Newbie Natural: Deciding to Go Natural

I always say it: jump. If you’ve seen another woman in real life or online or on TV with natural hair and you’ve been toying with the idea, jump. You never know where you’ll end up. And I say this for pretty much any life decision that plagues my mind. If I’m thinking about it so much, I must at least try it…got nothing to lose…life’s too short. 

Many women are faced with being on the fence about going natural. I usually say: jump. Yeah but how, Aisha? How do you even decide to go natural? I figured it’d be best to re-share the posts that I
wrote when I was making the decision to go natural and how I prepared
for it instead of writing the experience from a retrospective view.
Here’s what I was thinking when I first started my blog and documenting my natural hair story.


Decision to go natural

Originally written on 12 April, 2011

Last bad relaxer

February 27th, 2011 is the date of my last relaxer.

I had single braids that I kept in for about 2 months taken out, which
re-affirmed my decision that I had made 5 years earlier that I’d stay
away from single braids for a number of reasons. The main one of which
is I felt I’d grown out of them. I’d been wearing single braids/single
twists every 2-3 months since I was 11 or so. I had the occasional break
with a few stints of relaxer but for a good 10+ years, I wore my hair
in braids. But when I was in 2nd year at uni, I felt I was ready for a
more mature look.

Then came the relaxers, ponytails, weaves, half weaves etc. The hair I
loved and aspired to was long, black and wavy, like the Kardashians. And
I was striving to have that sultry look. So I relaxed my hair and for
the first time, at age 20, I had my hair flat ironed. Finally, my hair
could move in the wind! My hair was slinky all the way down, not just
the top bit but the whole thing! Finally I had the need to flick my hair
out of my eyes using just my head (this was waaay before Justin Bieber
trademarked that move). I became obsessed with hair. Anything, and
everything hair.
I researched how to maintain relaxed hair, and learned
how to maintain my weaves. I became a hair guru. So much so, other black
girls would stare at my attached ponytail, trying to figure out if it’s
my real hair or an addition.

For the rest of my time at uni, I wouldn’t dare step out of my room
without some kind of extension. Even though my hair had grown from being
too short to tie into a ponytail to grazing the back of my neck. I just
wanted loooong hair. I never had a specific target in mind but I just
never was happy with the length it reached. I had conquered the
thickness bit, thanks to my parents for giving me a massive head of hair
(which I used to curse every time my mom attempted to comb it for my
weekly cornrow session as a kid). I had/have so much hair, I usually use
one box of relaxer to retouch it, and 1.5-2 boxes to do my whole head.
So even when people told me I had nice hair, I never believed them
because I’d wanted long, luscious hair so I wouldn’t feel like I “had”
to wear a weave.

Anyways, so for the past 5 years, I’d been relaxing my hair. Last year, I
experienced a bad trim job by my trusted hairdresser. Which for the
first time in a few years, made me self conscious about wearing my own
hair. So my hair was ridiculously uneven all over. I just wanted her to
get rid of the split ends, but salons in TZ don’t seem to understand how
to trim hair. Then, in January, I made another mistake. I got small
single braids put in. I was about to move country, I had these packets
of hair from my sis-in-law and I didn’t want the hassle of dealing with
my hair for a bit. So I abandoned my promise to myself, and got them
done. I’m not gonna lie, for the first month or so, I loved not having
to wrap my hair every night. The braids were a different colour to what I
usually do and it gave me a different look. But during the second
month, I started getting irritated with them as I had to constantly
detangle them, and they began to get matty and uncurly. I also saw that
they were starting to pull my hair at the edges. So my plan was as
usual. Go to the salon, get them to undo my braids, treat my hair then
retouch and straighten. 7 hours and half my head of hair later, looking
in the mirror at the final results caused me to almost cry and think:
What the hell happened to my hair?? Where did it all go?? Is it really
worth going through all of this just to get straight hair??! I know I
shouldn’t have undone my braids and retouched on the same day. But I’d
done it so many times before and got acceptable results. I left feeling
naked, and weird. I knew this wasn’t the normal flatness I usually
experience after a fresh relaxer. This was my hair telling me: STOP!!!
I’m tired!! I’m exhausted, I’ve had enough, you better do something else
or the rest of me is gonna go. The next day, I decided I’m gonna stop
relaxing my hair. I thought to myself, if I could spend all that time,
money and effort five years ago researching and studying relaxed hair,
weaves etc., nothing of which I had known then…why couldn’t I do that
with my own hair? As in, my natural, unchemicalised hair. For years, the
reason I had to not ever having my natural hair out was that “I can’t
take care of it”. But that day, I realised, I didn’t KNOW how to care
for it. I never even really tried.
Ever since my mom relaxed my hair
when I was 8 or so, I understood that my natural hair was just too hard
and stubborn to even comb without breaking a comb.

