Tuesday, June 3, 2014

TRUE LIFE: I kept an emergency relaxer for 2 years

TRUE LIFE: I kept an emergency relaxer for 2 years, then something changed

A year into my journey I was still stumbling towards healthy hair. Pressing my new growth in an effort to blend the textures, was starting to damage my strands. I was uneducated on kinky curl care, and I was making major mistakes as I transitioned. I used high heat frequently, I manipulated my hair daily, and when it was in protective styles, I would often forget to moisturize. For the 1st full year, length retention was stunted by my bad practices, regardless, each day I would blame nature for giving me unmanageable HARD hair.
I would curse the mirror, and stare at the jar of emergency relaxer, debating if my kinks were here to stay. I would reach past the relaxer and grab a heat tool, flat iron, or blow drier. My new growth became damaged from the heat, and increasingly difficult to take care of. I had no idea the constant heat, and lack of care was making my hair even more difficult to manage. Each day I would go to battle with my strands, while longing for something to make things easier for my kinky curls. I had just assumed that I was born with the worst type of hair imaginable, I assumed I wasn’t blessed with ‘wash n go’ hair.  It didn’t strike me that I was creating a bigger problem each time I used high heat to flatten my curls. Damaged hair is more difficult to style, and I was damaging my hair as fast as it was growing. 

My type 4 roots were growing in, and they were thicker, curlier, and scarier than ever. I had never taken the time to care for my curly roots, as I would always run for the next relaxer every few weeks. I had not realized that caring for, even the most, kinky hair can be easy. When cared for, healthy hair can lead to simpler styling. I kept an emergency relaxer under my sink for 2 years, because I had not learned to care, for, and style my curly hair. At that time, I hadn’t realized that healthy hair was the easiest to style, and manage. I would use heat tools to press my hair into submission, before I learned to style curly hair. Swearing off heat tools allowed me to  learn to style curly hair, grow my hair to my hair goals, and forget about that emergency relaxer under the sink.
Two years into my journey, I rocked protective styles often. When my curls were left out, I would fight with the opposing textures on my head, as I stared at the emergency relaxer. As the  weather warmed up, I fought against humidity induced shrinkage, using heat tools as well. The final straw was a hot comb incident mid-summer, it was then, that I final put my heat tools on ice. Itching to do a daily length check, I reached for a hot comb. Without a heat protectant to coat my strands, and without testing the temperature,  I took a quick swipe at my bangs, and they were gone! That was the last straw. I cried, and picked up the dust left from my bangs, then swore off all heat tools.

 It was only after letting go of the idea of pin straight hair, and having total control over each hair on my head, that I was able to really enjoy the journey.

I became fascinated with how long my puff could grow. I enjoyed the mass of curls that coverd my head. I noticed I retained more and more length, after  developing a simple regimen. No, my hair  wasn’t pin straight anymore, but I liked it.  I fell in love with my curls, one product at a time, and one style at a time. Letting go of my dependence on the flat iron allowed my hair to thrive. It allowed me the time to get to know my curls, instead of avoiding them. 

Each time you long for an emergency relaxer, try a new hairstyle. 
Experimenting on natural hair allows you to find what styles work for you. There are so many styles to choose from no matter your hair texture. As I began to dive into the various styles, methods, and techniques, I forgot all about the jar that had temped me on my weakest days.
 Today I use heat tools sparingly. I always use heat tools on a low setting, and I also use a heat protectant. When I long for straight hair, I have found methods that allow me to stretch my hair without the risk of heat damage. After 4 years, I have found that healthy hair is the easiest hair to work with. I still use heat sparingly. I skip the blowdrier, and flat iron my detangled hair on low, and get a stretched look. I still have the ‘emergency’ relaxer as well. Today I just look at it to remind my self just how far I have come.

 Are you using heat tools daily, or weekly? Do you have an emergency relaxer ready for use?