hair, thanks to all the natural hair information that’s out there. I use protective styling a lot, wearing my hair in twists and plaits when I am home and sleeping in a bonnet to protect it at night. I must admit, though, that some days I still simply can’t be bothered!
Are you on your own natural hair journey? Take our fun quiz to find out how your hair care routine could be affecting the health of your hair!
I can see a big difference in it, though, now that my wild days of chemical processing and radical color treatments are behind me. I am enjoying curls that are well-defined and healthy-looking. I think, I can truly say I love my hair but, don’t get me wrong – to me, it is still just hair.
I don’t judge other women by theirs, whether natural or processed, jet black or emerald green, bone straight or the tightest of coils. I don’t think any woman should be judged by her hair – neither in casual nor professional settings. There is so much more to us!
Having dealt with the horror of my hair going from healthy to irreparably damaged almost overnight, I have a much better appreciation for it now and try to take better care of it.
Rebecca Samaroo is an Arts Management student and freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing in a wide variety of niches. When not hard at work, she enjoys her downtime cooking, video gaming, and listening to K-Pop.