I’ve always coveted long hair and although I had thick shoulder length hair my entire life somewhere in the back of my mind, I often believed my hair could grow longer…I just wasn’t sure how. In undergrad my hair definitely got fuller and healthier as a result of bi-weekly rollersets at the Dominican salons (no blow outs, rollersets only). Never one to flat iron my hair regularly anyway, this encouraged me to continue with my heat-free regimen after graduation and between that, regular deep conditioning and daily moisturizing with Ultra Black Hair Dew, my hair grew to full arm pit length which is the longest my hair had ever been. The thing is, I relied on my amazing stylist for most services – relaxers, rollersets, and trims – so once I moved for graduate school my hair began to suffer. First there were the microbraids done in an African braiding shop where they refused to braid all the way to the ends of my hair, which resulted in broken hair.
Then there was finding a new stylist who believed in healthy hair like I did. Also, I had stopped purchasing the UBH spray and went back to other products, Carol’s Daughter, Profectiv, and Doo Grow for daily moisturizing all of which contained high amounts of mineral oil and didn’t really moisturize my hair. Add to that the stress of professional school and the result was broken hair that could only be remedied by a major haircut.
Finally after a few failed attempts to re-grow my lengthy locks, I did an online search and came across Black Hair Media and my healthy hair journey was born! I did have one final catastrophe a month into my HHJ (May 2009) in which a stylist burned my scalp very badly by incomplete neutralizing and improper product use plus she cut my full shoulder length hair into a ridiculously ratchet mullet looking shape leaving me at chin and neck length.
A photo of one of my scalp burn(s)
I was upset but not discouraged and I continued on my journey by wearing wigs for about 7 months straight to allow my hair and scalp time to recuperate. I heavily considered transitioning at that time but decided firmly against it during one tragic wash day where I decided to straighten my hair and wear it out. I was pulling and tugging at what seemed like a zillion knots, the blow dryer caused my hair to smoke and I failed to achieve a sleek look after flat ironing. Following all that work, I was left with a throbbing scalp and frizzy hair; then I looked down to see literally piles of my hair on the bathroom floor from the detangling and straightening session. I realized (just as I had the last time I was natural) that I do much less damage to my hair when it is relaxed – I don’t use direct heat as often, I don’t “fight” with my tangles, and overall my hair is healthier because the relaxer chemicals don’t seem to affect my hair as negatively as occasional heat use. I’ve been happily relaxed ever since although that doesn’t stop me from having natural hair envy all the time!
Currently my relaxed hair falls just below my shoulder blade. I’m hoping to reach full bra strap length by the end of the year and my final goal is full mid-back length.
So, that’s my hair story…and I’m sticking to it!
Soon you will all have a chance to submit your Hair Story to BHM and be featured!