As a child, I did not know what natural hair was and couldn't even fathom the concept of it. I simply knew there were girls with “real” or “fake” hair. There were also girls with “good hair” or “nappy hair.” Unfortunately, I was conditioned to believe I was on the nappier end of the spectrum. Having nappy hair was something to be ashamed of as a black girl. Especially growing up in a community where nobody looked like you. People did not fawn over my hair when they saw me. I observed the distinction between the reception of my coils versus looser or straight hair types. However, I did not give it much deliberation, because as a child, do you really even care?
This is how my hair trek began. You know how little children somehow seem to find vaseline and unload the entire container on their head? For me, it was perm. Layer by layer, my tiny hands spread the creamy crack on my head. My mom was the queen of perm. This made it easy for me to trot curiously and land my three year old hands on a transparent tub of Olive Oil Perm. Fortunately, my escapade was brought to an abrupt halt when my mom discovered I was quickly destroying my hair. After frantically washing my hair out to prevent permanent damage, my mom saw how easy it was to comb through my hair. This one moment altered the trajectory of my hair journey for a number of years. From elementary up to seventh grade, micro braids and a pineapple, spiked ponytail were my go-to styles🍍. Every month, I permed my hair, which hindered my hair’s growth. Though I know this now, at the time, I could not comprehend this fact.
High school was the beginning of a new realization for me. This was the time that tumblr girls were making waves across Instagram with their loose, curly hair and Chicago Bulls hats. A new hair supplement line initiated waves in the hair community. I honestly believed this would be the thing that stimulated my hair growth so I could look like the girls on Instagram. Pinterest was another hair hub. Inspiration flooded the application based on what I liked previously. Little did I know that there was so much more to hair than I thought. I was completely unaware of types. At the time, I still only knew “good hair” and “nappy hair.” I definitely did not know my type as I was still chemically straightening. Nobody was there to teach me these things. High school is where you really begin to explore who you are. You never know that you’re ashamed of your natural state until the time comes for you to expose it to your peers. A deep embarrassment came over me as I saw all of my best friends had long, thick hair, but not me. I was dead set on ensuring my hair looked like it was long and of a looser texture.
Over the course of the next several years, I was sure to keep my natural hair concealed while trying to grow it out. My vision was to whip out my hair and shock everyone with my astonishing length. You know, like all the celebrities do. But I still did not know exactly how to take care of my hair. I’d never seen it done in my household, so I had to learn by myself. 2018 was the year I decided I was going to be proactive in the growth of my hair. I had already stopped perming my hair a few years before and transitioned. I began watching youtube tutorials of girls with the same hair type as me. I stopped using grease, eradicated sulfates from any products I was using, and avoided heat like the plague. But I still wasn’t seeing much growth. Why? Because there was still so much more that I was missing such as diet, the science of hair, and porosity. Mid 2019 is when I began to see significant growth. I began to accept my kinky, 4c texture because your hair is like a plant, if you don’t water and love it, it won’t blossom.
Here’s how you love your texture.
The first step in loving your texture is accepting the fact that the hair you were born with will be with you forever. (Attempting to change your texture via chemicals will more than likely have a damaging effect.) Honestly, having kinky, coily hair should never be a negative thing. Who is to say that kinkier hair textures are not beautiful and why do we accept those notions? The main reason I always had an issue with my hair texture was because it was short. It wasn’t the long 4c hair that people praised, rather the ones that people deem as nappy. This is where the second step comes in handy.
The second step is exploring what your hair can do. There are so many cool styles your hair, at any length can do. Whether it’s exploring different safe coloring methods, extensions, or natural styles, our hair is capable of more than we give it credit for. When I wear my hair out, I frequently wear 4 straight back braids and slick back messy buns. Also, if you’re a “lazy natural” like myself, I typically keep my hair flat twisted and wear it under wigs. At night, I ensure my crown is protected with the Glow by Daye ‘Sassy Leopard’ Satin Bonnet.
The last step is to SEE your hair reaching the ideal goals. I imagine my hair being waist length, moisturized and thick. That is what pushes me to ensure I am taking care of my hair the way I should. If you focus on the goals you want to achieve and envision it, it’ll make the journey much easier. Develop a regimen and stick to it. This requires discipline and it may be hard, but trust me it will all be worth it.
I hope this has helped you all tremendously. Please comment your thoughts and anything else you feel is important in loving your texture.