Natural or Relaxed-that is the question. Many black women have struggled with this question for decades. This question evokes so many feelings – from guilt to pride to freedom to pride and everything else in between. Teronda Seymour reveals in Clutch magazine how going natural didn’t work out the way she thought it would and ruined her hair in the process.
I did something terribly wrong during my transition from relaxed to natural hair. Perhaps I omitted a few steps, mixed incorrect ingredients or screwed up a technique because my lush layers morphed into tangled tumbleweed and I lost nearly half of my hair within four months.
I got the bright idea to go natural so I could run, practice yoga and take swimming lessons without scrambling to restyle my hair afterward. I grew obsessed with the wild, coiled, spiky look. Never mind I hadn’t shampooed, rolled or flat ironed my own hair in over 12 years or I only had a mere two inches of new growth attached to inches of bone straightness. I could still achieve a full ‘fro with the right product, Nikki Walton’s “Better Than Good Hair” and step-by-step instructions on a few YouTube videos, right?
What I got most weeks was a stringy, sticky, greasy mess: a throwback to my third-grade self when I went through that ma-I-can-do-my-own-hair-because-I-am-too-old-for-ribbons-and-plaits phase. Only this time I was 38 not 8. The products that tamed my roots left the chemically-straightened part of my hair limp.
I tried to fluff it out one morning before a short road trip. My aunt’s boyfriend stopped mid-step and fell into a fit of laughter.
“You look like one of the Jackson 5,” he finally managed to say.
Attempts to use less curling soufflé resulted in a big frizzy pouf. I positioned my body face-forward, with no left or right turns, because my hair didn’t fall back into place as it once did. If I glanced down, my hair stuck straight out. I looked like I wore a bad wig. Or weave. In a mug shot.
My natural ‘do became the epitome of a natural don’t and I didn’t know how to fix it. My appearance definitely didn’t feel complete. How was I supposed to look cute with a jacked up head?
Read Teronda Seymore’s full story at Clutch magazine.