I tried out for the Miss Nappturality 2009 but unfortunately I did not make it. I was indecisive on whether I should apply again this year. I had so many doubts of being older and the insecurities of my youth set in. I actually waited until the last minute to submit my information and photos. I justified it in my head in thinking that if I don’t make it again this time it was because I waited too late. Low and behold, I made it! Not only did I make it, I became one of the top 5 finalists.
Today starts my re-journey to natural hair. I say RE-journey because although I have been natural for a year, I didn’t care for my hair. In order to understand the re-journey, here is the back story:
I had dreads for 6 years prior to coming to Atlanta. It was fun, exciting and beautiful. I stopped getting perms in the 11th grade because I always felt that I was FAKE. Why am I trying to accomplish Farah Fawcett(no offense) when the Lord didn’t give me that hair? I thought about that question constantly when I would sit in a chair, crying in agonizing pain about achieving a unrealistic goal-SoulGlo would run through my mind, too. SoulGlo however, was on fire!
A pastor’s wife. I have never felt so beautiful like I do with my nappy hair. I just love it and love myself more.
Moe at the Harlem Book Fair 06
Twist out – BAM Gathering 2006
Ever since we met that summer at one of our gatherings planned via nappturality, I had multiple opportunities to take pictures of her. Her beautiful tresses were always in style.
Flat twists – Twist at the Brownstone Brooklyn gathering 2006
Sometimes she went to her favorite hairdresser in Harlem, but very often she did her hair herself. Needless to say she always did a wonderful job.
Tameeka’s style at the African Festival Hair show 06
Moe was a model for Tameeka at the African Festival hair show of 2006. If you were there you’d swear she was a professional on the catwalk.
Last time we emailed Moe had a little surprise. After growing her hair for four years and bringing the sexy back, she was ready for a new journey.
She started to loc. I haven’t seen her yet with her new fresh coils but I am sure she looks good.
This is the last picture I snapped of her with her loose nappies.
When I look back at her pictures, I think she had a beautiful wonderful journey.
And now I am sure Moe is more than ready to start a new one.
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Last week, I made the decision to free myself from chemicals. My transition strategy is to keep all of my hair (new growth and relaxed) and do braids and cornrows until I have at least an 2 inches of new growth. At that point I will cut off the relaxed part.
As a child up until age 9, I had my own natural hair that was very thick and coarse and I had a LOT of it. My mother would usually wash it every 2 weeks or so, comb/detangle it (ouch!), grease it and then put in to 3 or 4 plaits or twists with barrettes, or cornrow it. By the time I was 6 or 7 she began using the straightening comb more regularly so that I could wear other styles besides the plaits . For some reason, she never had me wear my natural hair loose or even in a loosed ponytail–always had to be plaited or cornrowed. I remember asking her if I could wear my hair loose sometimes and I remember her saying things like “You’re not white” or “if you do that, it will break off.”
When I was 8 or 9, my mother began to suggest that I get a “curl” in my hair because “your cousins just got their hair like that and their mom says its cute.” Luckily, I had seen enough people with jherri curls and heard negative things about it so I declined. (My cousins had longer hair than mine before they got “curls” put in it, after that most of their hair broke off and eventually they switched over to relaxers and continued to have breakage problems for a couple of years.) After that my mom asked me if I wanted to get a relaxer in my hair. I protested because I had heard other black girls at school complain about it (burning, etc.). I also protested because somehow I knew that it could damage my healthy natural hair (albeit plaited up all the time) that was admired by others at school because apparently long black hair was out of the ordinary.
I was scared of the straightening comb because sometimes I’d get burned around the edges on accident. My mother used this to “trick” me into agreeing to get a relaxer, “If you use a relaxer, then we won’t have to use the straightening comb anymore.” Boom! That was it, I agreed, but little did I know that I would be caught up in the chemical straightening cycle.
