Self Love: Vanessa's Hairstory

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Hi, my name is Vanessa and I’ve been natural for 6 years. On January 2, 2011, I big chopped after transitioning for about 8 months. It was my second big chop. I had previously gone natural two to three years before, but then one morning, for no particular reason I decided to relax my hair all over again. My decision to go natural at that time was based solely on the fact that I liked natural hair. Not my own texture because I didn’t remember much of it, since I’d been relaxing my hair for so long, but generally speaking, I liked the look of well-maintained natural hair. I did some research, joined a few online groups and I was off. It was probably a year after my big chop that I regressed. It’s hard to say because back then, I really wasn’t keeping track.

The second time around, I had an even stronger reason, in my opinion, besides just loving the look of natural hair, to go natural. I was a new mom, with a one- year- old daughter. Like all new moms, I thought my baby was the most perfect and beautiful little human ever created and wanted nothing more than for her to grow up seeing the beauty in herself, that I saw when I looked at her. I knew that would only happen if I was an example of self-love to her, so she would grow up learning how to love herself. I remember thinking to myself, ‘how could I relax my hair every couple of months but then tell her that she was beautiful just as she was?’ Six years later, I’m still going and more dedicated to my natural hair than ever. Good thing too. Because we live in a country where most of the other inhabitants look different from us and so my daughter’s classmates have different hair textures and different skin colors from our own. She’s never once told me she wished her skin color was different, but she has said she wanted silkier hair. My daughter looks different from almost everyone she interacts with on a daily basis and she knows this. We have conversations about our hair and if I wasn’t leading by example, I know my arguments would have less sway with her. Kids these days are so much more intuitive than when I was growing up so your arguments have to really and truly make sense. To be honest, there’s nothing like having my daughter say, ‘Mommy your hair looks pretty today’ especially when cartoon characters are her life.

When I first went natural it was such an adventure. I hennaed my hair frequently and did a lot of d-i-y mixes. As my hair grew and my daughter’s hair grew, life got busier and I had less and less time to pay attention to my hair. I went longer between washes and became a very lazy natural. For 2017, however, I have pledged to cleanse my hair on a weekly basis and rededicate myself to using henna, since I loved its effect on my hair in the past.

Weekly cleansing will mean more co-washing or water cleansing, something I have not consistently done in the past, but shampooing on a weekly basis would be overly drying for my hair. I don’t sweat in my hair and I’m not exposed to a lot of environmental contaminants so heavy washing on a weekly basis, is simply not required. I’m doing more frequent cleansing for the moisture boost more than anything else. Drenching my hair in water and allowing it to soak up as much as it needs.

Here’s my proposed 2017 hair regimen

* Weekly cleansing

* Weekly deep conditioning

* Monthly henna treatments

* Using no- poo cleansing as primary methods of cleansing (d-i-y bentonite clay wash and co-washing)

* Shampoo as needed (I’m thinking every 4-6 weeks)

* Scalp massages at least three times weekly with Shedavi’s scalp elixir.

I’ll adjust the products I use, frequency and whatever else I need to, based on how my hair responds to the things I’ll be doing. Also, with another little girl expected in my family this spring, it will be interesting to see how I juggle two kids and all my other familial and work responsibilities. Believe me when I say that I’ve given serious thought to shaving my head or at least cutting it super low, but at this point, I have to at least try my best to juggle everything before doing anything drastic. But, I’m not ruling anything out and I’ll have to convince at least one other person to get on board with me cutting my hair off. Yes, it’s my hair, but the opinions of those closest to me, matter to me very much. I hope you’ll stick around, I’m pretty sure I’ll need some cheerleaders on this journey.

Until next time,

Vanessa

2 comments

  • Ziva Page: February 01, 2017

    Your story is inspiring. Aside from having relaxers for part of my high school years and some of my college years, I stopped putting relaxers in my hair in 1983. I was natural before it became a journey. I started using henna and indigo about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. My daughters, both adults, have stopped using relaxers—after seeing me really embrace my curls for the first time—and they’re both about 4 years natural and love every bit of it. Keep doing what you’re doing. Many blessings to you and the new addition to your family.

  • Thuraiya Hadji: February 01, 2017

    My journey its starting now as my hair is damaged i hope it will help and ive received my 2 battle and hope for the best results

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