I started my journey back in October 2017, after attending my very first natural hair event – Clicks Curls 2017. My sister messaged me to say she had tickets for the event (sister Cavendy Solomons was also the motivation to go natural) and I was so excited to go!!
I was never really into going back to my roots, but after seeing those beautiful crowns at that event, I had this huge urge to do the things!!! Being the girl who had a different hair colour almost every school term/month, my hair was extensively damaged from all the chemicals and heat, as can be seen in the before pictures.
I picked up so much information at the event after spending time at all the different brand stands and thanks to the lekker goodies I received, I started this wonderful journey. I decided to transition first but that only lasted two months and I just went for the Big Chop. Ek was verskriklik ongeduldig! In the beginning, I used to cut my own hair simply because I never trusted anyone with scissors near my head. I went totally short and I felt as if I made the biggest mistake in life, but that’s because I didn’t really understand what I needed to do.
As time went on, I began to understand my hair type, what it needed and how it had to be treated. My weekly deep conditioning treatments were with the popular Aunt Jackie’s products. My hair grew back so fast! I prayed for this crown, for healthy curls and growth LOL. Here I am now almost one year on my journey and nine months after the big chop. I don’t regret a thing, I have a healthy bush of hair and I’m not ashamed of my KROESKOP!
My journey started in the beginning of 2017. I just decided to stop using heat and take better care of my hair and if you take a look at the pictures, you’ll see why. My hair was unbelievably damaged and no longer growing! At the time, I didn’t know a thing about natural hair products, deep conditioning every week, using a satin pillowcase or a doek to protect your hair at night. I was completely clueless. I just rolled my hair using rollers/curlers, did bantu knots as soon as they were removed and that’s how I wore my hair most of the time. I was also using my normal hair products and hadn’t switched to any of the natural ones. Stopping the use of heat drying alone, had already made a huge difference.
December that year, I did the Big Chop! It was only early in 2018 that I started familiarising myself with being a naturalista. I did the homework and found out what my hair type and porosity was, which products to use, etc. Then I heard of the Cape Town Naturally support group and Marley Grey Accessories. I went and bought the natural hair products that suited my budget, got a satin doek (I now own a Marley Grey satin pillowcase) and began styling my hair in a “wash and go” more often. Using the LCO method, I try to deep condition every week (something that’s really important, but don’t do it often enough). What I learned on my journey, is that being a natural takes a lot of patience! You have to be patient with your hair and treat it with loads of TLC. Your hair will thank you!
Also, don’t worry and bother yourself with what other people have to say about YOUR hair and all the negative comments. You keep on embracing your natural, God-given hair and flaunt it!
My natural hair journey started out of curiosity more than anything else. For some reason, videos on the Curly Girl Method kept popping up in my YouTube feed!
At the time, I was straightening my hair weekly and having natural hair did not interest me at all and I hadn’t seen my curls since I was a child (back then, having curly hair had a negative reputation and made one feel ashamed and embarrassed about their hair), so those curls were just waves. I also had that mindset that straight hair was safe and acceptable in society.
A few months passed by and everywhere I kept seeing people wearing their hair natural. I started wondering what my hair would look like if I also went natural but at the same time, I was concerned about what people would say and how I would be judged because my hair is no longer perfectly straight.
I began doing loads of research on the Curly Girl Method and after seeing others’ changes, I made up my mind to go natural. On 15/12/2018, I stopped straightening my hair. My hair was an absolute mess but I understood that I needed to transition and that it would take a few months to get rid of my damaged ends.
My family and even friends had so many negative things to say about my hair. During the festive season, I kept bumping into people while I was out and about and many of them looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. Some of the things people were saying and how they reacted towards me, really affected me until I got to a point where I thought about straightening my hair to avoid further shaming. Instead, I took a pair of scissors and cut two chunks from my hair. I did this because I knew there was no way I could wear my hair straight so I was forced to see it through.
Three weeks went by and I became frustrated having to deal with two different hair textures. I tried using flexi rods but it was too time consuming for my busy life. On 15/01/2019, I went for my big chop and no words could describe how happy and free I felt that day. I remember telling my husband “I have never been this happy with my hair before”. I’ve clinically been diagnosed with OCD so when I say I felt free, I felt mentally free as well. From that day on, everything changed for me. I was happier and a lot more carefree, as I honestly felt as if my straight hair imprisoned me.
But my hair still wasn’t curling “properly”. It was still wavy. The curly girl method is pretty straight forward: You refrain from using products that contain sulphates, silicones, waxes and stay away from heat and chemicals. The reasons for these restrictions made complete sense to me, so I embraced the Curly Girl Method wholeheartedly and a whole new level of OCD kicked in LOL! Since curly hair is naturally more dry, using a sulphate based product is too harsh as it strips the hair and scalp of its natural oil/s. Due to the curves in curly hair, our natural sebum is often not able to travel right down to our tips and using sulphates on already dry hair causes it to become brittle.
As a result, curly hair needs moisture to thrive. Silicones in hair products coat our hair, leaving a film on each hair strand that prevents moisture from penetrating. It creates the illusion that one’s hair is moisturized but eventually the hair becomes dry, damaged and these silicones cannot be removed with water alone; therefore, a sulphate based product is needed to get rid of it. Following a routing with my hair, I deep conditioned my hair every week without fail, experimented with different products and techniques and I started cutting my own hair (I actually do this way more than I need to). I’ve now been on this beautiful journey for the past eight months and I am a totally different person. I am a better person because I feel empowered, I am no longer hiding behind straight hair and I no longer give a damn about what anyone has to say when it comes to my hair!!!!
My biggest supporter through all of this was and is my husband. The healthier and curlier my hair becomes, the more excited he gets and he celebrates these milestones with me. I’m so grateful that I am now able to take care of my kids hair as well and not resort to straightening. Products we love using on our Curly Girl journey is IntrinsiCurly Me and of course, Marley Grey Hair Care Accessories. My journey would not have been this pleasant without these two major industry players.
We LOVE reading your journeys – THANK YOU to each person who has taken the time to send us their Hair Journey. We may not be able to publish everyone’s journey, but it gives us so much more insight into where most of the struggles are and how we can improve our service to YOU 🙏
Around this time, my partner went away for 3 months and I suddenly found myself not feeling the need to blow-dry and straighten my hair. In short, I let myself go. At this point, I wasn’t really aware of the natural hair movement however, something sent me to YouTube to look up ways to help my hair grow faster. Keep in mind that up until March 2017, I religiously relaxed my hair since the age of 4 or 5 and then throughout my teenage years. YouTube opened my eyes to a whole new world of being “natural”. I was instantly intrigued by curly heads from around the world. I’ve seen some roaming the streets in Cape Town too but never paid them any mind. Deep down, I thought they looked kinda cool looking so carefree but never felt the need to have curly hair. This longing to return to natural manifested in my mind and laid on my heart. One could say that it felt like a spark building up into this huge bonfire that would some months later explode and trigger a BIG CHOP!