Six years ago today, I did The Big Chop and returned to my natural hair. I had talked about it and prepared friends and family for months, although they didnt think I was serious. #HumbleBrag, but I had beautiful locs.
At the salon where I had installed and maintained my locs for five years, they weren’t sure that I would go through with it either, until I grabbed the scissors and cut one loc off myself. They had to take over after that.
Still, I looked so different and suddenly felt unsure of myself. I had left my car at home because I didn’t know if I would be in an emotional state of mind to drive home. That was a good idea. I sat on the bus wondering what on earth I had done. I got home and still the feeling of dread continued. I felt sick to my stomach and yet I had been so confident all along. I’m not sure what it was, but I hadn’t had hair that short for about twenty years. I looked like a little boy.
I called my sister who came over. I don’t know what she was thinking but she saw me and smiled encouragingly as she walked towards me. “I love it”, she said. “Really?”, I asked tremulously. She nodded, reassured me and said some nice soothing words. I hesitantly let out some of the breath I was holding.
Maybe it wasn’t so bad I thought? Besides, I had made such a big deal about cutting my five year old locs and going natural that I couldn’t back down now. I had no choice but to own it until I believed it myself. And so I did just that.
Back then, the only preparation and information I had about living with natural hair was a book I had come across at a friend’s house called Going Natural. In fact, I didnt even know that the locs I had just cut off meant that I had actually already been natural for five years. It’s only that now I had loose natural hair.
I hadn’t even discovered the online natural hair community yet. I did soon afterwards and what I found (and didn’t find there), is what led me to start blogging and documenting my own natural hair journey in order to share what I was learning with others who lived outside of North America and in Zambia and continental Africa in particular. I called the blog Zed-Hair. I wrote one post in August 2010 and then couldn’t think of anything else to say, even though I had called it Where My Natural Hair Journey Begins – Part ONE.
By January 2011, I had applied myself to learning more, had sorted myself out with a friend to help me blog and dropped the hyphen in the blog’s name so it was just simply ZedHair.
And now here we are, six years on from the day when it all started.
You’re such an inspiration Masuka…love love love this!!! Keep rocking that natural hair!!
Awww! Thank you Mulenga. Mwah! Rock on!
Awesome hair journey. Thank you for sharing Masuka.
I was natural from 1996 to 2006. Then I chemically treated my hair until 2009. I went back to natural in 2009 and I’ve been natural ever since. However, in all the time I was natural I did not understand or care for my hair properly until last year.
I decided to take better care of my hair in terms of treatment and products and so I cut it all off – bald – and I started from scratch.
Prior to 2014, with my natural hair, I used to blow dry it a lot, and at the highest setting. As a result, I had dry damaged hair. As if blow drying regularly wasn’t bad enough, I used petroleum jelly/Vaseline for my scalp and nothing on my hair and I used shampoos off the shelf without verifying the ingredients and whether they were good for my hair.
Last year I decided to do better (hence the shave and start from scratch). I try to shampoo only with Bicarbonate Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar.
I’m currently using Olive oil and Jamaican Black Castor oil for my scalp and hair. I avoid blow drying or any form of heat as much as I can. I’ve done a blow dry only three times this year and I plan on reducing that to nil.
I also read up more on natural hair and inform myself about natural hair in order to better care for my hair, for example, I’ve brushed up on protective styling, satin head covers or satin pillows and moisturizing my hair.
My greatest drawback with my hair used to be that I did not know or understand my hair and therefore I failed at caring for it.
Currently, my hair is the healthiest it has ever been (chemically straightened or natural). I’m still on this marvelous hair journey and for the first time, I am enjoying it.
Thank you for your story and for this great platform that enables so many girls and women to read, brush up and find stories similar to theirs.
Cho, thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey with and the rest of the ZedHair community. If I could start over with what I know now, I would definitely take far better care of my hair and have more fun with it when it is shorter. It’s funny that starting ZedHair is what enabled me to learn and grow so much faster. And it’s meeting other naturals in person and seeing the pictures they share that has given me the confidence and skill to style my own hair. We are most definitely on this journey together and learning from one another as we go.