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My Hair Journey

Kiana Quinonez, Staff Writer

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The summer before my senior year of highschool, I decided to go natural. Before, and even during, my natural hair journey, I did no research on what I was getting myself into.

After cutting everything but nearly an inch and a half of hair from my scalp, I wore braids for about two months before my big reveal. I remember being absolutely giddy to see what my hair would look like. It’s the one thing that would define me from that moment on, for the rest of my life.

I didn’t look at myself until I was done taking every twist out. I ran down to the bathroom and was shocked at what I found. I felt absolutely bald. I didn’t know about shrinkage (when your hair appears shorter after being wet),and wasn’t prepared for what I would look like with hair above my shoulders, even my ears.

I remember my mom looking at the shock on my face, and telling me that if I wanted to skip class that day and get a weave installed, she would take the day off for me, bring me to the hairdresser, and pay for it. Black women take their hair very seriously.

I decided to go to class, and thankfully, despite my fears, I was well received by my peers. My confidence was boosted tenfold. Although it was a very big adjustment, I was happy with myself. Once I got home though, the one question my mother and I neglected to ask came up. What next?

Up until that point, we had no products, no routine, and no knowledge of how our real hair worked, but I had to spend the rest of my life with it. Damn.

The hunt began, and three years later, I’m still hunting. Despite the minor setbacks and the progress I’ve made in response, I still struggle with doing my hair. I had to learn my hair type, how to treat it, what products worked best, what methods or care were better before bed, before the beach, before going out in a snowstorm, and I still don’t completely know what I am doing.

So where else do I turn, but Youtube? The one place you can go to learn anything. I thought that this would give me insight on how to better manage my hair, and create a routine, but I frequently hit a dead end. You’d think that with all the millions of people in the world, someone would know how to do my hair.uAfter countless hours of staring at my computer screen, more often than not, I ended up confused, or spending $40 dollars on products I either wouldn’t, shouldn’t, or didn’t know how to use.


The medals of my extensive journey collect dust in a brown backpack full of half empty jars of leave-in conditioner, curl enhancing smoothie, oil, spritz, gel, shampoo, co-wash, more leave-in conditioner, twist defining jelly, and even more leave in conditioner.

At the start of this semester, I inventoried the products in my backpack, and counted over $200 in half used product that I will probably never touch again.

As of right now, I spend an hour every night twisting my hair with Cantu leave in conditioner. At the end of every week, I co-wash my hair, and every 3-4 weeks, I shampoo so as not to wash away the natural oils my hair builds up. The first day after a wash, there is always shrinkage, and I have learned to embrace my tight bob with ends that shoot out in every direction. Every day after that, I wrestle with taming my curls, and attempting to prevent product build up, while still keeping my hair as moisturized as possible. On the days leading up to a wash, I tend to let my hair do a free for all until it’s too unruly… wash…and repeat.

One of the biggest takeaways from what feels like my constant and never-ending struggle is that sometimes, you’ve got to learn for yourself. I still watch videos that don’t benefit me in the end, and I still waste money on products I’ll never use, but I found a rhythm for the time being that works for me. I’ve gone from having my mom braid my hair every night because I didn’t know what to do, to twisting and styling my own hair every night and looking good in the morning. Despite my frustration, I have never regretted the decision to start this journey, and I can’t wait to look back and laugh at my younger self because of how far I’ve come.

 

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My Hair Journey