While I’ve been natural for over 14 years, I never considered myself a part of the natural hair movement. My reason for going natural back in the day was simple: I wanted to see my natural curl pattern. I wanted the flexibility of natural hair. So I transitioned. I didn’t experience any breakage, which is actually funny because I transitioned with heat. I’d get my roots flat ironed straight every 2 weeks with monthly trims, and that was it. It took almost two years, but it worked!

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Back then there were VERY few natural hair products on the market. In fact, I recall locating one store in Brooklyn called, Soda Fine, which carried Miss Jessie’s products. I was also able to order Kinky Curly Custard online, but without tutorials or reviews to find online (this was in  2003) I soon gave up. I would simply wear my hair in a bun, or straighten it. Eventually I discovered weaves, and even tried my hand at a Brazilian Keratin treatment, only to be disappointed with that, too.  The entire process was exhausting

Fast fast forward to 2014, I decided to try again. Armed with youtube and basket full of Shea Moisture products and Ecostyler gel, I told myself I could do this. I could get my hair to behave. I could get the perfect and elongated twist-outs like these other girls on youtube. I could do it. I would do it. And I tried, too. For 8 good months, I tried braid-outs and twist-outs, on wet hair, dry hair, moderately wet hair, moderately dry hair, but I was rarely happy with the results.  In the midst of it all I  even started experiencing major breakage. I had gone from almost waist length hair in 2013, to short, dry, and terribly damaged color-bone length strands.

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So in February of this year, i decided to cut to my hair  a short tapered fro. I had never had short hair prior to this cut, but I knew it had to be done. I had to start over. And doing so was the single-best decision I have ever made about my personal appearance. My confidence is through the roof, and the love i have for my hair is a bonus I never expected. I had planned to simply cut it so I could grow it back long and healthy again, but i’m actually loving short and healthy hair. I also realized that part of the problem with transitioning, for me, was that I was obsessed with length. Since i kept my length throughout the transitioning process, when I was finally all natural, I wanted my natural hair to show my length. I went through countless products and treatments to try to loosen my curl enough to show the world, “Look, I have long hair!” And my hair hated it.  Transitioning didn’t allow me to love my hair from the roots. I rarely saw my hair through the process of growing it out, so how could I earn to love it?  Learn what works best for it? Appreciate its splendor?

Now that I’m rocking my short cut, I’m feeling my #blackgirlmagic. To say that I love my hair now is an understatement. My advice to anyone considering going the natural route is to just chop it off. You won’t know how beautiful you are until you do.

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Ladies, did it take you some time to accept and embrace your natural hair? Share your experiences!

I'm a Lipstick-obsessed Journalist and Fashion Blogger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube channel swatching lippies and strutting around in 5-inch heels. I'm a also a brand coach, specializing in video marketing and digital brand development. Find me @lisaalamode.

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11 Comments on "I Hid My Natural Hair For 13 Years; How I Finally Came to Embrace It"

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rainbow

I agree.

Christa

I agree… I always have relatively long relaxed hair growing up. the idea of cutting it all off didn’t scare me… but i was sure i would have to fight thru an ugly stage… I B/C’d after about 6 months of transitioning… and honestly i loved my shirt hair soooo much… It was a great decision. While my natural hair is not like BSL, I loved my twa and often think about cutting my hair once again.

Victoria Owl
I agree! If you can’t get it right mentality as far as accepting and embracing your hair as is, there will problems ahead. Also, keep in mind that there are many women who would love to embrace the BC but avoid it due to being stared at or made fun of because of their huge foreheads, extended hair lines or just big heads. So they hide their so called imperfections behind the hair. I know so many young ladies who want to do the BC and are always admiring short hairstyles but are terrified and it’s not because of their… Read more »
LBell
I understand where you’re coming from. Personally I haven’t seen anybody whose head is too big for short hair…because there’s no rule that says that a TWA has to be all one length. That, again, is the beauty of Afro-textured hair: It can be sculpted to fit a particular head shape. (As I said below, I admit I am very prejudiced, lol.) Another reason I’ve heard given for not liking short hair is that their skin isn’t good enough. As someone who’s been blessed with good skin, I can see why exposing what they feel is a bad complexion would… Read more »
Victoria Owl
Wow I’ve never head of “skin not good enough” for a twa issue, that’s interesting. I guess I can understand that because with shorter hair you can, your face is a lot more pronounced. All your features will be highlighted and with bigger hair no matter the texture you can sort of hide that. I know someone who has super long thick 4b/4c hair and she has always been natural, never wanted a relaxer and never wore it straight. But she is fed up of long hair. She had hip length hair but cut it mid-back length. She wants to… Read more »
Guest

I love my natural hair and always kept it short by choice as Im a hardworking woman and need to wash my hair as needed without long sessions, refuse to let my hair over take my life. I also love the look of short hair.

Rayven

transitioning can be done successfully, I did it for almost 2 yrs now I have been natural over 2 yrs. The issue with this lady’s transition is the use of HEAT! Three months post relaxed I stop using all forms of heat. Heat damages your hair and transitioning hair is weak because of the two textures. I didn’t want short hair so I chose to let my hair just grow the relaxer out.

Lisa Wynter

Hi There! Just want to chime in as I’m the lady you are referring to! I did not have an issue with transitioning. I transitioned with heat, successfully, over 15 years ago. my breakage occurred 15 years after the fact due to post partum shedding. What I discuss in the piece is a change in my appreciation for natural hair. I did not appreciate my curls, as a transitioner, the way I do as a big chopper. Thanks for reading!

LBell
I understand that transitioning can be done successfully but the point I was trying to make is that too many of us are stuck on this one-dimensional idea of what hair is “supposed” to look/feel/act like. I’ve seen women get tripped up on that…both BC’ers and transitioners but more often I see it with transitioners who are really hung up on keeping/having length. But what is “length” when we’re talking about Afro-textured hair? That said: I also understand that not everybody who’s going (back to) natural is interested in appreciating or maintaining the texture they have. There are plenty of… Read more »
tina

I love my natural hair but can’t figure out how to stop the breakage.

LBell
While I respect all women’s journeys (back) to natural hair, I have always been Team BC for the exact reasons this writer describes. Most of us have been taught a very one-dimensional view of what constitutes beautiful/healthy hair and that view is often at odds with what our natural hair actually looks/feels/acts like. Back in the early days of the online natural hair discussion we used to talk about the two different types of transitioning that often takes place and we generally agreed that the mental transition is harder than the physical transition. The harder you hold on to that… Read more »
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