The Passionista

Let’s Talk Hair: Part I – How’d You Get Those Curls?

May 16, 2018

I get this question so much that I needed to write this blog.  It was a LONG ROAD to get to this point but my journey was so worth the lessons learned.  After being naturally straight for 8 years, I knew it was time for a change-up.  I was bored with my hair and over color which used to do the trick.  So I did some research and learned about a DevaCut.  I was excited about the potential, but it took me 2 years to execute (it’s crazy to think that I am 5 days from being a full year into this new phase of my journey!) and fully embrace my natural texture.  I will share this story in 2 parts (don’t worry, it’s already written it will post next week!) and it’s always important to start with: Why?

Crippled by Research & Insecurities

We all know that if we search for anything long enough we will eventually find enough evidence to support either decision, stick with what you’ve been doing or make a change.  I prepared for the worst by telling myself, “it’s just hair, it will grow back eventually.”  That’s easy to say until you find disaster stories that fuel self-doubt.  Can you imagine?  What if I ended up with a TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro)?  What if my “natural texture” was a hot mess?  What if my hair was cut into a terrible shape?  These are the questions I asked myself over and over and over.  The worst result I framed in my head may not seem that bad, but they played on my deepest insecurities.  See it took me a long time to begin to love the skin I am in (most who know me now will be shocked by this, those who knew me then might somewhat understand my personal journey).  Growing up as a child, I was never the “pretty girl,” I was the sidekick (or so said that voice in my head – I need more time to unpack this, I tried but it I realized I haven’t fully come to terms with it so more to come).

I always assumed I would never have long hair.  I walked away from relaxers in 2007 and for the first time ever my thin and fragile hair grew in thicker and healthier than ever before.  But then I was stuck at shoulder length hair and could not understand why so I changed stylists (also realized that the prior one was scissor happy and used way to much heat) and refocused on the right goal: healthy hair.  So after years of straight hair, I experimented with protective styles, let my color grow out and primarily straightened my hair when I traveled.  Overcoming my biggest insecurities historically came at a cost for me but in this case it came as a precious gift, for delivering 2 babies over a 2 year period, I learned that my hair could grow.

Past Failures

I have been natural since 2007 but up until 2010, I wore my hair straight all of the time (as you can tell from the images above).  I started experimenting (while I was on maternity leave, it was perfect timing since I didn’t have to go anywhere most of the time) with styles and products I saw on YouTube. 9 times out of 10 the result was a HOT MESS – Dry, no real curl pattern – (I AM NOT EXAGGERATING – see Exhibit A)!  I convinced myself that my hair just didn’t look good natural, I didn’t have “that type of hair” most of us have been brained washed at some point in time to have a reference for what “good” looks like.

Exhibit A

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Small Wins

I started experimenting again in 2012 (another maternity leave so another time to figure out my hair life – see Exhibit B). I figured out a solid wash in go routine but it required me to wet my hair daily (drench is likely I better word, fully wet and detangled in the shower with a Denman Brush) and use a ton of product (Kinky Curly Knot Today and Miss Jessie’s Coily Custard were my staples). I hung the mission accomplished banner in my mind. I finally figured out how to be curly and straight, go me!!! And for the first time in my life I had long hair . . . (Yet another thing I told myself was never possible. I wasn’t wrong, as long as I continued to nuke my hair with Chemicals and Heat, it was in fact not possible, it only took me 14 years to try something different. That is LITERALLY INSANE).

Exhibit B

Big Defeats

But then several life events happened, I was extremely stressed and not taking great care of my hair (I took long hair don’t care to a different level). So I cut my hair (positive is that it made my wash day and wash and go routines even easier – see Exhibit C) but I felt like I was back at square one and it was time for a change. But I needed a game plan to ensure success or at the very least have a back-up in case it didn’t work out.

Exhibit C

The Checklist

To transition from why this was so difficult to how was I going to move forward, I had to create a plan:

  1. Figure out what you want: I watched ALOT of YouTube videos and landed on pursuing a DevaCut. It seemed like the perfect way to go all in on my curl journey
  2. Pick the right stylist/salon: I visited a lot of websites, read reviews, and watched videos to finally land my decision (This video in particular sealed the deal for me). Southern Curl Atlanta is the only salon I found that fully embraced curly hair and all curly hair types. Given that I’d been 50/50 for so long, I felt I needed a salon that didn’t offer alternatives to my natural curls
  3. Determine your hair goals – short and long-term: I follow curly girls on Instagram that represent #hairgoals so I saved images of how I would like my hair to look over time. I focused on the shape and length because those are the factors I can control/influence, the curl pattern is already pre-determined
  4. Fully embrace the process: In order for my natural curl to emerge I had to stop manipulating my hair. Given that this is all I’ve done for as long as I can remember, I was extremely afraid but I knew I had to at least try so I set a goal to fully stick with the curl plan for one year
  5. Prepare a backup plan: If the DevaCut was a disaster, I had to know what I would do next. So my emergency plan was to wear a wig, I literally told my coworker “if you see me wearing a wig on Monday you will know that it was a DISASTER!” My longer term plan was to wear a sew-in weave, I did this in the past to transition from a relaxer to “natural” hair so this was not foreign to me (This required time to execute however because my preferred hair comes from California and I no longer had a stylist that specializes in weaves)

Have you been a straight natural, like me?  What are your hair stories – the good, the bad and the ugly?  What kept/keeps you from embracing your natural curls?  If you took the leap and went for a  DevaCut, what was your experience?  I’d love to hear about it.  Drop a line below and let me know your thoughts! – Z’Marie

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