So a little over a month ago I debating whether I should cut my hair or just relax it. After growing it out from a high top I’d been rocking,. I admittedly slacked on consistent hair care and it was uneven and plain boring. I suppose the sheer fact that I was prepared to literally just get rid of it all made the prospect of chemically treating it more justifiable. Prior to that, I happily had my hair cut weekly for about a year and a half, and maintain a fade which was oh-so very liberating! I was over tight ass weave, complete with the migraines, missing baby hair’s and an empty wallet. I loved how low maintenance it was, but, all good things must come to an end. I eventually just grew it out in braids and wore wigs.
I had been natural for 10 years, more or less before team natural was popping, simply because I didn’t like how relaxed hair felt. Now that I think about it, It was probably due to the negative childhood memories of my mother relaxing my hair as a child. I loathed the whole process, the Vaseline around my hairline (have always hated the feeling of thick mineral oil on my skin), the intense feeling of your entire head being on fire and the matching chemical burns to prove it! Yeah, it was a mess. As soon as I was able to do my own hair it was a wrap.
I never was really part of the NaturalHairNazi, it was a simple case of doing what I felt was most comfortable and best for me. I never used any kind of heat either, again, because I just didn’t like how it felt. I loved and was super proud of my hair in it’s natural state, it’s strength, versatility, and volume. What I struggled with however, was that high maintenance part. Since my hair is naturally 4C, those kinks and coils were nothing to play with. The time consuming untangling if I did as much as touch it, falling asleep without a headscarf and waking up to a fizz ball mess, I’d dread wash days because it took too long, and I’d skip the 3 part moisturising system and opt of a little oil spray here and there. It’s work, work that I just wasn’t prepared to dedicate so much time to anymore. It was daunting, and it made me avoid wanting to do it altogether. On top of everything else, I work out frequently, so having to rinse my hair so often was a nightmare. When it was all said and done, I’d rarely wear my natural hair out because of the fear of rain and having product run down my face, the harsh drying cold London weather and getting more tangles. I felt like, is the point of protective styles to keep it protected for ever? After all the time, effort and money we put into maintaining it, it just didn’t make sense to me anymore. Neither my real hair nor myself was benefiting from any of it, so what exactly was I trying to achieve?
Eventually I thought, it’s not by force. I was at a friends house for the weekend and I just randomly told her, you know what, relax my hair girl. I want to be able to enjoy properly caring for my hair again, wearing it out whenever I want to, and being able to achieve some new hair styles I’ve been limited in doing. (like the one in the pic!) I plan to have it professionally retouched every 3 months, to minimise chemical exposure.
There’s a pressure of being ‘natural’ these days, but if anyone knows me, they know I don’t conform easily. I do what I think is right for me, as long as need be. Relaxed hair doesn’t mean I love my hair any less (or more!). It just means at this point in time in life, it’s more manageable. The natural movement is a lifestyle, and beyond hair. It’s the food you eat, the products you use, the way you take care of your body as a whole and how you choose to represent yourself. Few people have everything in line, and to me, the pressure on having natural hair is a little too over the top for what it is.
Don’t let anyone bully you into doing something your not ready or comfortable with. Natural or not, it doesn’t matter if you don’t enjoy it. I guess the question I’d ask someone considering a hair change is, what do you have to prove and what do you have to lose?
Are you natural or relaxed? What made you choose?