Timeline: Being Natural – 1 Full Year Later

Month: 12
Growth: 15 months’ worth
Length: approx. 6″

My first anniversary of being fully natural was a very reflective time for me. Nothing can really describe it better than the words I had to say that day, so here’s my 1 Year Fully Natural Review (written on 27th May, 2012):

A year ago today, I walked into Abina’s salon and carried my going
natural decision through and chopped my hair off. It’s been an interesting,
eventful and almost life changing year…not just for me and my hair but life in
general. But my fro and I, we seem to have survived this first year pretty
well. My growth is 15 months worth, but it’s a year of being fully
natural.  I had no idea where I was going
to end up when I cut off my relaxed ends but I knew I couldn’t do the relaxing
anymore. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made and I haven’t regretted it

The first few months were up and down, and by month three or
so, I was feeling pretty low with my short short lil fro. But I never relaxed
it. Then the next months there seemed to be a growth spurt, which got me
excited cos I could finally wear my hair in different styles. Then I got
obsessed, watching more and more Youtube vids for style ideas etc. Then earlier
this year, I think I reached a plateau. I pretty much knew what to do to get my
hair to look how I wanted, which products my hair likes and less frustrated.
Now I’m at 12 months post big chopping, and I actually almost feel like I’ve
been natural for years. Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve gotten so used to my
hair that I guess the initial excitement has worn off. I didn’t even end up
doing an 11 month review! I’m still very excited to see where it will go/grow in
a year. And that’s now my focus, to protect my hair when need be and try and
get it at a healthy and longer stage. I’m so glad I kept this blog and took
photos regularly cos it really has helped to keep track of my progress. But I
also don’t think I’ll be doing a monthly review anymore…not necessary anymore.
I will do yearly reviews now…makes more sense to do methinks.

Today, I tried the first new products in months; VO5 Elixirs
Nourishing Conditioner. I used it to co-wash and then DC as usual. I love the
texture, it’s thick and feels great on my hair. And with that, I’ve changed my
regimen to be more winter friendly. I’m going to try co-washing every other
week and shampoo the other weeks. I’ll still continue to DC weekly though. And
I’m also going to have to put my hair in another protective style or two to
last throughout winter. I loved the afro braids I had and will definitely do
them again. I think because they gave me a hectic afro, I didn’t miss my own as
quickly as I usually do when I have a protective style in. Hmmm, what else? Oh
and I’m sooo over straight hair! Not that I won’t do it ever again but I’m just
more drawn to curly, bouncy hair. My whole mindset has changed on hair. My only
regret is I didn’t go natural earlier, lol.
Here’s to another year!

This concludes my retrospective posts of my first year being fully natural. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them and have been inspired by my experience – the ups and the downs. Going natural isn’t a piece of cake for everyone and it certainly wasn’t for me. For the full series, have a look in the Being Natural page.

Fro turns two next week ๐Ÿ™‚




  1. Nommie
    April 8, 2018 / 2:58 pm

    Recently discovered this blog and I’m loving it! I’ve been transitioning for a year now and contemplating doing the big chop, this might be the extra push I needed๐Ÿ™ˆ
    Thanks for creating such an awesome platformโœจโค

    • Aisha O'Reilly
      April 9, 2018 / 3:46 pm

      Hey Nommie, thanks so much for the love! Glad you found me ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. June 12, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    Thanks a lot for sharing your journey! I thought I was going insane, did feel ugly at the beginning of my transition. I'm currently in love with my fro, you such an inspiration!

  3. Anonymous
    February 17, 2016 / 10:25 pm

    Wow inspirational. So in the first year you protective styled your hair about 4 times for short periods of time….am I right in thinking every night more often than not you either twisted it or braided it…is that how you achieved growth?

  4. Anonymous
    August 29, 2013 / 6:43 am

    You and your Fro, notice my admiration by adding the capital letters, are brave.I've recently started to Transition which is challenging. It's great see someone online in South Africa that has taken the plunge to embrace natural hair.

  5. June 14, 2013 / 11:17 pm

    I just think you are too adorable! Congrats on deciding to wear your hair the way nature intended! I have been natural for many years. It is definitely a journey of discovery! I love the variety of hairstyles! I will definitely be using them on my hair! Our hair is similar in texture, so I feel confident the styles will come out equally as glam as yours did! Thanks again for sharing your process!

  6. May 25, 2013 / 5:26 am

    your hair has really thrived! I think you're the only person i've seen with a length update in a fro. You don't try to stretch it for comparison. shows you really embrace your fro and its shrinkage.

    • June 4, 2013 / 12:24 pm

      Lol, my hair is stretched in the photos! But I don't straighten it, I haven't yet and I think it'll give me a false sense of how my hair looks like…if that makes any sense :s

  7. Anonymous
    May 24, 2013 / 11:15 am

    Hi Aisha, I read somewhere that you are only doing annual updates on your hair's growth. Please shorten that period to at least quarterly or something. I'm just over a year behind you and I like that I can use your growth and challenges as a benchmark. I know everyone's hair is different, but it gives an idea on what to expect. Pls indulge me. Cheers.

    • June 4, 2013 / 12:23 pm

      Hi Anon, I'll be writing my updates whenever from now on as my hair does different things at different times. I'm trying hard not to focus so much on length so please just watch out for posts where I ramble on about my hair, not necessarily titled "Review" ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • June 4, 2013 / 12:21 pm

      Glad you found it inspiring!

  8. May 23, 2013 / 7:38 am

    Congrats girl! You look great and so does your fro ๐Ÿ™‚

    • June 4, 2013 / 12:20 pm

      Thank you, this was a year ago ๐Ÿ™‚

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