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  1. #1
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    Cool A Relaxed Natural's Hair Journey (Newbie)

    Hi all...

    I am fairly new here, been reading all day, and excited to finally be posting...I would like to share my hair story and background and just intro myself in general...

    I have been natural now for 21 yrs, and I am also 21 yrs old if that helps. Lol. Altho I must admit maybe 2 yrs back, I did try an in home texturizer, that, I suppose didn't take because my hair stayed the same texture. Anyways, I was actually glad for that because I prefer my original texture to any other, I was just going through changes and as tends to happen with me, my hair was the one who had to take the brunt of those changes.

    Anyways, aside from the fact that I have always had what I will call “growing hair” for lack of a better term, just meaning that I have never really had a problem with seeing that hair has grown, somewhere down the line I always noticed that it had gotten shorter...(which I now know was due to it having broken off), and being that if my hair became too long-apl etc.- or I went through drama, I always cut it to like 2 inches to get a fresh start, the breakage never really bothered me. But recently I went through a broken engagement, and just really needed to get it together so once again I felt my fingers itching to cut it, but this time I decided that instead of cutting it again I wanted a real change…to grow it out instead.

    Before I met Mr. Right Then, I never really had any interest in caring for my hair. I am actually a hijabi, and a self-professed mix between a tomboy and a girly girl, with a 60/40 split. Growing up, I was semi-raised, and in turn groomed, by my stepmother, who is a beautiful women who never used any negative connotations toward my hair type, however she simply braided it with grease, and it was forever in a break grow cycle through ages 6-10. On top of that, she is half-Indian, and although SHE never used any of these negative terms such as “pretty hair” or “good hair” versus my 4b thick “nappy” hair, my friends often did and I myself wished that my hair could be softer…longer like hers .

    We moved to Africa for a yr when I was 10, and in response to the harsh condition and bad care I-and my lil sis came back all but bald. Starting from scratch my hair grew back but never was quite the same.

    As I grew up and begin taking care of my own hair, I noticed that when I wet it and then greased it, it seemed to grow longer. But again, being a tomboy and a hijabi. I never really cared much. I would plait it, put on my scarf and go.

    Needless to say that break/grow cycle continued though I was considered one of the “longer” haired girls in our group, who preferred to wear her hair short. My close friend was often called “bald-headed” tho I never understood why, because her hair was maybe 6 inches, and she seemed to try every miracle product that came along but nothing seemed to work…

    Anyway, I talk too much as it is, so I will skip the rest of the life story and move into when I met Mr. Right Then. It was shortly after I had cut my hair again, dyed it, and he told me he didn’t like dyed hair. So I decided that I would cut again…which I did.

    I was stressed throughout our whole “relationship” and my hair seemed to constantly be coming out. Not to mention the very ends were still dyed, and so that didn’t help the damage any…

    After the 6 mth engagement ended, I figured it was time for another chop, being that that was my standard response to drama…but I was tired of braiding and cutting it and decided maybe I would just have someone else braid it for me. So, I got a recommendation and went to our resident celebrity natural hair braider-who just so happened to charge $50 for a consult, $30 for a wash, and $120 per hour to do my natural hair. I went for the consult at which time the stylist simply looked at my braids, and then suggested maybe 5 times that I add weave to a style of my choosing. Each time I told her no, and after looking through a “natural” styling book and picking out a cute style that was braided in the front, afro’d in the back, she insisted “You would actually really need to add weave for that look…”. Why was that? When my hair is thicker than the girl who was pictured! Needless to say I never went back after that, because A. I really didn’t like the vibe, and B. Because I’m sorry, maybe I’m just good old fashioned cheap, but $120 is too much for me to spend on hair every two weeks…

