Going Natural With My 4C Hair

GOING NATURAL WITH MY 4C HAIR

As an African born, my hair has been somewhat of a tough journey.  From weekly hot comb treatments – and when I say hot comb, I mean my mom putting an iron comb in a coal pot and running it through my Blue Magic greased hair (see below) – to a jerry curl stint, you couldn’t tell me nothing.  I was too hot to trot when my long natural locks moved.

coal pot hot comb ghanaFrom the age of 5 until about 10, my mom kept my hair in long braids that took hours to finish.  Then I had the bright idea of cutting my hair one morning when my step-dad couldn’t figure out what to do with my hair.  For the next 2 years, I rocked my natural fro proudly.  It also didn’t hurt that my boarding school advocated short ‘dos.

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When I came to the United States in 1995, I was so mesmerized by girls with relaxers that I begged my mom to give me a relaxer.  After much protest, she finally obliged.  Buying a Just for Me relaxer kit and getting my hair bone straight (worst decision ever). For the next 17 years, I became a slave to the relaxer.  There were those Sunday night wash and sets with rollers. I loathed sleeping in them but they were my saving grace.

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Then came college.  I lived in a co-ed dorm and didn’t have a car in North Carolina so making it to the hair salon was tough and I also didn’t feel like wasting money on something I could do myself.  Some of the girls in the dorm would give me a wash and set once a week and a relaxer every two months.  I got se fed up with this process that I finally got box braids that lasted three to four months at a time with good hair maintenance.

The braids were a godsend.  Though it took nearly 8 hours to complete, getting my hair braided was the best thing I could do during my first two years of college.  I started wearing hair extensions my junior year of college when I transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University and continued wearing weaves to this day.  By 2010, I was so fed up with hair breakage, expensive hair appointments and chemicals I was putting on my strands.  I decided to go ahead and chop off my damaged hair.  At my hair appointment, I told my stylist to go ahead and chop everything off, also known as THE BIG CHOP.  After all, it’s just hair and it will grow back.

Fast forward to 2014. After wearing weaves for over two years, I finally decided to take out the so-called ‘protective style’ and take good care of my hair.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the versatility of extensions but for me, I wasn’t taking care of my natural hair as much as I should have been.  I wasn’t conditioning my natural hair often enough.  I always left my edges out when I got my weaves so these areas got a lot of heat damage.  My edges aren’t balding but they are breaking.  After taking out my extensions last month, I decided to go to hair therapy, Hairapy.  For the past month, I have been wearing my natural 4c hair out, nurturing it, moisturizing and hydrating it back to health with the goal of growing my length over the next 12 months.

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According to hair typing methods, I am a 4C, which means I have a lot of hair that coils and zigzags, craves moisture and hydration and is extremely fragile.  Being one with my natural hair for a month now has been an eye opener.  I know that it requires low manipulation or else my hair ends up in a frizz ball.  What has been my routine so far?

The first week after taking out my hair, I did a hot oil treatment using olive oil and coconut oil. Then shampooed my hair with Davines Love Curl Enhancing Shampoo and followed-up with the Davines Love Curl Enhancing Conditioner.  After that, I apply Wild Growth Hair Oil to my wet hair then seal in the moisture with Davines Authentic Replenishing Butter.   I can’t usually leave my hair out and go.  So I twist my hair in sections while my hair is still damp and let it air dry over night.

In the morning, I add a little bit of oil to my finger tips and unravel the twists and style.  I usually lose the curls in my hair within two days so I add a spritz of water and re-twist them or create an undo for the rest of the week.  In the second week, I co-washed with conditioner and followed the oil and butter routine before twisting.

For the start of July, I have started adding Sunny Isle Extra Dark Jamaican Black Castor Oil, as well as Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Creme to my hair routine.  I heard Jamaican Black Castor oil does wonders for hair growth so I am curious to see how it works out for me.  I have been applying it to my scalp and edges and massaging it in for about five minutes three times a week.

What are some of your favorite products? Any tips on making hair more manageable? Leave them below.

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