So, I began my research. This is my hair journey. I hope to be able to
look over this blog and remember the advice and inspiration I’ve come
across in my research. I’m excited, nervous and anxious to see where
I’ll end up. Fingers crossed!

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9 Comments

  1. May 4, 2014 / 3:04 pm

    Hello, Currently 3 months transitioning. I've gone through a lot of natural hair blogs but yours is very unique because of your detailed monthly journey on being natural. It has been really helpful and you have cleared all doubts from my mind. Thanks for being an inspiration. #TeamNatural

  2. March 27, 2014 / 6:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing your hair journey! Nice read! Good luck to you on going back to natural again. I am excited for you too! I hope everything will turn well!

  3. March 3, 2014 / 7:52 am

    i just decided to go natural cause i love how my hair is but i hate the fact i don't even know how to style it am starting to get frustrated by all the comments i get about my hair and people laughing at me. is there some easy style that works cause i really love ow my natural hair is

  4. February 12, 2014 / 2:23 pm

    I have decided to go natural since Feb 2013. My hair was texturise before but I realised the curls and waves weren't there after a few years. I believed the chemical at wash out kept processing the hair to straightness. I am currently transitioning and it was a challenge dealing with both textures. Last week I cut my processed to hair to 2 inches from natural hair so that my hair can still look lengthy and be able to get in a pony tail. But watching your videos and seeing you pics. They are inspiring me cut down to my natural hair but I am a bit hesitant as all these years growing up I am use to long hair. I am not use to dealing with hair at night as my hair is kept in plaits most of the time or pony tail. I work in air-con so having the hair tucked away seems idle. Thanks however for your website full of info and videos. Not much information is out there for 4c hair and we have the same hair it seems.

    From Barbados

  5. May 8, 2013 / 6:28 pm

    I surprisingly haven't had scalp burns and horror stories whem relaxed. I even visit my hairdresser because he is so sweet and relaxed my hair so well. I remember on the last days of my relaxing I went to him and said no more chemicals for me and he wished me well. Halla at the Natural Youtube guris DPrincess28 & Mahoganycurls. These ladies gave me courage to transition 3years ago and i'm stil going strong!

    • May 31, 2013 / 2:06 pm

      That's so sweet that you and your stylist are still cool! Many try to convince you not to go natural.

  6. May 7, 2013 / 8:57 am

    I decided to go natural after I realised that relaxers aren't my friend! from when I was young products that have been used on me(step 1, sheen) to make my hair soft, years later I became a teen and started experimenting with products and my hair can't stay straight for long or rather my growth shows rather quickly I would relax every 4 weeks… 2006 was my last straw(so I thought) after a bad experience at a SALON. in 2007 after walking around with damaged for a couple of months(I had to hang on to a bit of that straightness lol) I went bald for a while then the journey of my natural hair started it was beautiful ♥_♥. In 2009 I relaxed my hair adhering to the pressure of straight hair it got DAMAGED AGAIN in 2011. . .and I finally put the relaxer down and 2013 here I am with my beautiful hair. its been a year and 5months growing my fro now. yes me and fro fight and it gets bitter by getting tangled after a fight lol and yeah now its winter its safely hidden in a weave. . .

    • May 31, 2013 / 2:05 pm

      Sounds just like my hair. We really have our ups and downs but I can't imagine anything else!

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