Ms Lala’s Natural Hair Journey
It is always hard to express my thoughts when people ask about my natural hair journey. I did not “go natural”, my natural hair is a part of who I am. I am a wife, mother, educator, singer, sister, and friend and I have kinky coily hair that I choose to wear natural. The history of natural hair in the black community is too large to contain within these pages but I am one strand of that story.
How long have you been natural? In adult hood I have worn my natural hair for about 12 years now but I have spent more of my life natural than I have relaxed. As a kid my mom gave me a texturizer (okay it was a jheri curl), when I was in elementary or middle school. Once I got old enough, around 14, to do my own hair I grew it out and started pressing my hair to wear it straight. Later I relaxed my hair because I thought it would be easier to care for but realized it was a mistake and decided later on to BC.
Why did you stop relaxing? For me being natural is more than hair. It is a statement; it’s part of who I am. I realized that the relaxer was just not me, it didn’t fit my personality, style, or views so I chopped. I can’t say that I will never straighten or texturize my hair again but I definitely don’t plan on it. I also was tired of relaxing.
Did you have relaxer damage? I’ve always been into hair care so my relaxed hair was pretty healthy. It wasn’t nearly as long or healthy as it is now though. The relaxer always burned my scalp and that’s another reason I gave them up. I did have one bad experience with a particular relaxer in 1999 that left my hair thin. Even when I relaxed I tried not to use too much heat and I kept my hair moisturized.
Did you transition? I transitioned wearing braids until my hair was about an inch long and then I chopped it off. I wore my hair in coils and twists most of the time when it was shorter.
How long did it take you to grow you hair out? I was able to grow my hair to my shoulders pretty easily but growing it past that length became a challenge. I was stuck at the same length for a while. It took me about 5 years to grow my hair to around waist length.
In 2005 my hair was seriously damaged from color and I had to cut it out little by little so this is how I was able to track how long it took me to grow my hair.
How did you grow your hair long? To summarize it I wore my hair in protective styles about 80% of the time, kept it moisturized, and left the heat alone. I also treated and continue to treat my hair gently and take good are of my ends because this is the oldest part of my hair. A healthy diet is also an important part of growing long hair. I notice a big difference in my hair growth when I eat right and take vitamins.
How long is your hair now? I have been maintaining my natural hair between midback length and waist length. More about Ms Lala’s Hair Journey….
Transitioning with human hair braids