Tuesday, July 16, 2013

10 years of natural hair

Ten years ago today I walked into Napps Natural Hair Salon in St. Louis, Missouri and asked a barber to cut my relaxed hair off to the new growth.

At the time, I had not relaxed my hair for 9 months. My goal was to go an entire year without a relaxer. But, the hot and humid summer weather had another plan. Dealing with two textures proved to be a challenge I did not have the patience to deal with. So when I sat in the chair and the clippers started to buzz of nearly 10 inches of hair, I had no qualms about what was happening. I was ready to Big Chop!

I first became curious about natural hair during my senior year of undergraduate school. I spent hours on end scouring Nappturality.com and perusing the Fotki photo albums of other natural women. I was intrigued by the varying hair textures and wondered about my own hair’s texture. I did not start relaxing my hair until high school, but I wore a press and curl and even a curly perm (yikes) during grade school. Other than childhood photos, I didn’t really know what my unprocessed hair would be like.

When I walked into my workplace the first day after my Big Chop, the reactions were priceless. Don’t people know it’s rude to stare? I knew it was a shocking change for everyone, so it was actually something I expected. As my hair grew and I was able to switch up my styles I received more compliments and comments like, “I wish I could go natural”. My response was always, “Go for it! Just chop it off”. But I realize that is much easier said than done. Being mentally prepared to cut your relaxed hair is 90% of the battle.

Today the natural hair scene has absolutely exploded. What a difference 10 years makes. What I simply consider a way of life is the hottest trend going! From my days of obscure website hunting, fast forward to an abundance of social media and blog coverage on natural hair. Many main stream hair & beauty companies have also jumped on the natural train. The greater ease of social sharing has made access to information and product much easier. Women have so many resources available to them, it’s a great time to be natural.

I’ve experimented with every style from a TWA, BAA, locs, twists, puffs, flat-ironed styles, up-dos, color-treatments and now, 10 years later I’ve chopped it off again into a short tapered style (which I think may be my favorite style of all!) I’ve tried nearly every popular product line and tool available. Variety is definitely half the fun of being natural. I love each and every one of my tightly coiled strands. Here’s to 10 more years of love and happiness with natural hair.

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