When many of us decided to embark on our natural hair journeys, we often have an image of how long it will take and how we expect our hair to look every step of the way. However, in reality, it isn’t always as easy as it can appear on the blogs and popular Instagram pages. Hortencia (AKA @StyleFeen) expressed to me the expectations (and realities) she had throughout her personal natural hair journey.

Hortencia's naturally curly hair journey started after realizing her hair was severely heat damaged and wanting back her natural curls.

Day 1

When I decided to get my hair cut really short, I was at my breaking point. I'd had it with heat damage and ugly hair. I was expecting my hair to look great and stylish right after like something out of a magazine. In reality, it looked nothing like that.

Don’t get me wrong, my hairstylist did an amazing job. Still, I hated how short my hair was. I also didn't like how my curls laid down with the haircut I was given.

I knew that was part of the process of getting my curls back--cutting my hair super short would be supposed to be a fresh start! I reminded myself that I had to suffer a little to gain a lot; in the end all I could tell myself was that my hair was going to grow back.

Month 1

I was determined not to fall into the temptation of bleach and figured I'd just try out a bunch of new products that I thought would help my hair look it's best and my curls would pop back and I would have the perfect curls and volume I had always dreamed of having.

I bleached my hair twice by two great and highly recommend colourist on two separate occasions. Yes it's true, you can have color without damaging your hair too much, but not for my hair. After bleaching, my curl pattern was evidently much looser. Sometimes you want to change things up, but forget there's damage, my advice is buy a wig, braid your hair or change up your hair part. I dyed my hair back to brown and decided to stay away from bleach.

Month 6

After having color in my hair, I realized that it was causing damage to my curls so I decided I was going to get the exact curl-by-curl haircut as my curly inspiration @Curly.Edgy to get my curls back on track.

Since every curly hair pattern is different, I didn't get the exact haircut as my curly inspiration, but I got damn close! I got a variation that shaped my curls to my face, which I adore. This haircut was a real eye opener to new and less tamed styles. I got exactly what I needed and it helped me love my curls even more.

Year 1

After a year I wanted my hair to have its curl back.

In reality my hair has reached my goal. I am now so in love with my hair! It has the perfect shape and is in great health. My transitioning journey was filled with ups and downs but totally worth every minute.

How did your natural hair journey differ from how you expected it to be?

Stay tuned for more Transitioning: Expectations Vs. Reality stories this month!