A Hair Story Part 1. My personal journey to loving the hair I’m in.

A Hair Story Part 1. My personal journey to loving the hair I’m in.

Written by: Stephanie Mashigo

Part 1:

All my life I believed my natural hair was hard, dry and unruly, and that chemical relaxers were the best way to make my hair soft, silky, moisturized and manageable. I believed that with every fibre of my being and religiously relaxed my hair the second I saw new growth. If I didn't have money to buy relaxer I'd wear my hair up for weeks on end to hide my unruly dry hair.

The very first time my hair was relaxed was when I was 4 years old. I was visiting with my grandmother and she decided my wild curly mane needed to be tamed. And thus began 28 years of chemical and heat straightening in an attempt to achieve the silky, moisturised, manageable hair I so desired.

 

When I turned 12, my mom bought me my own hair dryer and a few brushes. It was time to learn how to do my hair on my own. All I knew how to do was relax my hair and keep it straight so I just kept doing that. But if you’ve had experience with chemical relaxers you know that over time these can be extremely damaging and the effects began to show.

My hair was always dry, frizzy and breaking. I used my deep conditioners, hot oil treatments and I waited the recommended 8 weeks between relaxers. Sometimes longer. But I was struggling to maintain this ‘straight’ hair.

Imagine- relaxers were supposed to make my hair more manageable were actually making it worse. Eventually my 12 year old self had, had enough of trying to figure it out so I requested a haircut.

An extreme one at that. I cut all my hair off and rocked a pixie cut. I still relaxed it, because well how else was I going to manage this wild hair? Little did I know that when I cut off that pony tail it would be the last time my hair would be long- like beyond my shoulders length.

I continued relaxing my hair as it grew out but it never grew past my shoulders. I'd often look back at the photos of me with long hair. Why wouldn’t it grow back? I was doing everything I did before, right? Well if this unruly hair wasn’t going to grow I was just going to try every other hair trend until I got what I desired. That beautiful, manageable hair.

I jumped on all the hair trends. I did extensions, braids in every size, colour and length, I wore weaves and yes even a wig. I even tried that Brazilian a few times. I had a Buzz cut one time too... imagine!

My hair had been everything it could be and I loved almost all of those looks except my very own.