I’m inspired to write this post by the one and only, Oprah Winfrey. More specifically, the September issue of O Magazine. I was so inspired, I decided to O Mag myself to use the photo in a recent workshop I presented. Take a good look at the picture. That’s me, not Oprah.
The September issue of the magazine talks about women’s hair. From gray hair, tools we use, a salon guide to the perfect haircut, coloring and even losing it, the issue explores one of our greatest assets — our hair. There’s also a section on women of color and going natural. So I thought it would be great to share my story.
One of the most fascinating stats I’ve read is how the sales of relaxers declined 40% from 2007 to 2012. It’s estimated for fall to 50% by 2017.* Pretty shocking especially when so many black women, myself included, relied heavily on having our hair relaxed to get a straight hair look.
I didn’t decide to go “natural” because I hated my hair. Actually, it was quite the opposite. I loved my hair and still do. Mostly I was tired of of the process and cost not to mention the chemicals from the relaxers. I saved a lot because I did my own hair but it just became too much.
I started transitioning (moving from relaxed to natural) in early 2001. I didn’t know at the time how beneficial it would become until I moved to Vancouver later that year. If you know Vancouver, you know it’s a pretty rainy city. I couldn’t have survived in Vancouver with relaxed hair probably because most of the time I didn’t care to carry an umbrella or a rain hat.
The hardest part of moving from relaxed to natural hair was the simple fact I didn’t’ know what I was doing and what would work on it. The last time my hair was natural I never fixed it, my mom did. This new hair was new to me and I was clueless. Luckily, through much trial and error I final figured it out but not without some hurt to my wallet in testing different hair care products that I felt were right for me.
Today, all I do to my hair is color it to hide the gray and use very limited products including coconut oil which is WONDERFUL. I highly recommend it for your hair to condition and moisturize and your face to cleanse and moisturize. Really, coconut oil is amazing and has a host of uses. Also, wearing my hair natural makes it easier for me to weather the Vancouver rain. No longer am I running for cover at the first sign of rain as I was with relaxed hair. Now I take my time walking in the rain, completely stress free.
How do you feel about your hair? Share your hair stories in the comment section below.
*O Magazine, September 2013