Six months since my last relaxer: I think I’m going natural!

from-relaxed-to-naturalI last relaxed my hair six months ago, on November 6, 2014. I hadn’t planned for that to be my last relaxer but as time went on, my frustrations about relaxing my hair flared up, as they always do. Then I discovered the blogs of some Nigerian women rocking natural hair and I got inspired…and developed a serious case of hair envy! Three months post-relaxer, I decided to see how long I could go without relaxing my hair. As I mentioned in my hairstory (hair history) post, I’ve relaxed my hair regularly for the past 18 years, only changing up my style during my visits back home in 2008, 2010, and 2013.

“Going natural” as they say hasn’t been a joyous process because I’m a low-maintenance (lazy?) person. If your hair is longer than an inch, wearing it out in its unrelaxed state in a way that looks like you put effort into it, requires, well, effort. I wash and deep condition my hair once a week, and I wish that was all the upkeep required to make it versatile for the rest of the week. Styling aside, my main challenge has been dealing with the loss of hair when I comb it due to tangles—oh the tangles! I wish I was exaggerating when I say that I’m surprised that I have any hair left on my head after all the knotted hair I’ve pulled out! Parts of my hair became dreadlocks without trying, making me think that this is how dreads were invented: someone’s hair got matted, they couldn’t deal with it, and a new style was born! I tried to comb out the tangles gently and finger detangle, but I still lost so much hair that I would start to worry that something was wrong with me health-wise, causing me to abandon combing my hair, leaving parts of it tangled—of course this only made things worse. To hide the tangles, I’ve been wearing my hair in its signature style (a bun) for almost six months, looking and feeling quite blah as a result.

After pouting for a while, I started thinking about a strategy for my hair. I’m not yet at the stage where I want to invest oodles of time on my hair; I’m still after the “wash and go” lifestyle. But detangling my hair was a must, no matter how much hair I’d lose in the process. It was painful but it’s now done. Next, figuring out some decent styles that don’t make me look like I’m about to give up on life is the next project—I see a lot of headbands and hair wraps in my future! Eventually I’ll consider the one idea that comes to me every week: chopping off the relaxed parts of my hair and rocking a short haircut, seeing as relaxed hair will never go back to its natural state. The only thing stopping me is a suspicion that short hair won’t suit me, but if that happens I can resort to a protective style, such as braids.

If you’re looking for Nigerian hair blogs, check out my Twitter list that I’ve only just started keeping; those with blogs have their blog in their Twitter profile (Note: this list includes both natural hair and relaxed hair bloggers).

If you keep your hair the way it grows out of your head, who inspires you? Have you ever done a “big chop”? How much hair did you say bye to at one time?

16 thoughts on “Six months since my last relaxer: I think I’m going natural!

  1. I am about 10 years into the natural hair ‘thing’ and I feel your pain. Like yuo, I stumbled into it after the frutrations of having my hair get up and walk away after a multitude of relaxations. after a few onths, i realise all of my permed hair was just about gone and i decided “oh well!” In the years since, I have found many ways of dealing with my mess of a hair and the BIGGEST lesson I ever learned and will now impact on you is: do NOT comb your hair when it is dry. wet it, then comb it. I have a small spray bottle that i use. Also, run a large comb through it while the conditioner is still in your hair. Also, comb from the tips first, then slowly walk your way deep into the hair…. in sections. LOL. yes it is a lot of work, but 10 years later, I love my hair and all the awesomeness i can create with it and all the compliments and push comes to shove, I just braid it until I am ready to deal with it again. :P

    • 10 years! Wow, you’re a pro. Thank you for the tips about combing my hair because this is where the most frustrations are for me: I lose tons of hair while combing it, even when combing it wet. I have my spray bottle for water and since I broke my wide-toothed comb on Tuesday while coming my hair, I need a new one! I will eventually accept the time required to master natural hair, but I’m sure I’ll complain a bit until I get to the point of acceptance!

      Thanks for being real too: you didn’t say that you always have the patience to deal with your hair—I think I may resort to braids more often in these early days!

  2. Welcome to the Naturals club, Jummy!

    I have been natural, more or less all of my life, apart from the first year after moving to England when I decided to show off my grown up status by relaxing my hair. I found it so much harder to cope with than natural hair actually. I guess it’s what you’re used too…

    And yes I have done a few big chops in my time. I usually flip flop between short hair which I think suits my stature and facial structure, and long hair which is more mainstream. In fact I think I’m in the process of re-growing my hair again ( for the umpteenth time!).

    You didn’t ask for advice, but I just wanted to say try to keep things simple, the way you are at the moment. Just experiment a lot with your hair and you’ll eventually find out what work for you. And I agree with Awittyfool, comb when wet! In fact I only ever finger comb my hair and don’t thunk I even have a single comb in my flat. Fingercombing forces you to be gentle and thorough with getting rid of tangles.
    Anyways, good luck with it, I’m looking forward to starting this new journey with you!

    • Thank you, Clara! I have a lot to learn but I’m determined to learn how to work with my hair. Thanks for the support and advice: I have to be patient and stop being lazy.I’ll definitely try finger detangling.

      Short hair does suit your stature: it allows your petite features to stand out more. That being said, I haven’t seen you with long hair.

  3. I always think I lose too much hair when I comb my hair too. And I lowkey start panicking and then realize I still have a lot left on my head. I’m not natural though. Good luck with your hair!

    • Welcome, Naija Girl Abroad, and thank you for commenting.

      I’m glad I’m not alone with losing a lot of hair and “lowkey panicking” as you put it…it’s true that we’ve got a lot left but I always worry that it won’t grow back for some strange reason—it’s like I want to give myself stress for no good reason!

  4. It’ll be interesting to see how you get along. People do like to pretend that afro hair isn’t hard to deal with sometimes. It’s difficult and time consuming.

    • Hello Open Eye mag ;)

      Honestly I’m eager to see how I get on too. I like your honesty: what’s the point of letting people think that managing natural hair is easy, when most people relax their hair because they want hair that is easier to manage!

      I hope you’ll come back again.

  5. Being natural is definately not the easiest thing in the world but i think you will like it :) Enjoying mine so far though every other weeekend I just want to crotchet it.. lol

    • I’m going to consult with you periodically if you don’t mind, Flo! No need for me to reinvent the wheel when there are so many great resources out there.

  6. I relaxed my hair last 5 months ago. I love seeing how much new growth I have. Everytime I relax my hair, My edges disappear and my hair becomes so thin like the hair on corn -__- Even though I know my hair will be better if I stop relaxing but I don’t think I can go natural, it hurts too much when I get it braided

    • Hi Matilda!

      Seeing how much your hair has grown between relaxers is one of the best parts about having relaxed hair so I don’t blame you! Though your comment about your hair edges being like corn silk made me laugh, I know what you mean there too—it’s awful! I hear you on the struggle of being natural…wish I could say it’s a picnic but it isn’t!

  7. awww. happy hair growing. back in 2013 when I just was starting my journey. I had the intention of transitioning for 8 months but then I was too anxious to see what hair was gonna look like. so i big chopped at 4 months post. I’m glad I did. its so much easier when you big chop.

    • Thank you; I need all the help I can get! I can definitely relate to the feeling of wanting to be rid of the relaxed hair, but it’s also a security blanket because at least for now I can pull it into a bun when I can’t deal with it.

      Welcome, nafist!

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