The Birth of I Love Natural Hair, pt 1

By Carriene founder of ilovenaturalhair.com

On the 16th September 2010, I decided to go ‘natural’. It has been just over a year since I took this journey and it still feels very surreal. I say surreal because those that know me know that going natural was something I swore I would never do.

I remember as a child wishing for straighter, more European hair. I believed, as many of my peers did, that it would be easier to manage and aesthetically more pleasing to the eye. Managing my natural hair was always a challenge for me and I didn’t like to deal with it or look at it. My hair represented something very negative to me. It was dry, unmanageable and as far as I was concerned ‘it didn’t suit me’. It seems silly to even hear me say my hair doesn’t suit me, as how can something that grows naturally from my body not suit me?!

 I received my first chemical curly perm at 12. It was at this point that the cycle of chemically processing my hair; suffering severe breakage; putting pick and drop hair extensions in;then relaxing my hair again, once a small amount of growth was attained, continued throughout my teenage years.

As time passed, and the cycle continued, pick and drop extensions didn’t seem so popular and more and more celeb's and my friends were wearing weaves. It was at this point that I also wanted to try wearing one too.

The first ever weave I had, went terribly wrong. I looked like ‘Cousin IT’ from the Addams family. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was devastated. After that experience I vowed never to wear a weave again.

After many years of bad hair care practices, I found that the constant wearing of tight hair extensions and the chemical processing of my hair, caused severe dryness and my hair line started to show signs of stress which resulted in temporary alopecia.
Once again the thought of going natural loomed, but I hated my hair and I believed that it just was not a viable option for me.

Many chemical processes and pick and drop extensions later, I remember meeting up with a good friend and admiring her hair. She had a great weave. I recall complimenting her on it, but thinking to myself, that after my ‘Cousin It’ experience I would admire her hair from a far. Despite my resistance to weaves she convinced me to try this hairdresser, who worked magic on my hair and gave me the best weave ever. I was so happy with it. I felt relieved, as I thought this was the answer to all of my hair problems.

I attempted another weave with this hairdresser and it looked great. I wore many more weaves over the years. She even convinced me to try other things like hot ironing my hair and adding tracks. I loved it. I finally had the hair that I wanted and it looked good. Unfortunately even though my hair looked great it was becoming more and more damaged by the constant heat damage and my hairline became progressively worse. Due to my bad hair care regimen, my natural hair never grew past my shoulders and I believed, like many others that it was genetic and black women just didn’t have long hair unless they were mixed with something. It seemed the problems were never ending. I became desperate and needed a solution

At this point I was introduced by a friend to a community of naturals who promoted natural hair and gave out tons of advice. The only problem was, I didn’t believe that the advice they gave out would work for my hair, so again I avoided going down the natural route and continued on my journey to hair disaster.

As time went on, I became an avid subscriber to a natural guru by the name of Kimmay tube. It was this woman that played a significant role in my quest to understanding my hair and how it worked.  This is where my natural hair journey began. I studied Kimmay and her methods.
She has waist length hair and using great tutorial videos, photographs and scientific information she made it possible and believable for women like me to achieve the goal to have longer, healthier hair.

For the first time, I considered going natural.I began to read books on it and became a little obsessed actually. After much research and study I took the plunge. However In going down the natural route, I decided that if this transition went horribly wrong I would make sure my husband booked me on the first plane back to London, where I could go to the hairdresser and do what I always did, which was cover up my damaged hair up with a chemical relaxer or beautiful weave. As they say out of sight, out of mind.

The day finally came to loose out my extensions and I was faced with the reality of how damaged my hair was. It was horrific. My hairline was sparse. My hair was dirty and excessively dry. I took pictures of my hair to remind myself of where I was coming from. It wasn’t an easy journey and I got it wrong many times. It was very much trial and error. I also diarized my journey, which helped a lot.

Most importantly, on this journey I was faced with accepting myself for who I really was. No longer could I hide behind weaves and extensions, I was faced with my natural self and if i'm honest it was an uncomfortable process.

For a long time I felt ugly and didn’t think my natural hair suited me. I found myself apologizing to people for how my hair looked. I also struggled with styling. However with time and dedication and lots of encouragement from my husband, my hair texture started to change, my hair got longer and styling became easier. I even found that people complimented me more.

Before I knew it 1 year had passed and now I can’t imagine not being natural. It was a tough journey but a meaningful one. One that set me free from a negative bondage of self hate towards my hair. It was at that point that I decided that I wanted to help other women like me to love themselves and share the knowledge that I had acquired over a period of time. That’s when I Love Natural Hair was born.

I Love Natural Hair, is just the start, I want to encourage women everywhere regardless of culture, curl pattern or hair texture to love their hair and themselves, kinks curls coils and all.




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I Love Natual Hair!
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