I began my journey with natural hair in 2005. I went to put a relaxer in my hair. I usually straightened my new growth every two or three months. Fairly routine, I used soft and beautiful, pretty religiously. I had studied cosmetology, three years in high school, in a real salon. So I knew what I was doing. But this particular time, my scalp started burning, fiercely, before I could complete the application. When I absolutely couldn’t take the pain anymore, I’m talking serious pain. I swear I tasted blood!!
Anyway, I went straight to the kitchen, grabbed the vinegar (It’s a neutralizer y’all! Stops the chemical reaction) and poured the whole bottle of my head to stop the pain and cool it down. As I was washing the relaxer out of my hair, I praying to God, that if he spared my little bit of hair that I’d never relax it again.
When I had washed all the chemicals out, opened my eyes and saw that there was only a few strands of hair in the sink, I breathed a sigh of relief. And when I went to towel it dry and inspect it in the mirror, I saw that the Lord had answered my prayer but my scalp was seriously burned. It took weeks for the burns to heal and the scabs were pretty bad.
So about a week or so after that incident, I did the big chop…..
…..and went straight to the African hair braiders and got microbraids!! LOL! I couldn’t deal with me without hair, mind you, its not like I had time to prepare myself, this decision to go natural happened suddenly. I had thought about in years past, even going as long as 8 months between relaxers, but hadn’t seriously considered it. I’ve always had this love hate relationship with my hair; basically I loved fake hair and hated my own hair. So running to get braids after the big chop, bought me a few months to wrap my head around the idea. After wearing braids for about three months, I finally took them out and truly began to learn to appreciate my twa (teeny weeny Afro). It wasn’t easy though, I didn’t know what to expect since my hair had been relaxed most of my life or at least as long as I could remember. When the braids came out, I had to trim of the relaxed ends and even out my fro. My hair texture is a true type 4 curl pattern, a very tightly coiled. And because it was so short, I looked like a boy that needed a haircut LOL!! So over the course of about two years I experimented with two strand twists and various braided styles with and without fake hair.
Finally in 2007, I had a friend (my sorority sister!! Shout out to Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc) who had taken the official Sisterlocks course and needed to do three heads to qualify as certified. So after some convincing and serious thought, I agreed to let her install locs. It took two days, twelve hours at a time for her to installed what seemed like a thousand tiny little locs LOL! So, she got me started and maintained me until she moved away 😦 I’m super funny about having people in my head, so I never even bothered to find another Sisterlock-tician to maintain my locs, so I hit Google and found some videos on interlocking locs and latch hook locs. I taught myself how to tightened my own new growth using a bobby pin. Of course, I had my learning experiences while perfecting my technique. I had some particularly thin locks that broke off and were lost, I had some locks that unintentionally got combined and are now permanently conjoined :-). All and all I’ve had no regrets. I’ve had some bad days where I didn’t like that my locks weren’t long enough to style or at least I had no ideas of how to style it. Or lazy days where my new growth was horribly thick and I didn’t feel like tightening it but I had to. I was told by another woman that had beautiful long locs that after I had past the two year mark, that my locs would start really growing and she was absolutely right!! I’m fully into my third year, they’ll be four in October and I’m in love with my locs. I recently colored them and have found some phenomenal loc-rockers on YouTube that have demonstrated some amazing hair styles that I can easily duplicate on my own head.
Along with my own locs, I have started two other women down the path of lovely locs. One over a year ago and one just a week ago and I feel wonderful that I am able to share this experience with others. Having natural hair, even Loc’d hair is so freeing and liberating. I missed having a relaxer in the beginning but I know for sure that I will never be going down that road again!!