I AM NOT MY HAIR

If I were to go through every story and experience I’ve had with my hair up to this point in my life, I’d end up with a book of some sorts. Perhaps I’d name it something corny like “HairVentures” or “The Hairstory of Kayla” – regardless, it would be filled with great stories, funny stories and even stories that brought tears to my eyes.

Like any other mixed/black girl around the world, I grew up feeling that the hair on my head didn’t meet certain standards.  I’m not sure where I got this idea as a child; some might argue that I wanted to look more like the infamous 'Barbie', which was not the case, others might think that the media had something to do with it? WRONG! Some might even go the extra mile and make it a racial issue... Not quite. Perhaps it had something to do with the community I grew up in and how adults, yes ADULTS would constantly comment and suggest how my mother should style my hair. So naturally as a child, when it came to my hair, the confidence I have today wasn’t always there.

Forgive me if I’m wrong but my perception of “perfect” hair did not come about because I wanted to be white or look white or because I thought that being classified as white automatically increased my ranking in life. My perception of hair came from other black people, people close to me, people who looked just like me; what these people thought about me carried weight.  So naturally I grew up under the influence of “Creamy Crack” – for those who are unfamiliar with the phrase, I’m referring to Relaxers. Sunday nights were filled with the agonizing pain of having to style your hair for the school week and every 6 – 8 weeks you would need your next fix of Creamy Crack to touch up those roots. When I got old enough I even started doing it myself – throw a hair straightener into the mix and overnight I became my own hair expert.

At the age of 19 after enjoying a pixie cut for about 3 years, which I convinced myself was my preferred hairstyle, I began questioning everything I knew about my hair. One night while doing a routine hair wash, I was stunned at the amount of hair on my shower floor; so much that I began crying; I consider this moment to be my breaking point and for the first time I decided to do research on how to care for my hair. I was inundated with blogs on both natural and relaxed hair. Initially my goal was to save what was left of my relaxed hair but a year into I decided to return to my natural hair. I experimented with braids and weaves to prevent myself from relapsing (see what I did there?), slowing trimming my hair in between styles.

My journey to natural hair hasn't been an easy one; I've been on the verge of quitting many times. The fact that I never knew what my natural hair looked like as a child is what keeps me going. I often get stares from people when I wear my fro, as if I'm an endangered species. One would think that there's a natural girl around every corner since this is Africa after all; the home of kinks, coils and curls. My main objective is to show women that any style can be beautiful, elegant and fashionable.

What’s your hair story?

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Never allow the opinion of others to define you.
Natural hair is whatever I define it to be.
I didn’t go natural, I decided to cherish what I’ve been given.
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My hair doesn’t need to be fixed. Society’s narrow minded view of beauty is broken.
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About my Faux Locs

I got my hair styled at Candi & Co, you can find out more about them here. The experience is similar to box braids but the process takes much longer. The hair is twisted over 100 times from root to tip depending on the length. I only felt the pain once my hair was complete done, the actual hair is not very tight, it's more due to the scalp being pulled in different directions. I ensured that the stylist does not pull the front and sides of my hair too tight.

I slept with a plastic shower cap and a scarf tied over it to help relieve the pain; this method worked really well. I will continue sleeping like this in order to keep my hair moisturised. Natural hair forums refer to this as the Green House Effect, read more about it here

Share you thoughts on my new look in the comment section below.