(First published circa 2014)
I first ‘went natural’ when I was in my late twenties. I wanted a change after a relationship break-up. I wanted to be invisible to men. Perhaps, cutting of my hair and wearing an afro would do the trick. NO, I’m not being ‘full of myself’ it’s just the way of things in Trinidad, I think anyway. I’m sure it’s not all men, but men in the Trinidad generally like women with long hair and so called ‘good hair’ at that. I’m guessing it’s down to our slavery and colonial past. At any rate, I wanted to be free. Imagine my surprise when I looked cute with my TWA! Back then, I looked after myself living the single life. Bags packed and armed with my texturizer kit, I arrived in Heathrow in 2001.
My hair grew quickly so I began to use my texturizer sparingly because I had no idea was I was doing. There wasn’t a barber for Afro hair in the village or town centre of Cambridge. At least, I didn’t know of any and there was no one to advise me otherwise. It wasn’t until I moved to London 10 months later, that I had my first relaxer, in West London salon… I still wrapped my hair at night though!
By the time, I moved into my second flat share in the summer of 2003, one of my flatmates had referred me to her hairdresser.
I didn’t look back from my creamy crack addiction untill 2010, when I decided I wanted to become a mum. I transitioned for about three months but then I did a DIY Big Chop(BC). I had been feasting on YouTube videos… Not for the faint-hearted, I might add. I wouldn’t recommend a DIY BC, unless you have a hairdresser on speed dial. Thankfully my dear friend Chelsea rescued my botch job and I’ve not looked back since.
Back to Natural
I’ve been natural for over three years and primarily taken care of my hair. My own hairdresser is a bit far, since we relocated last summer. I tried the local hairdresser and had bad experiences. My hair was badly handled and I left with my hair looking worse than if I’d styled it myself. When I returned home hubby to asked, ‘How much did you pay for that?’ No it’s not fun and it’s not pretty when a hair dresser gets it wrong! It has to be said that are not enough hairdressers who know how to take care of natural Afro hair, in London.
Although many ladies opt to chemically process their hair in Trinidad, chances are there will always be someone who can braid, cornrow and style natural hair. For me, that someone is my mum. Thankfully, due to YouTube and natural hair bloggers I don’t feel all alone in the wilderness any more.
My hairstory has taken a turn for the better. Bloggers keep doing your do! I’d love to hear from naturalistas who have travelled or relocated? How did you maintain your hair? What has been your experience in finding a hairdresser and products that suit your hair needs?