My first attempt to return to my natural roots started in 2009. I went relaxer-free for 8 months, wearing protective styles so I wouldn’t be tempted to apply relaxer to my puffy roots. One day I decided it was time to reveal my natural hair and I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had big gorgeous curls and my hair was extremely soft. I stood in the mirror admiring the texture of my hair, but suddenly became frightened- I didn’t know what to do! Questions started to arise, like “how would I manage my hair like this?” “What will people think of me at work?” At the time I didn’t know anyone who wore natural hair besides female celebrities like Tracy Chapman, Whoppie Goldberg, India Arie, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott. I threw on a baseball cap and headed to the beauty supply store and purchased a relaxer. I told myself I’ll continue to wear a relaxer until I’m 40 (at the time I was 32). Why did I say 40? Well, haven’t you heard that when a woman turns 40, she becomes more sure of herself, more confident, and doesn’t care what anyone may think?!
After I went back to the relaxer, I always wondered what would become of those beautiful curls I saw that day standing in the mirror. As time went on I noticed that the texture of my hair was beginning to change, my edges and the crown of hair where starting to thin. I knew something had to be done. I woke up one morning and said forget 40, I may not be alive to see 40, and why do I need to care about what other people will think of me returning to my natural roots?
On Tuesday, May 29th 2012 I headed to the barbershop and big chopped, which means cutting every inch of the chemicals out of my hair. That night I looked at myself for hours in the mirror thinking I was crazy for cutting my hair, but at that moment I was able to accept myself and all of my flaws. I didn’t have any hair to hide my forehead, my ears, or help shape my round face. I had to accept and love the person I saw staring back at me.
In the beginning, caring for my natural hair was frustrating with trying to find the right products and learning about the true texture of my hair. I spent countless hours watching YouTube videos and reading natural hair blogs on hair care and products. With the help of these online resources plus trial and error my hair is now stronger and healthier and the styling options are endless!
Returning to my natural hair has been a therapeutic journey to accept and love myself the way I was created. Falling in love with my hair inspired me to create The Natural Cole platform to discuss issues and products related to natural hair and create and host events such as the My Natural: A How-To Event. The purpose of the How-To Events is to help women learn hair styling techniques, proper hair care, encouraging the importance of self-confidence, self-love, and owning your look. Working with brands such as Denman has made events like this even more successful.
My advice to anyone who may be considering returning to their natural roots. Be patient and don’t expect your hair to look like the images you see on social media. Embrace the kinks, coils, and every aspect of your hair and learn to love yourself. To connect with the Natural Cole community, get great hair care/style tips and learn about local Dallas, TX Natural Hair events, visit www.thenaturalcole.com.