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I’ve been natural for 25 years.
Even writing that seems surreal.
I still vividly remember the moment that I walked into my bathroom, stood in front of the mirror and chopped off every last strand of relaxed hair. I looked at myself with a rush of excitement. I also felt a vague uncertainty about what I had just done, who the person looking back at me from the mirror was, and who I was becoming.
Since that day, I’ve experienced a lot of twists and turns in my natural hair journey (pun intended). I’ve had growth, breakage, thick twists, and crazy shedding. I’ve had every style imaginable – twists and twist outs, braids and braidouts, afros of every size and shape, shaved nearly bald, long locs, updos, cornrows, bantu knots and more. I’ve loved my kinks and hated my knots. I’ve found holy grail products and fails.
There is sooooo much I could share about how that one decision so many years ago has changed and shaped my life and who I am today. I could honestly write a book, and maybe I will one day.
Today, I want to share 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years since my big chop.
25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years Since My Big Chop
- If it doesn’t work for your hair, don’t do it!
- If it works for you, ignore anyone who says not to do it that way.
- Hair type is only one part of the story of your hair.
- Following tons of people with hair that’s nothing like yours for hair advice leads nowhere good.
- Protective styles aren’t protective if you don’t take care of your hair.
- 4C hair isn’t any worse than any other type of hair – especially when you know how to take care of it.
- Trends come and go – it can be fun to try new things, but don’t get lost and forget your routine if it’s working for you.
- Change ONE THING at a time and pay close attention to your results.
- Document your results with each thing you try.
- Pay THE MOST attention to your own hair and how it reacts (or doesn’t) to products and techniques.
- Stylists that are unfazed by these kinks do exist.
- Your edges aren’t necessarily damaged because they’re shorter and more fine than the rest of your hair. Noticing my daughter’s “baby hair” opened my eyes to this. She has never worn a tight style in her life yet she has short hair around her hairline – when I started paying closer attention, I noticed how common it is across all ages and cultures.
- Nigeria has some of the best hair stylists and content creators in the world for 4C hair.
- You can do the most with your hair, or the least, and both can work.
- You can use oils on your hair or not use oils (or grease, or deep conditioners), and both can work.
- What’s really important is what works for you.
- If your hair is dry, the first place to look is your cleansing routine.
- I always struggled to get my hair straight even with a relaxer for a reason – because it was never meant to be straight!
- The way our hair grows out of our heads isn’t a problem to fix.
- It’s ok to put down the mentality of fighting my hair into submission that I carried over from my relaxer days. I can work with my hair and what it naturally wants to do with beautiful results.
- The answer to so many natural hair problems is moisture.
- The amount of shrinkage you have can make a difference in your hair care routine.
- Natural hair is equally as beautiful, professional, and special event worthy as any other type of hair.
- There’s an internal transition that has to take place for our minds to catch up with our newly freed kinks.
- Loving your hair is a choice.
There are many more lessons I’m sure, but these stood out to me to share with you today.
I would love to know – how long have you been natural and what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your journey? Connect with me on Instagram and let me know!
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