This past summer, I made the decision to begin my natural hair journey. Since I was young, my mother and sister always encouraged me to embrace and love my curly hair but I hated my curly hair. I hated how long it would take to detangle it. I hated when it would get big and frizzy. I hated that I couldn’t wear certain hair styles like girls with straight hair could. All I really wanted was to have straight hair but straightening my hair was not an option living under my mom’s roof. Before I get into these past three months of my journey, let me share with you what I put my hair through and how I learned to love it again.
The first time I straightened my hair was when I was 10 years old for my First Communion. (I was a Catholic School Girl for eight years.) The next time was when I was 15. By then, I had a part time job so I could afford to have my hair blow dried every Saturday morning at the Dominican salons in my neighborhood. My family couldn’t tell me no anymore.
From about 18 to 24 years old, I would straighten my hair every weekend. I went to college upstate where Dominican salons were nonexistent so I needed to learn how to straighten my own hair. I have a lot of hair so in the early stages, it would take me at least up to two hours to straighten my hair – including blow drying and flat ironing.
In Summer 2012, I got a Brazilian Keratin Hair Treatment, which helped eliminate frizz and cut down the time it took me to straighten my hair. As long as I applied heat to my hair, the Keratin worked its magic. My hair was so sleek, shiny and manageable. It was amazing not having to worry about frizzy hair on rainy and summer days.
By the beginning of 2014, I decided to stop applying heat so the Keratin could grow out of my hair so I could.. (drum roll please) DYE my hair! Yup, ombre hair was on trend and I wanted in! I had never dyed my hair so I decided to experiment with box dye on my hair. With help from two of my friends, we managed to lighten my hair but I also had some blonde streaks going on as well. I eventually made my way to a salon and finally achieved the blonde ombre I wanted and then continued to dye my hair blonde twice a year for three years. Not only was I blonde, but I continued to straighten my hair and do waves occasionally – talk about double heat damage! By summer 2015, I chopped off about three inches of my hair because it was so damaged from dying it. The beginning of this year, I started going darker until I finally went back to my natural hair color last month.
Over the past year, I have straightened my hair less and less. I was tired of damaging my hair and wanted to give my curls a chance to restore themselves. I stopped blow drying my hair after my birthday in May and started wearing it curly everyday. While it didn’t look terrible, it didn’t look great either. I would walk past other girls whose curls were so healthy and perfect. I wanted nothing more but to be proud of my natural hair but it was going to take some work.
This summer I finally made the decision to start my natural hair journey. On August 2, 2017, I had my first transformation cut at the Devachan salon. The salon has trained curly hair experts who understand curly hair behavior and help bring hair back to life with a dry cutting technique. You enter the salon with washed hair that is completely dry and without any product in it. The stylist analyzes your hair and starts cutting! It’s truly amazing how that hair cut really transforms your hair and brings your curls back to life. I had healthier and bouncier hair as I walked out of the salon. (See my before and after below)
Along with the hair cut, my stylist, Jessica, taught me how to use the Devacurl products as she washed and styled my hair. She also recommended what to use on my hair as I began my journey. It sounds weird but I basically had to learn my curls again. I knew how maintain my hair when it was straight and now I had to re-learn how to maintain and take care of my curls.
I would be lying if I said this journey was easy. I did not have many good hair days in the beginning and the summer humidity definitely didn’t help. Some days I put too much product in my hair and some day I didn’t put in enough. Some days I had voluminous curls and other days, my hair sat on my head like a mop. I was so frustrated with my hair but had to keep reminding myself to be patient with the process.
My hair loved Devacurl products but I also wanted to see what else was out there so I started receiving curlBOX – a monthly subscription box that comes with five different hair care products from one brand for $25 a month. It’s an affordable way to discover new brands while finding out what works or doesn’t work on your hair.
It’s been three months since I began my journey and I feel more confident with my hair than I have in my entire life. I finally LOVE my natural hair and it took me a long time to embrace it. I finally have curly hair that I am proud of. This all could have been avoided if I would have listened to my family years ago but what can I say? I am a stubborn Taurus. I am still combating frizz but my good hair days are out numbering the bad! I wouldn’t say I’ve found my holy grail products just yet but I do have a round up of products that my hair does like, which I will count as a win. I can’t wait to see what my curls will look like in three more months and even in a year!
If you’re looking to begin your natural hair journey, my advice is to stop applying heat and hair dye to your hair. Get a Devacut or have your ends trimmed often. Stop using any products that contain parabens or sulfates. Deep condition weekly and use products that keep your hair hydrated. Protect your hair with braids or buns.
Here are some beginning products that I recommend:
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