Making the choice to go natural wouldn’t seem like a business question to some, but it was for me and many African American women. Even working in the “lifestyle” space, I know that wearing my hair in certain styles may put me in at a disadvantage for job opportunities and with certain clients. For most of my life this really hasn’t been a problem, because my hair has been “bone-straight” relaxed for as long as I can remember.
I was so young when I was given my first relaxer that I don’t think I even knew how to read yet. Even the occasion photo that you will find of adolescent me, running around in braids masks the fact that my hair was chemically treated first to make “styling my hair easier.” There are no wild-child hair photos, because my family and guardians nipped that in the butt before it ever became a “problem.”
I’d be lying if I said, I didn’t like my hair straight. Quite honestly, I grown fond of how my hair falls perfectly around my face after a relaxer and wash and set. And, my bi-monthly maintenance (twice a month, not every two months) salon trip have become a ritualistic expense for me. If I miss my salon visit by even a day, my entire schedule feels thrown off. But something has shifted in me as I have gotten older.
Perhaps it is confidence I now feel in my business expertise and so I don’t worry nearly as much as I did when I was younger about not being able to find companies and clients that won’t judge me on face, or should I say hair, value. Maybe it’s watching my friends bring the next generation of girls into the world and wanting to build an environment for them where they are always accepted for who they are not who society says they should be. Or maybe it is the realization, that for all that I have accomplished in my life, I have never seen the complete me looking back at me in the mirror.
When I was just starting out in my career, I foolishly thought that I needed compartmentalize my life to be successful. But, what I have discovered over the years is it is nearly impossible to achieve what you want out of life keeping a part of yourself hidden. And, that extends to my hair as well.
So, about five months ago I quietly “forgot” to get my scheduled relaxer and am currently 8 months into my natural transition. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell yet, because I’ve been rocking my summer extensions (yup that luscious length is a weave), but I’ve been experimenting with twist-outs, updos, braided buns and pinups for months. I’m getting good with my at-home styling, but I can’t take all the credit.
Thanks to bloggers like Afrobella and natural hair YouTube vloggers like Naptural85 (my virtual BFF), I have step by step visuals to make styling my hair fun and easy. And, thanks to curl-expert companies like Ouidad, I’m able to get the education and products I need for to make my natural hair transition seamless.
Ouidad even invited me to take part in their #ExpressNeverSuppress curls photoshoot during New York Fashion week and I had a blast rocking my curls. They are all about teaching women how to understand their natural curl type (mine is tight) and providing tools and products to help women love their curls. The event was right on time for me as I want to start rocking more natural styles more often.
As, I work up to my big chop (T minus 14 months and counting) – the point in which I permanently cut my old relaxed strands from my natural new growth – I feel good knowing that I’m not hiding any part of who I am and bringing all of me to everything I do.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress;).
– à bientôt
Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress
Disclosure: Although this post is sponsored, all opinions and witty statements are my own:).