I always knew I would go natural. It wasn’t a fear of a big chop that took me so long; it was the lack of parental acceptance and family support that prolonged the inevitable. I big chopped several times in my late teens and early 20s – it just never took.
I always found an excuse to go back to chemically processed hair because someone in my family would say something negative about my look. It wasn’t until my late twenties that I decided NO MORE!
The Locs Lifestyle
Twenty-nine was a pinnacle year for me. That’s when I stopped chemically processing my hair altogether. It’s also when I became pregnant with my first daughter. I realized then that I did not want to introduce her to a me that really wasn’t all “me."
My transition was nothing to write about. I basically let my hair grow out and I slowly cut the relaxed hair myself. I must admit, at the time I had no clue what I was doing. I mostly wore a wash and go and didn’t have much of a “hair regime." Even though I was happy being natural, something was still missing.
In late May, while I was living in Massachusetts, I decided to get starter locs. There was no real rhyme or reason, but I had always admired locs and thought, “Hey, why not?"
The beginning of my loc journey was difficult. I was not used to the short twisted look, plus due to the texture of my hair, it took forever for my locs to really lock. Aside from my husband and brother, no one in my family really liked my hair. Looking back, I realize that the initial stage of any natural hair journey is difficult without a support system.
My husband helped me tremendously though this time – he constantly reiterated just how beautiful he thought I was and how gorgeous my hair was. I’m not sure if he was telling the truth or not, but those supportive jesters made me go seven years with my locs.
Embracing Loose Natural Hair
Two years ago, with the help of my husband, I combed and picked out my locs of seven years! Yes, it’s true. you do not have to cut your hair if you have locs, you just need patience, a rat tail comb and A LOT of conditioner. The process was long and tedious, but the end result was worth it!
After combing out my locs, I began writing my blog – Une Autre Naturelle – meaning Another Natural. I realized that my journey, as different as it is to some, may have some similarities for others. I wanted to find an avenue to document my natural hair stories as well as my daughter's so that one day when she questions her textures of beauty, she will have somewhere to go and receive support, even when no one else will provide it.
My life’s hair story has bought on various characters – a TWA wearing teenager, a loc’d coming of age thirty-year-old, and a now mature and self-confident natural loose wearing woman. I am happy to have experienced these three phases of natural!
Products, Products and More Products
This natural journey has taught me one thing; I am a product junkie at heart, but, like everything else, I have my favorites.
When I had hair locs, I used the entire Jane Carter product line – shampoo, conditioner, twist and lock, and the Scalp Nourishing Serum. I would wash my hair on a weekly basis and twist my new growth when necessary with the Jane Carter Twist and Lock. I would use my own oil mix for a monthly hot oil treatment; my mixture was a combination of olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil.
Since I consider myself fairly new at the loose natural hair game, I still tend to try many products. Currently my favorite shampoo is the Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream. This is a no suds shampoo that leaves my hair feeling clean and soft. This is one of the only shampoos that provides enough slip for me to detangle before I have even conditioned!
My all-time favorite conditioners are HairVeda Moist Condition 27-7 and Hairveda Acai Berry Phyto-PROTEIN Restorative Conditioner. I always use a leave-in conditioner, and my must-have leave-in is Giovanni Vitapro Fusion Protective Moisture. Before styling, I am always sure to seal in moisture with some oils – my favorites continue to be olive oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil.
Two times a month I try to deep condition my hair. I absolutely love the Karen’s Body Beautiful Luscious Locks deep conditioner and am currently looking for a second one to add to my staple collection. So far I have tried Doris New York Muds Mineral Pack, Bee Mine Bee-U-Ti-FUL Deep Conditioner, and most recently the Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque.
Now when it comes to styling products, and I LOVE styling products, I would say the Curls brand works the best for me. My favorite styling product in this line is the Curl Gel-les’c which provides tremendous hold, without feeling crunchy yet providing an extraordinary amount of shine!