Then & Now
Three years ago today, I went 100% natural and big chopped after 8 months of transitioning. It was the last day of the Mayan calendar and supposedly the end of the world, so I’ll never forget the date. Although the world didn’t end, the era of Chadeia with relaxed hair did, and I’ve never looked back. I had about 4 inches of hair when I big chopped and no idea what I was doing in terms of caring for my hair. To make matters worse, the only style I was able to do successfully was a wash and go.
Today, I have about 10 inches of hair and still struggle with caring for my hair from time to time. If there is one thing that being natural for 3 years has taught me, it’s that natural hair is a challenge. My hair does what it wants. I can make recommendations to how I’d like my hair to behave, but ultimately it gets the final say. I’ve learned that the weather really plays a big part in how my hair will perform. A lot of the hair products that I use are high in glycerin, an ingredient that helps hair pull moisture into the hair shaft. When the weather has a lot of humidity in the air, and my hair has a lot of glycerin in it, it turns into an undefined, shrunken puff.
I’ve yet to find a glycerin free product that works well in my hair, so I’ve found that it is impossible for me to wear stretched out styles in the warmer months. Instead, I’ve learned to use the humidity to my advantage. In the summer, I wear styles that incorporate my shrunken natural curl pattern. Instead of trying to manipulate my hair and wear it in a stretched state, my go to style for high humidity is air-dried twist outs using a foaming mousse.
In the cooler months, I don’t have a problem keeping my hair in a stretched state. Since there’s not as much humidity, the glycerin doesn’t cause my hair to shrink, so I’m able to do bigger and fluffier styles (my favorite!). When it’s cool outside, I like to blow dry my hair on a cool setting using the tension method and wear my hair in stretched flat twist outs.
Natural hair can definitely feel like a science experiment sometimes, but I love it. Natural hair is so beautiful to me and I feel so accomplished when I master a style. My best advice for great natural hair is to just keep going. There will be challenges, there will be failures, but it’s important to just embrace it and keep going. Learn to love the shrinkage and find styles that can be worn both in a shrunken state and in a stretched state. For me, the go to style no matter the texture or curl pattern of my hair is the high puff. And if all else fails, I throw on a knitted bonnet. Just remember, shrunken hair, is healthy hair. It’s just doing what it’s supposed to do.
Like what you’re seeing on Passion Me This? Sign up to follow this blog! It’s easy.