My Rocky Natural Hair Journey
The story of how I went from long and beautiful relaxed hair to soft and manageable 4c natural hair is not a smooth one. If I knew the things that I know today, I would have spared myself a lot of heart ache and misery on the road here. If I can help just one person transition from processed to natural, without feeling insecure, or help someone recover from hair and/or scalp damage, or support someone who is looking for a more natural way to care for their hair, then I have done what I've set out to do.
I have always had an interest for hair care and hair care products. From the time I was able to do my own hair as a young girl, I was always trying to come up with new and innovative ways of taking care of my 4c type hair. However, my hair often frustrated me because it was so hard to manage with the products that were available in those days. I noticed that when I found products that worked perfect in my hair, it would either get pulled off the market or the company would change the composition of it; for the worse. I have come to believe that the products that work well for people with my hair type, didn't have the same effect on people with straight hair, so therefore the companies don't find it lucrative to keep producing them.
From the time I hit my early teens, my hair was relaxed. I quickly learned how to care for it with the few products that I could get my hands on. My hair was thriving and had grown past bra-strap length in college and then again in my mid-thirties. My hair was at it's best while I was using a wonderful shampoo and conditioner that I found at Sally's (Proclaim brand), but as usual it was discontinued. I struggled to find a replacement that made the strands of my hair feel strong and healthy, but to no avail. I jumped from product to product, trying this and that. My bathroom cupboard looked like a hair supply store. Many of the products were barely used and ended up being wasted. It wasn't even a year into my hair care product replacement quest, when I noticed my hair breaking off in the back. Each time I washed my hair, I noticed that my hair was declining dramatically in length and I was horrified.
I decided to install yarn braids to protect my hair, as I saw on several YouTube channels, but ended up taking them out when I suspected that the dye used to color the yarn was seeping into my body. The whole time I had them in, I could smell and taste dye in the back of my throat. After the yarn braids, I installed some braid extensions. This was nothing new for me, since I would braid extensions into my hair when I was in college as a protective style once in a while, but this time things didn't seem right. After a few days of having them in, my head began to itch like crazy. After less than a week I had to remove them, but the itching didn't stop. I would scratch my head and it would bleed and then scab. I went to several dermatologist to find out what was going on. They ran several test and couldn't find anything. It wasn't until one of the doctors took a biopsy of my scalp that the diagnosis of spongiotic dermatitis/eczema and psoriasis of the scalp came back. I was devastated to say the least. The medications that they had me on was not a cure. I know that they were only covering up symptoms of a bigger problem. I thought that my hair and scalp would never recover. The doctors in my opinion were not interested in finding out the root cause of my condition, they were just fine with throwing medication at it. But out of this tragedy came a new beginning.
After much prayer, asking the Lord to lead me in the right direction of knowledge and healing, I learned some very valuable lessons about hair care and natural health in general. I realized that my downfall was a direct result of a poor diet, that was heavy on processed foods and devoid of the natural. There were weeks that went by that I didn't put something healthy and organic in my mouth (no fruits, no fresh veggies). After taking care of my kids and making sure that they had enough fresh fruits and veggies, I would end up putting junk in my own mouth. I also suspect that the hair that I used in the braid extensions were contaminated in one or another. My body was so unhealthy, that it couldn't defend itself against whatever was on the hair extensions.
**The bill always comes due**
In order to regain my health and regrow my hair, I had to make some drastic changes; it wasn't easy. I started off by shaving off all of my hair. With no hair, I was able to take care of my scalp until I got things under control. I wore wigs and started some twists in my hair when it started to grow back. I also knew that I had to fix things on the inside, before lasting results could be seen on the outside. Due to my degree in medical laboratory technology, I was able to navigate my way around some of the medical literature available on reputable natural health sites, so I came up with a game plan to resolving my underlying issues.
The drastic changes that I had to make:
- Temporarily Stop Eating Red Meat (I have never have eaten pig products)
- Stop Eating Processed Foods
- No Sugar or Sugar Substitutes (or products made with them)
- Increased My Intake of Fresh Fruits & Veggies
- Drank More Water
- Stopped Using Hair Products Packed with Chemicals
Of all the steps listed above, not taking in sugar was the most important change that I made. After a week of treating sugar like the plague and applying my scalp ointment to my head, the dryness and flaking began to clear up. Whenever I fell off the wagon and had something sweet, my scalp would pay for it. My research led me to the conclusion that I was suffering from a leaky gut, and I had developed an adverse immune response to several things, especially sugar. As I learned to avoid the foods that I had become sensitive to, my scalp began healing faster and my hair started to grow in faster. Unfortunately I ended up with areas on my scalp that were too far gone to recover, due to my messing with it too much. As I started using my natural hair care products on a regular basis, my hair started to actually retain the growth without it falling off or chipping away. If I knew the things that I know today, I would have come out of this whole situation with less damage to my scalp.
If I can pass on the things that I learned and the products that I came up with (by the grace of God), then none of this will have happened to me in vain. I believe that the Lord allows us to go through certain things in our lives for a reason. If we hoard the lessons that we have learned and not take that knowledge to help someone else, our troubles and trials are for nought.
My rough hair journey took me 6 long years, but it would have taken half the time if I had the information that I learned at the beginning of this journey. If you are facing similar health trials in your life, you are not alone. If your hair is not progressing the way that you would like, or if you would like to maintain your hair using natural products, you are in the right place. Try our products and share this info with a friend.
Thank you for reading.