Initially, I suffered a lot of scalp burning when I first started getting it relaxed and the health of my hair did suffer in the beginning (dryness, breakage), but by the time I got in highschool and took over my own hair maintenance things began to improve. I had found the “right relaxer” for my hair texture (Optimum Care Anti-breakage formula, Super) and the right moisturizers (Motions hair lotion), and at that point my hair looked healthy and grew without any issues. I luckily never got caught up in going to the salons and always did my own hair (including touch-ups) myself. I was known for being “the one with long hair,” and people constantly asked me “is that your real hair?” I even once had someone in high school ask me to part the back of my hair so they could see that there were no tracks because they couldn’t believe it. Apparently it was unusual for a black person to have healthy, growing relaxed hair.
In Summer 2006, I decided to try to “go natural” the first time. For me it was a matter of principle- if God created me with kinky/wavy hair, why do I have to constantly try to change it to something else? I had acquired about 1 1/2 inches of new growth, and at that point it became difficult to accomodate two hair textures. I was about to start a new professional job and knew I needed to look “together.” I was not ready to do the “Big Chop.” I wasn’t going to start paying money for hair and braids and salon service, so I made the decision to relax the new growth and do straight styles that I was used to. No problems with my hair looking healthy, but deep down I knew I wasn’t being true to myself.
It is now Summer 2008, and I’m starting over with my natural quest. This time I am prepared for the inevitable “Big Chop” and this time I don’t mind investing in getting micro braids or tree braids until my natural hair gets some length to it. I’m even contemplating the use of human-hair wigs (less expensive than going to salon and buying hair) to bridge the gap as I get comfortable with my new hair.
I’ll keep my progress posted and add pictures.
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This 1st pic is day 1. I began my sisterlock journey on 24/25th jan. Installation was a 25hr marathon. I was physically sick the 1st 10hrs b/c I had eaten or drank something dodgy, but I was determined to carry on. These tiny stringy looking locs are the birth of my sisterlocks. I’m very happy; I have what I want-namely, less weight pulling on my scalp due to sisterlocks’ lightweight – better coverage due to quantity.
This is 3 weeks later.
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by Vee Jefferson. I’ve always liked the idea of going natural, but never had the guts to go for it. My aunt, who has been wearing locs for some time now, had been encouraging me to grow out my natural hair so she could loc it. I always told her I’d think about it, but never did. Not really.
“Eventually I knew precisely what hair wanted: it wanted to grow, to be itself, to attract lint, if that was its destiny, but to be left alone by anyone, including me, who did not love it as it was.” – Alice Walker
My name is Stacy and I’m a seasoned napptural — August 2008 will mark six years since I last applied a relaxer to my hair. Now when I say seasoned, I mean my coils and kinks have weathered all sorts of life storms, disastrous styles and product challenges. We’ve been through the growth milestones and survived the testing stages. Thankfully, I’m now keenly aware of what my hair likes and doesn’t like. I have embraced my shrinkage, discovered my ‘holy grail’ products and successfully reduced my PJ habit.
Time really flies when you’re experimenting in a newly enlightened hair- love affair! –But I clearly remember my first relaxer as well as my last relaxer. They were both equally memorable rites of passage. I was taken to Ms. Celestine’s Salon for my first relaxer. She was my grandmother’s beautician. My mom took my sister and I together after she grew tired of us sweating out our pressed-out sunday-school hair. I think I was probably in the second grade. We left the salon with a permanent ritual set in motion and my grandmother’s coiffure — those tight little roller-set curls all over our head.
My last relaxer was some time in August 2002 and with a profound sense of accomplishment I cut the last inches of my permed ends in June of 2004 .
Giving up the lye was one of the best decisions I have made! I am so proud of myself for taking the journey. My nappy hair is longer, thicker and much healthier than it ever was in my relaxer years.
