Stylist Anya Grant shares her natural hair journey.
NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!
Anya Grant: My name is Anya Grant and I'm the Creative Empowering Officer and Marketer of iHEARTmyhair.com.
NC: Tell us about your natural hair journey. Have you always worn it natural, or when and why did you decide to start wearing it natural?
AG: I was Natural from the day I came out of the womb until grade 7 (twelve years old). It all started once I hit grade 6. I wanted to perm my hair so badly, especially since everyone was doing it. I was raised by my grandmother who was not having that, not one bit! So for my elementary school graduation there was no straightened hair do. It was like a regular school day with big plaits and hair ribbons and a few tiny plaits in front for a bang.
I got my first perm, back in 1996 at the tender age of 12. From then on I HATED perming because of the burning sensation during the process, the scalp burns (scabs) after and a week later, the hair all over the bathroom floor. I hated perming my hair so much that I would stretch it to two perms a year. I remember my then hair stylist would blame me for the hair loss because I was not perming as often as I should have. (Really?)
I stopped perming my hair in 2003 during my first year of University. I have done EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to my hair: I dyed my hair 3 times, texturized it twice, damaged it with heat from flat ironing and put Hydrogen Peroxide in to lighten it. I've done every hairstyle you can think of — straw sets, corn rows, braids, twist outs, wigs, weaves, water curls, etc.
It wasn't until the end of 2008, after much distress, that I got fed up and turned to the internet, read books and articles and educated myself about natural hair. On December 19, 2008 I did, what I considered to be my last BIG CHOP. It was more than just cutting off stringy damaged hair it was liberating and uplifting. I began my natural hair journey again this time with a healthy, well informed start.
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