From Natural to Relaxed to Natural Again!
"I've been to the mountaintop!" These words were made famous by the ever so powerful leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Well, I wish I could say that my personal struggle was just as real and revolutionary, but unfortunately it pales in comparison. My struggle began this past summer (July 2015). I was busy running to and fro for my college class, planning a family reunion, and more--all while trying to squeeze in a vacation. In the midst of my hectically busy schedule, I decided that I needed a new hair style. I wanted a hairstyle that would take less time styling. At the time I had been in the midst of growing out my natural hair.
When I returned from my vacation and family reunion in Florida, the first thing that I did was made an appointment with a local stylist (Erica at Salon Envy) that I had been going to off and on for several years. When I booked the appointment, I knew in my heart that I really wanted a drastic change. I was certain that the change would involve short hair.
On the day of my hair appointment, I walked into the salon and quickly composed myself. I took a seat in the waiting area and flicked through a few natural and relaxed hairstyle photos on Pinterest. At this point my mind was made up. I was open to getting a relaxer. When my name was called, I sat down in the stylist's chair for my consultation. At this point my stylist hadn't seen me in while, so she was curious as to what brought me in. I told her that I was in need of something new and that she was the one that I knew could give me a style that I loved. She asked me if I was open to getting a relaxer. Before I knew it, I said "yes."
At that point my stylist prepared the chemicals needed for the process. I was in shock, actually, but knew that there was no turning back.
Once my scalp was properly based, on went the relaxer. Section by section, the product was applied. I could not believe that I was actually going through with it. One of the things that I was surprised most about was the fact that the relaxer DID NOT BURN MY SCALP! It had been about 15 years since my last relaxer, so I was pleasantly surprised. Of course the formulation of hair products has changed drastically since the early 2000's. Also, my stylist focuses on healthy hair, so she made sure that the strength of the product was best suited for my hair type.
After the relaxer had processed and my hair was properly neutralized and conditioned, It was time for the big reveal. As you can see below, my hair had actually grown quite a bit.
I went home and took selfie after selfie. I sent selfies of my new hair style to a select few friends. Okay, I sent the pictures to all of my relaxed friends knowing that they would be pleasantly surprised and supportive of my decision. As I knew, I got complement after complement on my new style.
Time passed, and I began getting into a hair styling routine. At night, I put on my hair wrap and bonnet. In the mornings, I styled and moisturized my hair. On the weekends, I washed, conditioned, and wrapped my hair. On most days, my hair looked fine.
|Hair that I styled at home|
I do not regret my decision to change my hair. I really appreciate all of the options that women of color have in terms of hair styling. I truly did not know what it felt like to get a relaxer, having not had one for so many years. If I had the motivation and skill to keep relaxed hair up, I am sure I would have kept the style for a lot longer. I realize, though, that I have to do what is best for me in terms of keeping up my personal style. Currently, my personal goals and lifestyle requires quick and easy hair. I am not able to maintain longer natural hair (longer than a twa), nor am I in the position to maintain a relaxed style. For now, a cut and color is the order of the day. And honestly, it is Natural to be Natural!
|Hair by Erica at Salon Envy|