Long Stretch

Long Stretch

The relaxer status on the bottom of this page is no joke.  I’m just around 29 weeks post.  Yes, you read right.  I have not relaxed since the wedding!

Your first thought might be that I’m going natural, after all that would be ‘the’ logical explanation as to why I’m subjecting myself to such a ridiculously long stretch, but the reality is that the idea of going natural is still very much in its infancy for me and until I’ve made my final decision this is a looong stretch.

Last year amidst all the wedding preparations, sometimes in the odd tranquil moment I would reflect and think to myself that it would be nice to have natural hair again.  Not only would I be able to avoid time-consuming salon visits but I could save considerably in the process – you see Black hair care ent cheap when you’re the minority.  Relaxing one or two time per year could surely save me a load of money. Right?  Well…not necessarily.  After investigating some salons specializing in “curly hair” here in Toronto, it’s very apparent that natural haircare when done by a professional is just as, if not even more expensive than relaxed hair care. I’m sure that there are salons out there that are cheaper but either I don’t know of them; they are too far away to be a reasonable choice of salon or they don’t live up to my standards when it comes to a salon I’m willing to patronize.

The more I think about it though, the scarier the thought becomes.  It’s been some 21 years since I was last natural and Lord knows that the most I remember about being natural were the horrible wash days and the even more horrific pony tails that stuck out at the sides of my head.  Oh, let’s not forget the searing hot comb and the telltale burns on my ears from having a “press”.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m suffering from a serious case of xenophobia because in reality I would have to re-learn just about everything about my hair – What is my natural texture? What products will work for me? Will I enjoy having natural hair? Will it be a good fit for me? Most importantly who will plait, twist, braid and roll my hair into those beautiful styles that make having natural hair so worthwhile, because it certainly won’t be me!!??

If it were left to my girlfriend and sister-in-law I would have been natural a long time ago, but luckily I’m the only one in control of the hair on my head and if I do make that decision, it will solely be on my terms – not anyone else’s – after all I’ll be the one tasked with taking care of it.  Luckily my husband will support me whichever way I decide to go.  He is quite eager to see me natural but if I decided not to be natural he would still support my decision.

Rather than an outright decision, this stretch is an exploration. A chance for me to try something different; a chance to push my limits and see just how long I really can go without a relaxer; an opportunity to re-experience my natural texture and a chance for me to really decide in my heart of hearts if this is something I could see myself doing. All without any commitment.

I’ve said all that to say that in my quest to find those answers, I have tried numerous styles. For the last 3 weeks I have been wearing cornrows (the end of this week makes 4 weeks).  I added extensions so that the style would last longer as my natural hair fuzzes quite quickly on it’s own. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit how much I’m loving the low maintenance of these cornrows.  I wash once or twice weekly and just leave to air dry.  Each night I put on a wig cap and a satin bonnet to preserve the style.  On mornings I simply remove the cap and bonnet and go.  For moisture, I spritz with Better Braids Medicated Braid Spray and for the itchies I’ve been using Nizoral and Stoppit shampoos which have worked very well so far. I love it!

Here are just a few pics of my cornrows.

If you’ve ever struggled with the decision of whether to go from relaxed to natural or natural to relaxed I’d be happy to hear your thought process and your ultimate decision.

Author: DHO

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