    As a last ditch effort to “try something new” before I BC’d it again, I went to a stylist to get my hair pressed, deciding maybe getting my hair straightened instead would be the fresh start I wanted…I made the mistake of going to a stylist recommended by a girl who had maybe 2 inches of hair, and it was relaxed. I went to this stylist and after an initial free consultation-Ya’ll know I wanted that to recoup my wasted $50 -I got my hair straightened. In hindsight, I do blame myself, because the whole time she was washing my hair she was stating “This is the thickest hair I have ever seen!” She washed it the first time and then when I was in the chair commented “This hair isn’t clean…that happens a lot with naturals…" so I had to be washed again…I found this odd, because I have been washing my hair for years and never had a problem getting it clean…Then while she was combing I heard the ripping sounds as she loudly repeated over and over in various forms “I would just break down and perm this if I was you….Yea I would go ahead and relax this right now…This is some thick hair! This is some nappy hair! Yeah I would break down and just gon head and relax this stuff…TODAY!” I felt so embarrassed because she was saying this to the various other customers/stylists in the salons, and this was my first experience as an adult in a salon. She proceeded to burn me several times, stating “I will admit I am a burner!” Laughing as though it were funny. And I remember hearing the sizzling and seeing the smoke…The whole process took about 9 hrs when if not for her repeated stopping to go eat, and yakking on and on it could've easily taken 4! I should also mention that her hair was less than an inch and dyed a maroon-ish color. Since that experience, during my research I have often been warned “Never trust a stylist with unhealthy hair…" Anyway, the end result of my fiasco was shoulder length burnt smelling hair, a few bad-meaning long and scabbed over-scalp burns, and feeling like my natural hair was just too much to care for and that I should just “break down” and relax it…

    A few wks after this ordeal, I noticed that my hair in the front, the middle, and the far left back-all places where she had burned me-had broken off! It is about 3 inches shorter than the shortest point on this rest of my hair. And, then I decided that this would be my last attempt at anything other than finding out for Myself how to care for my NATURAL hair…

    And that is when I decided to delve into something that I had always wondered about, but due to just plain old nonchalance never really researched: Why was it that every other race seemed to have easily growing hair, but we as African-American women always seemed to be told our hair didn’t grow? Why was I being encouraged in a “natural” hair stylists salon to add weave to my natural hair, as tho my black, thick, 4b type was not enough hair to deal with?

    So, I finally began researching African-American hair care; naturals, textures, perms, dreads, I read every book that our library has to offer-which is about only 15 books-including an apparently infamous one called “another 6 inches”-, watched documentaries, African-American hair care specials, found various online sources, and after researching hair care, utilizing online tools that I’d never known existed, and educating myself on hair structure, I discovered that it was simply due to years of ignorance-in the community, and my own-, insufficient options for self hair care, and a hair industry that is apparently structured around our 80% of the hair care pie…

    Anyways, that is my long and sordid hair story. Now I am about 8 wks into my new educated hair regimen. I wear my hair in braids, water daily, seal, take vitamins, condition, and only use natural products for now, though I am just basically still experimenting and figuring out what works for my hair.

    I have recently read a few posts here about the natural vs. relaxed debate, and after visiting other hair care sites, and reading various books about natural-versus-processed-versus-dreads-versus-weaves, etc, I have decided that I would like to be labeled as a “relaxed natural”. Which, means that I am completely and totally relaxed about my hair being natural and everyone else’s being whatever they please.

    I have about an inch and a half of new growth so far! I am documenting, but I would like to get a little more comfortable before I post pictures. I am looking forward to chilling with you other naturals, locked sisters, and hair growing sisters...And I hope I fit in…

    Thank you all, in advance.

    Btw, my name is Jayla…lol. Nice to meet everyone!

  2. #2
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    Welcome to Nappturality and of course you fit in. We're all here to share and learn.
    BC'd: June 2010
    Last perm: End of 2009

  3. #3
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    Woooo that was alot girl but I read it!!!! Welcome to NP and congrats on your decision. I look forward to seeing you around the boards!!!
    BC'd: July 20, 2010
    Natural Hair/Personal Blog: http://imanaturalblackgirl.blogspot.com

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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