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Five Things I Have Learned Over The Past 5 Years About Natural Hair

About five (5) years ago, I decided to chop my relaxed hair off. I was almost a year without a relaxer, and I was just tired of dealing with two (2) texture honestly. My experiences since then have been nothing short of tumultuous, full of good days and bad days, ups and downs and sometimes downright confusing.

However, as I mastered (or so I like to think even though I know I’m fooling myself) my hair and the care of it, I have learned a lot in the process.

Here are some of the things I have learned over the years:

  1. NOT EVERYONE WILL APPRECIATE YOUR HAIR

This one is a tough one to swallow, which is why I chose to address this first. I remember the day I cut my hair, it was a Friday night, and my boyfriend at the time had no clue, he picked me up for the beach the next morning, and he just stared at me in disdain and said: “Hurry up grow back your hair” … Excuse me what? Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last, but it taught me right out the gate that not everyone would accept the magic that is your God-given halo. And let’s not even get into the numerous times co-workers (mostly the senior ones) would throw shade about how in their younger days they had to comb their hair for work (rude much?) At the end of the day once it grows out of your scalp it’s yours to keep and love, and once you’re content with your hair no one else’s opinion matters.

 

  1. YOUR “HOLY GRAIL” HAIR PRODUCT MAY DO NOTHING FOR MY HAIR

Okay, so this one took me by surprise with a slap in my face that I almost cried actual tears. Before deciding to chop off my then armpit length transitioning hair I did tons of research, I binge-watched YouTube videos and researched products and reviews, yes I was ready! (I was not ready haha). Now, we Caribbean ladies and gents know that Shea Moisture products cost us a pretty penny, so your girl asked her cousin in the UK to bring some when she was coming home for Christmas that year. I was stoked, I could feel the excitement coursing through my veins, and everyone raved about this specific deep treatment masque, so my hair was about to be lit. I applied the product after shampooing with the shampoo from the same line, covered my hair with a plastic cap, and waited. When I went to wash my hair out; I all but cried, my hair felt as course as a brillo pad (I kid you not, I let everyone in the house feel it). I learned that day to try different products until I found what works for me and not just follow what everyone else is using.

 

  1. YOUR HAIR AND MY HAIR ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL

As evident from the previous point, it’s different strokes for different folks. After returning natural, I convinced my mother and sister to take the plunge, and guys I have never seen three (3) more different heads of hair emerging from one family. My sister and I have the same parents, and my hair is soft with fine strands while hers is courser with thick strands; also hers is denser, so she has a thicker head of hair. Consequently, whatever works for my hair rarely works for hers. So again, take time to figure out your hair, tips from other people are useful to have but just be prepared for the possibility that their tips will not always help your hair.

 

  1. YOUR BAD HAIR DAY IS SOMEONE ELSE’S HAIR GOALS

Nothing is worse than carefully moisturizing your hair and twisting it up nicely or braiding it neatly for a bomb twist out or braid out the next day, only to undo your hair before you leave for work and it’s still wet. The horror, the betrayal, “I did everything for you; how could you do this to me?” So you throw in a few bobby pins here and there to create a new hairstyle and leave the house, only to hear the lady you meet on the elevator, or on the street say, “Excuse me but I LOVE your hair.” You politely smile and say thank you, but your brain cannot compute why on the one day you think you look a hot mess someone thinks you look great. So I now rock my hair fails like it was meant to be that way, I throw on some lipstick and pick that hair out and walk like I’m on a runway. After all, if I don’t love and appreciate my hair even on the bad days, then what’s the point right?

 

  1. IT IS HAIR AND HAIR GROWS

I can already feel some eyes rolling and some people sighing at this one. I know from experience telling people that hair grows and they will say theirs don’t, and also early on I thought mine was not growing. I remember watching YouTube videos when I had a TWA and wishing my hair would get to at least armpit length haha (I am now bra strap length so I can laugh at myself). I would refuse to trim my hair, which did more bad than good and stunted my growth due to breakage. I always wanted to stretch my hair (to see growth lol) and I even flat ironed it “professionally” and had a huge set back (hair in front did not revert).

Today I trim my hair whenever my ends look or feel like they need divine intervention (as often or as little as that may be) and I make the extra effort to keep my strands healthy and happy. Also, be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and even God took his time to create the masterpiece that is the world, so take your time, and your hair will grow!

All in all, your hair journey is exactly that, it is YOURS, so make the most of it and take time to love your hair, and it will love you back!

Shemelia Shortte

Wife | Mother | Hair Enthusiast

 

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