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 cut… 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 wom­en… 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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