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Wasteland: A First Look

How I decided to stop using relaxers and embrace my natural hair

In 2009, after a long 13-years of regularly relaxing (using chemicals to straighten) my hair, I decided to return to the curls of my childhood. I’d decided to go natural.

It wasn’t a quick decision, because as natural girls know, there are many ways to take the leap and transition from relaxed hair to natural hair. There’s the “big chop,” aka cutting it all off; new-growthing (letting the curly roots grow in); protective styles (braids and extensions), and so on.

A few key factors led to my decision: For starters, I hated what my hair looked like straightened. It was uneven, limp, and unimproved by different cuts and colors. It was always just a greasy disaster laying on top of my too-large head.

Additionally, I had to take a swimming class my final semester in college, so I needed a braided style to protect all of the fragile, relaxed hair from falling out right there in the chlorinated pool.

And finally, a friend of mine returned from her study-abroad trip a new woman. She’d gone from the same lifeless strands I possessed to a full curly mane in just a year. When I asked how she did it (and if that really was her real hair…), she informed me that she just decided one day to stop relaxing it and it blossomed into a beautiful ‘fro for her.

It’s been almost 6 years since I gave up the creamy-crack lifestyle, and I have exactly zero regrets. My hair is big enough for my head now, and my curls fit my personality far more than my old stringy mess ever did.

I love my big hair! I have no idea who I’d be without it.

That’s part of the reason we’re starting the The Curls Room, a new video series all about natural hair. We’ll be asking people about their journey to hair acceptance — from big chop to wash day — as well as testing products and techniques. If you’ve got curly hair, we want to talk about it! What’s working for you? What tips do you need?

All this and more will be covered on The Curls Room. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

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