Recently I blogged about my decision to go natural. You can read about it here. Once I made the decision, I started my research. I had just gotten my hair braided so I figured I had at least 4 weeks to learn as much as possible. I read tons of articles on transitioning, hair textures, products, styles, the list goes on. My biggest question was should I do the big chop or should I transition slowly with the help of braids. Being the ultra conservative person that I am coupled with my apprehension of cutting my shoulder length hair, I decided to slowly transition and gradually clip off the relaxed ends. (At least that was the plan…)
When I finally removed my braids about 6 weeks later, I didn’t anticipate that my roots would be as tangled as they were. I saturated my entire head with conditioner, put on a shower cap and did some house work for about two hours. After I rinsed out the conditioner, I was mortified by what I encountered. I was left with one matted mess. I was totally amazed at how tangled my hair was..instant dreads. I called my sister who happens to be a licensed cosmetologist and told her my dilemma. She said the following;
- Prior to wetting my hair, I should have applied oil to the tangled area for easier detangling
- I should have shampooed and deep conditioned only AFTER I detangled my dry hair
- Relaxed hair is weaker when wet.
- The point between new growth and relaxed hair is the weakest part of my strand, I may experience breakage there.
Somehow, I interpreted what she said to mean that I should now blow dry my hair, pour some oil and try to detangle it again. Unfortunately, the damage was already done. My hair was dry, brittle, stiff and my scalp felt as though someone had sand papered it. It was coming out in clumps mostly from the roots (pictured below). But I continued to painstakingly detangle what seemed like one strand at a time. The final results: my hair went from healthy shoulder length hair (pictured above), to brittle, damaged, short hair (also pictured below).
Out of frustration, I contemplated just having it relaxed again, but the thought of anything touching my scalp made me cringe. A few weeks later, I decided to have all the relaxed ends cut off but I wasn’t ready or confident enough to rock my short “fro” so once again I opted for braids; but this time cornrows. The braids were extremely tight.When I left the salon, my scalp felt like it was on fire. The pain was so excruciating I took a few over the counter pain medicine (and I’m not one to take medication very easily). I used an ice pack to try to ease the pain. I watched as the tension of my hair pulling on my scalp caused my scalp to bleed. I developed scabs and my hair eventually pulled completely out of my head. After four torturous days, I removed the braids.
Having enduring such a painful ordeal, I decided that our family vacation would be a good opportunity to wear my natural hair out and get used to the feel and the look of it. Not having to deal with braids, hair pieces or hats was liberating! When I got back I was rested, rejuvenated and ready to embrace my new hair. In part 3 of my Natural Hair, Don’t Care series, I’ll talk about my ‘”no routine” hair routine.
When I made a decision to “go natural”, I devised a plan and a road map to get there. I’ve learned that even with research, preparation and the best intentions, things don’t always go according to plan. The reality was that there were a lot of detours, set backs and opportunities to quit. But I was determined to stay the course. Life can be very unpredictable. We are often faced with a variety unexpected road blocks. I believe that the best way to overcome life’s setback is to let the Word of God navigate our life’s journey and make sure that our plans are in line with God’s plan.