I decided to go natural about eighteen months ago. I chose this route because when I had a relaxer I never kept up with the six to eight week retouch routine anyway. I would go almost three months without a relaxer and my hair would still be manageable with a deep conditioner and a moisturizing shampoo. In 2007, I had major surgery and noticed a change in the way my hair would respond to certain chemicals (relaxer, color, etc). I tried a few different relaxers but they always seemed to not last more than a month or so. This was not typical for my hair at all. The doctor stated it could be from a hormone imbalance. My hair was starting to thin and also break off. I always wondered what it would be like to just go "natural" and not have the extra stress on my hair. Society, however, kept me from doing so because of the negative feedback. I noticed that it was from my own peers that going "natural" was not easily accepted. I prayed about it and found encouragement through some of my sorority sisters and a few close friends.
I did not go through the process of the "big chop" but decided to transition instead. No one really seemed to notice because most of the time I wore my hair pulled back in a ponytail. I began with a weekly wash and deep conditioner. Then, I worked my way to slowly clipping the ends and began using a leave-in conditioner instead. This summer (2012), I took a big step and cut about two to three inches off. I then noticed a big difference in the curl pattern of my hair and fell in love with it.
Today, I do a bi-weekly moisturizing shampoo and use Knot Today Leave-In Conditioner. In between weeks, I do a co-wash. As I Am Coconut Co-Wash is my favorite product to use for my coils and texture. My favorite products to use for a two strand twist are the Eco-Styler Argon Oil Gel or Shea Moisture Curling Soufflé and Extra Virgin Oil. For dry scalp issues, I use an apple cider vinegar rinse and apply tea tree or olive oil to my scalp. The apple cider vinegar rinse is also good for getting rid of product build up as well as healthy hair growth.
My afro puff has to be one of my favorite hairstyles this summer and definitely the most complimented. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie or Beautiful Textures Curl Control Defining Pudding works best for me when doing this hairstyle. I have also tried making my own product. I mix olive oil, shea butter, honey, and a scented oil to make a LOC (liquid oil cream) that works well for my hair after I do a co-wash.
Since I've gone "natural", I feel so liberated and can't believe how healthy my hair is and how much it continues to grow. I have been added to a few natural hair groups and am ecstatic about the new information I'm learning about my hair and also the introduction to some new products as well. My journey continues and with dedication and determination I am becoming a better me...