Evolution of me - Carissa's Natural Hair Journey Article
by Carissa Perry
(Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA)
My natural hair journey began in November 2011. It was not planned but I knew I had to do something.
I can admit that I was addicted to the "creamy crack" aka perm or relaxer.
I would religiously get my relaxers every 6 weeks and in-between the relaxers I would get wash and sets. I was at the salon more than I was at home, it seemed.
I would work and go to school Monday-Friday which only left me with 2 days off and one of those days were spent at the salon.
I didn't even have that much hair to be at the salon for hours (yes hours)! Throughout the years, my hair had become lifeless and was thinning. I had tried every treatment and every product that claimed to "stimulate growth" it seemed.
Then one day, I had had enough!
I was tired of spending countless money and time yielding very few results. One day, I had had enough! I was at my hair appointment getting, yet another, relaxer. I told my hairstylist to cut it off.
She was in shock!!
I told her to cut it down to the new growth and I don't mean TRIM! I big chopped!! That was the beginning of my natural hair journey.
After the big chop, I had to face some emotion unbeknownst to me. I learned that I tied my identity to my hair. Due to the fact that I big chopped, my hair was about half an inch long all over. I felt ugly or that people would see me and think that I am sick or something. I had to deal with my hair identity crisis.
It took some time but it got better.
When I made the decision to big chop, I had done no prior research so I knew nothing about this journey. I didn't know what to do to my new natural hair.
I felt my hair was in major shock and required a lot of TLC. The internet provided some great information and provided suggestions for products to try.
I've learned so many things about my hair that are invaluable. My hair has always grown slower than some people which proves to be frustrating.
I learned that my hair is fine so it will not look like most of the women on the internet. Due to my big chop I really discovered that my hair was thinner at the top of my head.
It was really noticeable because my hair was so short. It not only added to my frustration but it made me insecure. I had to deal with the emotions and my hair all at once.
My hair was half an inch and fine and thin. As my hair grew out, I discovered that my hair texture was not the other women I saw online. Most of the women with natural hair had types like 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, and a few 4b.
I had a few small areas of 4a and 4b hair but the majority of my hair was 4c which was not represented that much 8 or 9 years ago. I struggled with hair envy and I hair shamed myself (if that's possible).
I noticed, also, my hair was dry most of the time. No matter what kinds of butter and heavy oils I used on my hair, nothing moisturized it.
So, once again, I took to the internet and came across articles about hair porosity. I did the water and hair strand test and my hair strand stay floating at the top for days which meant that I had low porosity hair.
]With fine, low porosity hair, heavy products only weigh the hair down and does not penetrate the hair shaft. I have to use light leave-ins, moisturizers, and oils.
Additionally, heat must be used to allow moisture to penetrate. So I have fine and thin, 4c, low porosity hair. It's a lot at first but it's not too too bad.
Many people rave about the amazing results they have using Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Haitian Black Castor Oil but due to my fine, low porosity hair, those oils are way too thick and heavy for me. Eco styler Gel is another product that many people love. I can use the olive oil Eco Styler gel but the other ones don't work that well on my hair. There are probably like 20 different kinds of Eco Styler Gels, seriously. LOL!
Another thing that was all over natural hair websites were the (L)iquid, (O)il, (C)ream (LOC) method to apply products.
This works well for me. I spritz my hair with water, apply my leave-in conditioner, apply my oil, and then apply my cream moisturizer. My leave-in is Shea Moisture Low Porosity Protein-Free Leave-In Detangler (I absolutely love it) and occasionally I use Shea Moisture Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment.
I use peppermint oil and sometimes sweet almond oil. My cream of choice is Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator cream and it works amazingly on my hair. I use shampoo and conditioner by My Black is Beautiful. I wash my hair weekly and I deep condition with heat every time.
I use hair supplements and they are: Biotin 10,000mg, Hairfinity hair pills, and Hairfinity Volume builder. I drink about a gallon of water a day. My diet....well, I'm a work in progress.
My advice to beginners: Love yourself holistically!! You are amazingly beautiful no matter how you wear your hair!! You will be a product junkie to some extent. In order for you to know if a product works for your hair, you must try a few times.
Sometimes less is more when dealing with hair products. Become one with your hair (I know it sounds crazy but it is true). Pay attention to your hair and its moisture level throughout the day. Give your hair some TLC. Your hair journey is your personal hair journey. There will be good days and bad days but it will get better.
Don't compare your journey to anyone else. Remember, to enjoy life and your hair in each stage. Drink water, spray your hair with water. Remember, you are beautiful no matter what texture, length, or type of hair. This natural hair journey can be challenging and frustrating but it is worth ALL OF IT!!!!
You learn so much about yourself while learning about your hair.