I had tried transitioning twice during college, but was talked out of it by my career mentors. One of my professors told me that nappy hair was unacceptable and I would have to get a wig to find a job. Although I had suffered a bald spot and had grown weary of fearing for the health of my hair I continued to perm it, because after all what else was there to do??? Having had a perm since childhood I had no knowledge of “what was on the other side”….so I continued to live the lye.
My final relaxer application really stands out in my mind … I was filled with so much dread as I slapped the caustic cream onto my fresh newgrowth. I didn’t keep it in very long. I had to stop and ask myself: ‘Why was I putting myself through so much torture and risking my health? -Why do I fear my natural hair so much that I choose to risk loosing it all to make it into something it was never meant to be?’
I’m grateful for being pushed to the point where I finally said *enough!* It was at that moment that I vowed to prove I could live without being a slave to the six- week touch up! At that time my hair was pretty long healthy and thick, and chopping it all off was not an option–I had invested too much time, money and many tears to get it that way. I was working in TV news and and I just couldn’t do anything drastic. Transitioning was the only route for me. I knew it would be difficult…I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew if I took it ONE DAY AT A TIME I would be okay.
My older sister was napptural, but I found new sisters online during my journey, and we helped each other step-by step. Nappturality is like a special sorority. We pledge to the napps and the hazing is letting go of the creamy crack! –And boy was I addicted! I used to perm my eyebrows to make them straight!!! (shhh! don’t tell anyone I said that!)
The most difficult part of my transition was getting past the three-month mark –that was the point where I broke down during the two previous attempts to leave the lye alone. –It was the point of growth where I was used to getting my “hit of the lye.” Once I got past that physical point, I knew I could keep going, and I was mentally read.
My happiest moment was cutting the last of my relaxed ends — I had finally achieved a goal that seemed impossible for so long. I was even more delighted when my closest girlfriends and younger sister decided to take the journey too.
Yet, even greater than that is the joy that comes from wearing my napps out in a crown that is my glory, and proving to the world that: 1. Nappy hair IS beautiful. 2. There IS more than one style to do. 3. Nappy hair GROWS. 4. There are great products for OUR hair. 5. You CAN look professional. AND–6. What lies on the other side is NOT scary.
I tell anyone that is thinking of going natural that they can do it too. Just take it one day at a time. Looking back now it has been 2,000 something days since I decided to break from the lye — 2,000 steps toward freedom–and I’m sooo glad to be here! 🙂
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Boy did I make a mistake. I went to this girl who had been highly praised by some girls I knew. I looked her up and made an appointment. Her name was Angel. Whew!
Well, she applied the "supa" and sat down in the chair in front of me. I was like, what's really going on? Well, my scalp is very sensitive and I started to burn really fast. I asked her how long she was going to let the perm stay on my hair. And she said, "Oh, you ready? I was waiting for you to tell me when you were ready."
Huh? What? Now who gave her a license to do hair, right?
Needless to say, after she shampooed my hair, I could tell something was wrong. When I ran my fingers through my wet hair, it didn't feel smooth. It just felt different and my fingers were sticking to the hair and getting caught. Anyway, although it looked okay, I knew It wasn't going to be okay. When it soon started breaking, I just cut it off. And I loved it. I've been wearing it like that ever since. But I still wasn't completely natural. I would still perm, mousse, and scrunch it so it would be wavy.
Well, my hair journey started way back when I was very young. My first experience with chemicals was a "blow-out." LOL
Of course that was also the first the time my hair fell out too.
Next was the Jheri curl. I guess I was about age 11 or so. Between curls, perms, and texturizers, I've actually been chemically challenged for most of my life.
Well, I'd been free from the concept of beauty only coming with long hair ever since I had my last bad experience. See, I keep my hair short now because I found that it's most complimentary to me. Perming hadn't been an issue for me in such a long time, because it didn't really matter about overlapping. It didn't really matter because I knew I'd be cutting it again soon anyway. But one day I looked up and my hair had grown kinda long by accident. I decided I wanted to keep it for a while, which meant I needed to have it professionally relaxed to keep me from damaging it.