In 2016, I made the horrible decision of bleaching my hair. Yes, you read that right- bleach. I have a history of being impulsive when it comes to coloring my hair so when May 2015 came along, I went for it. My hair was black with blonde highlights and I was itching to go honey brown. Of course, I had to use bleach to obtain this color which I later regretted deeply. I have a bad past with bleach so I don’t know why I went back. I still won’t be able to tell you why I made such a stupid decision.
After rinsing off the color that same day, I looked in the mirror and the feelings of disappointment began to arise. My curl texture was no longer the same and the definition just wasn’t there anymore. I hoped that this was just a post-dying-your-hair-stage, but it wasn’t. When I washed my hair again, my curls fell flat. Flat, I tell you! They low-key started to look like beach waves gone wrong and my ends looked crazy. I even purchased DevaCurl products in hopes of curl restoration and still no results. I even tried using my diffuser to add volume to my curls to no avail.
That’s when I realized how badly I messed up.
That’s not where the story ends- a month later, my mom dyed her hair a plum red and I took a heavy liking to the color. Guess what I did a few days later?
You guessed it.
If you know one thing about chemically processing your hair, you know that red is one of the hardest colors to strip. Being that my curls were already a disaster, I took them as they were and chose to simply keep coloring my hair and straighten it all the time. Two months later, I got tired of the red and went back to black.
Although my hair’s texture improved a little, the curls were still not active. I discovered this new thing (to me) called bantu knots. I watched various YouTube tutorials and I even had my mom do them for me a few times. Sure, they made my hair “curly” but it was definitely a hit or miss. Some nights I would knot my hair in bigger sections and wake up with a full, beach-wave look. Cool. It didn’t look like my regular curly hair, though. I forgot to mention that it would take me about 45 minutes just to knot my hair. (No I’m not a perfectionist, but yes I am a Virgo.) On a bad day, I would wake up, unknot my hair and it goes completely flat. And if it doesn’t go flat in the morning, it will definitely go flat by noon. This is not the life I wanted…I just wanted my curls back.
In the midst of all the new things I was trying in order to restore my curl pattern, I was cutting my ends as my hair grew. I did this because I was able to cut off all the dead hair which allowed my freshly grown virgin hair to see the light.
By this time, a year and four months had passed by and I only had centimeters left of damaged hair. I thought to myself I might as well just do a “big chop” and cut off the remnants once and for all. And so I did. After such a long time of being depressed over the condition of my hair, I couldn’t believe I finally got to this point again.
The journey was long, but I was relieved to see that it actually was shorter than I expected.
Now, I literally sport my curls every single day and I will never make the dumb mistake of unsafely bleaching my hair again. Through my process, I experimented with many different products without knowing their exact use and that’s what brought me to where I stand today with my curly hair knowledge. I believed anything that had “coconut” labeled on it was meant for my hair. Although most of the products I use contain the ingredient, it’s a must to watch out for products with sulfate which can cause dry and brittle hair.
It is rather easy to become exhausted with the transition process but if your goal is to achieve healthy, natural curls, it’s a challenge I recommend many take. There is nothing more liberating than washing your hair and appreciating its beauty in its natural form. Many hate the “big chop” phase because their hair is short, but it’s the phase where you find your hair’s identity and begin to plan for what’s next to come. I never plan on straightening my hair for a living nor indulging in unsafe practices on it and ruin it. My curls became my identity and I plan to keep it that way for a very long time.