With my 1-year anniversary of no perming and no heat just around the corner, I’m finding myself quite introspective about where this hair journey has taken me over the last year. Then again, I can quickly become introspective about anything, so that should be no surprise. 🙂 When I watched the movie “Good Hair,” which cemented a decision that I’d been pondering for over two years, I never considered all of the emotions and uncertainties that I’d experience on the way to loving this part of who I am.
Now I can truthfully say that I love my natural hair, and the only thing that I hate is that I waited so long to get started. Though a year has passed tremendously fast, I still have a while to go as I’ve decided against big chopping. I also have a bit of mental work in gaining confidence with a new look and all the associated new reactions to it. Sounds a lot like a homeschooling journey, huh? The parallels are astonishing.
Many of the searches that lead to my blog are ‘relaxed hair journey, 6 months transitioning to natural, natural hair, one month natural hair journey, etc.,’ I am assuming that these are people who are in the exact same place that I was a year ago. With that in mind, I thought I might share some resources, among the overwhelming number there are, that were particularly helpful to me as I began almost a year ago.
Tightlycurly.com was one of the first websites I found after researching sodium hydroxide in hair products, and it was an immediate blessing. Though this site seems pretty much abandoned, and perhaps in some places outdated, there are two links within it that are invaluable to any transitioner:
1) The ingredients dictionary, an incredible amount of work that will enlighten anyone who uses hair products regarding what to consider looking for, and definitely what to avoid
2) The Tightly curly method, specifically the advice to never comb or brush your hair when it is dry. I made this mistake early on and broke off far more hair than was necessary. Thank God I found her site early.
(I’ve come a ways since these products were staples–ha ha!)
If you’re like me and honestly don’t remember what your hair looked like before you permed it (personally, my hair has been chemically straightened since my early teens and was straightened with a “hot comb” when I was younger than that), there is a wealth of research to commit to in order to find what will work for you and why other items might not be your proverbial cup of tea. Google or Bing ‘transition from relaxed hair to natural hair’ or something similar and you have a series of links that make War and Peace look like Frog and Toad. And, assuming you aren’t discouraged by information overload, where do you begin, and who is in place to keep you encouraged? With an increasing number of women transitioning from relaxed hair to their natural hair, explanations and inspiration might be around the corner. For those who still have questions, there are a number of hair communities on the Internet. I like NaturallyCurly.com, but my favorite has become Natural Sunshine. Once you establish your own page, you can connect with groups and join in on discussions. It’s been my privilege to have joined a group of ladies over 40, who share similar age-related hair commonalities (read becoming grayer by the minute), and who, like me, have embraced their natural hair transitions as one phase of an overall long-term maintenance plan.
Though they may not have a separate website, there are a number of ladies who’ve built up enough of a following on YouTube to have significant activity on their own channels. Several of the more popular ladies that I’m aware of are younger, but their wisdom regarding hair is priceless for any age. A personal favorite of mine is Naptural85, primarily because her tone, spunk, and ability to laugh at self are simply perfect for a video. My portrayal of her video personality probably belittles the fact that this young lady is a true sage in caring for natural tresses.
So, as I embrace this new look and all the other doors that the natural hair journey has opened, I am excited. I look forward to my year anniversary, and to putting together my own little online pictorial of where my hair has been this year. Though a picture might be worth a thousand words, none would begin to tell the story of where my mind and heart have been regarding my hair, my lifestyle, and my plans for maintaining my health and wholeness in these months and years to come.
As a final thought, I don’t put much stock in celebrity trends, but I found this one interesting. The article is a brief story/ photo collection of Solange Knowles, younger sister of superstar Beyonce`, “big chopping” her hair and then growing out her natural locks. Incidentally, this young lady, the daughter of a hair stylist, stated on television that she’d had her hair chemically relaxed since the age of four. While we scratch our collective heads at that one, what intrigued me wasn’t as much the article as the comments that followed. The first commenter stated, ‘…she looks like any other celebrity with the relaxed hair, but with the big chop, she looks stunning… ‘
Here’s to being stunning.