LaToya’s Natural Hair Journey

In November of 2013 I received my last relaxer. I did not realize it would be my last until a feeling of guilt came over me as my hair dresser applied the chemical to the very intriguing waves that had started springing out of my scalp. I felt bad for my natural roots. I felt like I was denying them or like I wasn’t giving them a chance.

As I sat in that chair I decided that it would be my last relaxer. I was going to give the “natural” thing I try. Mind you, before I made this decision, I was that girl that declared I would never go natural and would continue to use relaxers until they stopped manufacturing them.

My relaxed hair: Dec. 2013
My relaxed hair: Dec. 2013

I had a negative opinion of my natural hair because I didn’t like my hair when I was younger. I didn’t understand why it didn’t lay flat like the other girls in school. I guess I felt too different. I viewed my hair as ugly and not beautiful. When I was in 7th grade my mom allowed me to get a relaxer. I continued to relax my hair up until my sophomore year of college, November of 2013.

I decided that I would transition instead of doing the BIG CHOP. I wasn’t comfortable with having super short hair. My plan was to transition for two years but just after the one year mark, it became too difficult for me. I was wearing weaves or braids throughout the majority of my transition, but I became tired of that. I wanted to have my own hair out. I wanted to feel my own scalp.

So around the year and four months mark I tried to wear my hair out, but it just did not look right. My roots were super thick and my ends were pretty much see-through. It was not a cute look. So I decided when the semester came to an end, I would do my big chop, or transitioning chop, and I would finally be completely natural.

Leading up to the day, I was really excited but super nervous. I did not know how I was going to look with shorter hair. I had no idea what my hair texture would be, but I was determined to learn to love it.

In May of 2015, I invited some friends over and we had a Transitioning Chop Party! I ordered pizza and we played music. I think this was the best way for me to shake my nerves and to celebrate this turning point in my life.

Before big chop vs. after big chop
Before big chop vs. after big chop

And it turns out, I loved my hair! I was so surprised to see curls on my head. I had no idea that my hair was curly. It’s weird to think you’re 21 years old, and you are just discovering what your hair looks like.

That’s why I think this natural hair movement is so important. Although everyone has the right to wear their hair in a way that makes them feel beautiful and confident, I think it is important that we all learn to love and embrace the hair we were born with. There is only one you and we are all unique in our own way. So embrace every part of you.

It has been 5 months since my big chop and I can still say that I love my hair. My hair is not like anyone else. My curls are just for me and I love them!

Photo by Siu's View. www.siusview.com.
Photo by Siu’s View. www.siusview.com.

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Managing Type 4C Hair

Managing type 4c hair can be very difficult considering the coarseness of its texture, shrinkage, and undefined curl pattern. Learning how to deal with this type of hair takes time and patience. I have type 4c hair, and I have learned how to manage my hair, so here are some tips.

Moisture Keeping type 4c hair moisturized is very important. The hair is more prone to breakage because of its texture. Moisture should be applied daily. The easiest way to keep this type of hair moisturized is to spray it with a conditioner and water mix every morning. You can always find another way to moisturize daily. There are a lot of products out there that will help to keep the hair moisturized.

Styling The best way to style type 4c hair is to use protective styling. Protective styling helps to preserve and retain length. If you do not use protective styling, it will be easy for your ends to break off. Protective styling includes twist outs, braid outs, up-dos, etc. These styles may take a while to do, but keeping them in for two weeks is very beneficial. They allow for low manipulation, which increases the chance of length retention.

Detangling I have learned that the best way to detangle is by using my fingers. Combs and brushes tend to snap the ends of my hair. If you decide to use detangling tools, get a wide tooth comb and a soft bristle brush. Also, detangle while the hair is wet, because it will be easier to move through the hair. Detangling your hair in sections will be a great benefit, for the process will be easier to handle.

Products Make sure the products are alcohol and sulfate free. The alcohols cause dryness. Use products that are meant to add moisture to the hair. Always use a leave-in conditioner, which helps to protect the hair from damages.

Shrinkage Sometimes shrinkage can be very frustrating, especially if your hair is down your back but appears to be above your neck. Type 4c hair can shrink up to eighty percent or maybe even more. There are ways to elongate the hair. Twist outs and braid outs usually help to lengthen the hair. These hair styles also help with creating a definite curl pattern. Due to shrinkage, type 4c hair does not have much of a curl pattern. There is a pattern, but the coils are really tight. Wearing a fro and embracing the shrinkage is cool too, but remember to moisturize the fro in order to prevent breakage.

Managing type 4c hair can be tough, but it creates a very distinct look that helps individualize an individual. No matter how much time it takes to do my hair or how difficult it is to manage my hair, I have learned to embrace what I have. My type 4c hair is a part of my identity and individualized style.

Do you have type 4c hair? Do you feel as if it is the most difficult hair type to manage?

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