My natural hair journey started in the summer of 2011, right before my senior year of high school. I told myself that if I could go three to four months in between relaxers then I probably didn't need one at all. It was my second attempt at returning to natural, with the previous attempt only lasting six months.
During the beginning of my journey, I probably did everything completely wrong. I didn't know anything about caring for natural hair and after a year of failing to implement protective styles and continuing to fry my curls, I was left with a hot mess.
I cut the length off a year later right before my freshman year of college. Still unsatisfied with my hair, I cut it again in January 2014. This time around, I told myself that I would go an entire year without using heat on my hair. That year turned into a year and six months.
On July 15, 2015, I straightened my hair for the first time in a year and a half. The occasion? There was finally a week of sunshine in Louisiana. (I dare not straighten my hair in rainy or humid weather)
The end result: hair that was longer than it had ever been with a relaxer. My ends were a little rough, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little trim.
To maintain healthy natural hair, you need to give your hair love and care. Moisturize, use protective styles and refrain from using heat. And when I say no heat, I mean no heat. Excessive heat does the same thing that a relaxer does. It will alter your curl pattern over time. Heat damage is real and it sucks.
Give the no heat challenge a try. Start with a goal of maybe one month. Increase your goal over time. It only takes 21 days to break a habit. So, if you can go one month without using heat, you can probably go longer. If you're properly caring for your hair, you will definitely see results. Trust me!
P.S. Before I straightened my hair, I washed it and deep conditioned it with a store bought deep conditioner as well as a homemade one. I will talk about those in a new post.
So you want to return natural but don't quite know where to start? Here is my natural hair story along with eight tips on saying bye bye to the creamy crack!
1. No heat!!!
2. Use your resources
3. Natural hair products are not always cheap
4. Figure out your hair type
5. Trial and error
6. Follow natural hair pages on social media (My favorite Instagram pages are @urbanhairpost @naturalhairdaily @naturalhairdoescare @healthy_hair_journey @hair2mesmerize @trialsntresses)
7. Throw out the negative mentality
8. Love yourself (:
To prep my hair for box braids, I decided to deep condition using my own homemade deep conditioner. I used an egg, honey, an avocado, a banana, mayo, olive oil and coconut oil. I blended all the ingredients and added the mixture to freshly washed hair. I wrapped a plastic bag around my hair (didn’t have a shower cap) and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing it out. After I washed it out, I used a Shea Moisture conditioner right after it. After I washed out the conditioner, I sectioned my hair off, added a dime sized squirt of the same Shea Moisture conditioner as well as a Shea Moisture leave-in conditioner to each section, then braided it. I let my braids air dry.
Eggs: Eggs are a good source of protein. They make the hair stronger and help prevent breakage.
Olive oil: Olive oil is rich in vitamins A and E. It can help to seal in moisture and help with frizz.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil is rich in vitamins E and K and iron. It helps to seal in moisture. It also contains antibacterial and anti fungal properties.
Avocado: Avocados are rich in vitamins E, A, K, C and B6; potassium; protein; fiber; and copper. It acts as a moisturizer for dry hair.
Banana: Bananas contain potassium, iron and vitamins B6 and B12. Bananas help hydrate hair, control frizz and help soothe itchy scalps.
Honey: Honey is a natural humectant and helps seal in moisture. It also has antibacterial properties. It is also a natural antioxidant and emollient.
Mayo: Mayo is also a good source of protein because it contains egg. It helps add shine to hair.
This is what looked like after I blend everything.
I don’t recommend using this shampoo because instead of hydrating my hair, it dried it out, but it was all I had.
All in all, the conditioner worked great. After I washed it out of my hair, my curls were shiny, bouncy and defined.
About the Author
Taylor Simien is a 21-year-old senior at