my natural hair journey

it all started my freshman year of college, in september 2011…

I've always been pretty picky about who touches my hair. Like most girls, I had one hair stylist for most of my life (after my mom, of course). So, when I got college, I refused to let anyone do my hair. Before I knew it, my relaxer had grown out and I was in tears every night trying to do my hair because my roots were so thick. Soon enough, my roommate was braiding my hair up every few days for me to wear braid-outs, and when I went home, I would get my hair straightened and trimmed by the Dominicans.

By my sophomore year, I was "natural". But, I was still wearing my hair straightened, and still going to the Dominicans. To make it worse, I was coloring my hair every few months with box color. But since my hair was growing and *appeared* healthy when it was straight, you couldn't tell me anything. This continued through my junior year. To add salt to the wound, summer 2014 I even got highlights...with bleach. Then my senior year, I got my first weave. A blessing and a curse. A blessing because, what a great protective style! A curse because, my leave out was going to blend with the weave, by any means necessary...even if that meant putting heat on it everyday.

By summer 2015 my "natural" hair was heat damaged, stringy, and not healthy under any circumstances. While standing in Target in the natural hair aisle on Friday, June 12, 2015 with my mom, I had a meltdown because it hit me there was no saving my hair. I mean full fledged the middle of Target. Saturday, June 13, 2015, my mom and I went to the Hair Cuttery, and I got all my hair cut off. My hair was my safety net (hence why I cried in Target). I always got compliments on how great it looked, and it was ALWAYS laid, no matter how the rest of me looked. So cutting it all off, after thinking about it for one night, was the craziest thing I've ever done. And while I would never do it again (I cried and felt soooo ugly without hair), looking back, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Once I cut it all off, about two weeks later I started getting braids. Then, I started doing weaves again, but I was gentle to my leave out this time around. By June 2016 my hair was at a great length, so I got my first Deva Cut. My hair grew out from the cut great! (see 3rd pic below where it looks like I'm in a mall). Then, I started doing weaves with closures and I LOVED it. My hair was all protected and it was growing great. I also started getting Marley twists occasionally to switch it up. But, I started falling in love with my natural hair, so I could never keep those styles in long (literally I could keep it for 2 weeks).

I got my next Deva Cut April 2017. By then, I thought my hair was at it's healthiest. But what I learned, is if you continuously take care of your hair, it can get healthier! And curlier! By summer 2017, I was in love with my hair (and still am). I got marley twists for the last time around Aug 2017, and since then, I've ditched the protective styles & been working to keep my hair as healthy as possible. I got my third Deva Cut December 2017, and my hair was healthy enough for highlights, without bleach! I'm still working on keeping my hair moisturized, and helping it grow. My #1 tip is take time to love on your hair! I do weekly deep conditioners, trim regularly, do low maintenance styles, and ALWAYS sleep on satin pillowcase and/or with a satin scarf. We all know if you take care of things, they grow and become healthy and strong, so do the same with your hair!