Living No Lye: My Natural Hair Journey
by Constance Cash
Welcome to IAmTeamNatural.com. I started my natural hair journey on October 3, 2011. I haven't had a relaxer since circa 2010, but I didn't start caring for my natural hair until I big chopped in 2011. Like many others, becoming natural was somewhat accidental. I never really learned how to style my own hair, and have always relied either on cosmetologists to glam me up, or on wigs and braids. Back then, I couldn’t care less about the health of my natural hair—as long as it looked fab on top!
For years I wore professionally sewn-in extensions and, like me, none of the stylists I encountered cared about the health of my natural hair. As a result, my hair started to break off. For a while it didn’t matter, because I only had to deal with my hair when I removed the extensions a few times a year. Soon enough, though, I started thinking about all the money I was wasting on sew-ins. The cost of the hair, installation fees, maintenance, and removal fees were eating up my pockets.
My sister and a college friend went natural before I did, and I observed their progress. I was technically already “natural,” but had not cut off my hair’s damaged ends. Soon, I got tired of hiding behind the weaves and, for once, I wanted to be free. To find out more about natural hair, I joined tons of natural hair pages and read research articles, and I promised myself that, once I big chopped, I would not turn back. On the very day of my big chop, I created the #TeamNatural Facebook page. A sister needed some support, so I invited my friends. They invited their friends, and the rest is history.
Big chopping was quite the experience. It was so liberating. For the most part, I had tons of support, but I will never forget what my goddaughter said when she saw my hair for the first time. "You look like a boy!" she screamed, and took off running. Kids are so honest, and they have no filters. A little piece of me died inside, but I knew at that moment that I’d have to grow tough skin for the journey ahead.
The first year was amazing. My hair grew like weeds, and I bought lots of accessories and makeup to glam up my new look. There wasn’t a hair product I didn’t try; if you’d looked up the word “product junkie,” in the dictionary, you would have seen my picture! Around the thirteenth month, however, I started experiencing breakage at the nape of my neck and thinning throughout, and I started wearing protective styles to retain the length.
After several months with no signs of improvement, I decided to do a second big chop on August 30, 2013. That was the best decision I could have made. I got a tapered cut and color, and I've been having so much fun with it that I haven’t used nearly as many products as I did with my first big chop.
Length: Tapered Cut
_Pre-Poo: Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Coconut Oil
_Sulfate-Free Shampoo- Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab
_Co-Wash Conditioner- Nubian Heritage Co-wash, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, & Shea Mositure Yucca & Baobab Conditioner
_Deep Conditioner (Moisture)-Shea Moisture Anti-breakage Masque
_Deep Conditioner (Protein)-Aubrey Organics GPB
_Leave-In Conditioner- Koils by Nature Shealoe Leave-in, Paul Mitchell The Conditioner, & Eden Bodyworks Leave-in
_Sealant-Virgin Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
_Styling Product- Eden Bodyworks Curling Creme & OBIA Curling Custard
_Daily Refresher-OBIA curl refresher & Shea Moisture Yucca Mist
_Hair Growth Oils-Jamaican Black Castor
_Multivitamin- Alive multivitamin
Co-Wash-Twice a week unless in a protective style
Poo-Once a week
Night regimen-Moisturize, seal, and wear satin bonnet
Nightly massages with oils for 15min