Learning to Love My Natural Hair

My hair has been natural for a better part of two decades. When I chose to stop relaxing or perming my hair, “natural” wasn’t a mainstream word. More specifically, I didn’t know what natural was or how it applied to me. All I knew is that I didn’t know how to do my hair.

At the time, black women with beautiful hair fell into three categories: the silky smooth long tresses, the shorter kinkier afro or braids. None of these worked for me.

Relaxers, like perms, thinned my hair, strands covering my brushes or clogging my drains. A press-and-curl was not realistic because I was very active. I would sweat out the effort by the next day.

My hair is fairly thin, so my locks were too loose to give a proper afro. Instead, my hair would wave at the roots to a big puff ball at the end.

Braids were the best choice, yet the process was long and painful. Normally, you’d pay to get your head braided, while you sat uncomfortably for up to 15 hours to complete the mock silky tresses of the white woman. Even after this uncomfortable process,  the worst part was taking them out. The promises of help disintegrated the second you mentioned that you wanted them gone. The 15 hours to do was nothing compared to the 20+ hours to remove.

After trying them all, I found that braids were the best bet. But I didn’t have the time to waste putting them in or taking them out. I opted for nothing. My messy ponytail wasn’t a fashion statement, it was just a public showcase of my laziness when it came to my looks.

Then I was introduced to the beloved weave. From the richest of the rich in Hollywood to the poorest of the poor in the ghettos had weaves. Yet this was another very expensive option on a budget that couldn’t support anything excess.

Over the years, the term “natural” became more prevalent. Yet, most examples still were not styles that worked well with my hair or what I wanted my look to be (whatever that actually was). There were dreads, twists, and even the uncombed look.

Recently, however, the term natural was associated with hair that looked:

Natural Hair Collage

Now, these are hairstyles that would work for me. But the laziness over the last couple of decades had sunk in. I had gotten completely used to not spending any time on my hair, but now I knew I would have to do something.

So, I searched for the perfect conditioner. Well, the perfect conditioner that was cheap. I couldn’t possibly spend a lot of money on my hair.

I found one and started creating styles like this:

My Natural Hair 1

Products have flooded the market for the “natural” or “curly” -haired woman. Initially, I chalked it up to marketing ploys, until I started asking around and a few products came up over and over. So, I purchased a couple. They worked and they worked well.

Although, it’s not as easy to get up and go like I used to with my classic, no frill ponytail, it was a quick wash and go or I could twist it up in about 10 minutes the night before.

I still have a long way in making sure that my hair is healthy, I’m well on my way to having great looking hair (hopefully).

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post with the sentence ”Once I knew the truth, I couldn’t talk myself out of…”  Your hosts are Kristi from FindingNinee.com) and this week’s sentence thinker-upper, Leah from Little Miss Wordy

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.

20 comments on “Learning to Love My Natural Hair”

  1. Yay for making strides towards not having to spend so much time (15 hours??? I had no idea) on hair and still having it look great. I think that hair and skin products have come a LONG way in the last 20 years or so but I still miss my good old aquanet. Thanks for linking up with Finish the Sentence!

    1. April Noelle says:

      Yes, those tiny, long braids are easily 15 hours, if you have someone good and fast. Longer if you don’t.

  2. Lizzi says:

    My Belzian friend, Shanique, was big into natural hair. She called herself a ‘naturalista’, and put her hair in so many beautiful smiles, always offset by her smile. Until I met her, I never knew there was such pressure on black women to have their hair a certain way, nor such looking-down-the-nose at those women who chose to let their hair do its own thing.

    She was beautiful. I was proud to know her.

    I’m glad you’re championing natural hair. Makes me feel good to know that it matters and is becoming a ‘thing’.

  3. Leah Vidal says:

    I have naturally curly hair. My kids have naturally curly hair. My mom never knew what to do with my hair and there wasn’t the variety of products back then that there are now. Needless to say, in all my childhood photos you hair is brushed back in a ponytail with a halo of frizz. Lol My kids are luckier but I still think we have a long way to go in understanding curly hair! Great post! Thx for linking up!

  4. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    I have naturally curly hair and I pay a small fortune to get rid of them. I definitely do not love my curls.

  5. Elizabeth O. says:

    It’s definitely a struggle, I can tell you that. I stopped caring about my hair the minute the twins came out and that was one of my biggest regrets. These days, I make sure I use the right products just like you!

  6. I know that each person wishes they had different hair then their “natural” given hair; I’ve always been fascinated with curly hair while I’ve heard those with curly hair wish for straight. I’m sure we all feel this way to one degree or another but I commend you for figuring out what works best for YOU. By the way I personally believe you have absolutely GORGEOUS natural hair 🙂

  7. Dana says:

    I clicked on the link you have on “products,” and found DevaCurl – my favorite product! I have fine, curly hair, and I am often too lazy to do anything but let it air dry. I think your hair looks great in the photos, and I bet taking a break from braids and heat styling is doing wonders for your tresses!

  8. Christa says:

    Everyone wants what they don’t have especially when it comes to your hair. Embracing your natural hair can be hard at first but it such a relief to not have to constantly worry about it.

  9. Jeni Hawkins says:

    You’ve got GORGEOUS hair! It’s free, unique and beautiful! So happy you are appreciating it!

  10. Parpar De real says:

    My sister was have a naturally curl hair, Your natural curly hair was really looks good on you

  11. carmela mempin says:

    I love your curly hair 🙂 It so beautiful. I want to have a curly hair like your’s 🙂

    1. April Noelle says:

      Thank you. In these pictures, it’s easy to say that, but often french braiding wet hair will create the same effect.

  12. Sometimes I think my hair has a mind of its own! There are days when they just don’t go the way I want them to go. However, that is not a reason to ruin my beautiful day. I love my hair, whether they behave or not!

  13. Raijean says:

    I can’t do it but I’m proud that you are. It’s quite a process, one day I may explore

    1. April Noelle says:

      Give it a try. It is a process, but it’s so worth having the ability to know more about how your hair works. Please let us know if you do!

  14. Your hair is gorgeous! I love it! I hope I can love my natural wavy hair but I always have it rebonded

  15. Hannah says:

    I’m glad that you found some great products that worked for you. I’m always looking for ways to make my oily hair less oily
    🙁

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