As time went on I was upset that I let the dream of having beautiful healthy hair fade away. I started wearing half wigs and sew-ins to grow out the relaxer and do it on my own. Finally, after researching the internet, watching YouTube videos, and asking natural hair women questions, my sister and I chopped off my relaxed ends in April 2009. Not to be cliché, but like many naturals, it was liberating. You would only know the feeling when you make that decision. I felt good, yet scared after looking in the mirror. I was happy to be free from relaxer, but scared of what I felt others would think of my new look. I thought to myself, “You look like a boy with nappy hair.” My grandma said, “Hair look like ya stuck ya finger in a socket.” I had to free myself from others and my own mental negativity. I did not go to any salon or stylist to help me because of the experience I had and feeling unheard. My family thought I was crazy and asked why I cut my hair. I was told some “employers will not accept my hair” and “I am going back in time.” Nevertheless, I kept my natural hair journey moving. I still wore half wigs from time to time until my hair grew out some and cover up those bad natural hair days. Overtime, I started to see my curl pattern, which I learned was a 4b/c, and was happy to see length and healthy hair. My natural hair journey began.
The journey continued when I moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2010. I tried to keep up with the natural hair tips and techniques from tubers and bloggers, but got overwhelmed and slacked on my natural hair maintenance. I used the basics, coconut oil mixed with shea butter, sulfate free shampoo and natural based conditioners. I kept these in place, like wash, condition, deep condition, and trim my ends when I could. However, once I started working and going to school it became difficult to maintain. Stunted hair growth was the result. So, I started a google search for salons in Atlanta that could help me. I found two that I thought would work, but I was not trying to pay the price of natural hair styling with no education or support in between visits. One salon did natural hair press very well and my hair was lovely, but if I kept going my hair may get heat trained and I’d lose my curl pattern. This salon had other styling options I asked about, but was too expensive. For simple twists it was $55 and up depending on depth and length of hair. I could not commit to that salon.
The other salon was focused on natural hair by giving the client a hair consultation with service to see what product and hair technique works best for the hair. The consultation started off good with a young stylists testing four strands of my hair with two strand twist, curl rod, finger twist, and braid to see how my hair responded. I enjoyed that part and learned finger twist or wash and go was not for my hair type. Then came the hour long wait before I got my hair styled by another stylist. The owner offered me a free steam treatment to close the wait gap, but I was not happy with that. It was a nice gesture, but I had plans that day and was going to be late due to salon overbooking. I asked for flat twists and sat under the dryer for a bit, then I paid and left. I got home to let it air dry and took the twist out. All I could say is I could have done better. She did on big flat twist in the middle of my head that took longer to dry and my twist out was not defined. Good thing natural hair does not have to be perfect.
These experiences at salons shows the need for better service for the natural hair market. I am not speaking that all salons are lacking, but so many women like myself have grown frustrated that we cannot find a decent salon with well-rounded service for natural hair clients.
Stay tuned for part two tomorrow!!!
By: Anesha Beliberated