For me, at times, this is more than just “hair”. It’s about accepting yourself, and finding YOUR individual natural beauty. In today’s society, we’re so distracted by what we see in media.
I work with children who have special needs. It is such a rewarding job, and I’m learning new things everyday. Sometimes we get caught in the “rat race” of NY and are so disconnected from life. With this job, I feel more connected to life. It’s part of helping the upcoming generations live this life with confidence and more knowledge. I also do photography and dabbing into videography. To be able to capture a moment, a sound, movement, inspiration, and life is something that makes my heart race. My dad was always “the photographer” in the family. It’s part of my inspiration to take this journey on. I love to look back and say “remember that” and share with my children my journeys in the future. My primary job is being a student of life, and learning and embracing this journey, in everything I’m doing.
About 2 1/2 years ago, I decided to start a journey to find myself, my authentic self. My style, interest, goals, and point of views on life all started to shift. I started to do things more simpler. This sparked an interest in my appearance, and thought “how can I look more natural”. I remember when I was younger and my hair was full, thick and so curly. I love curly hair and twisting my curls in-between my fingers since I can remember. I decided right then and there at the end of December 2013 to go all natural. I wantedto feel beauty and contentment with how I naturally looked. I wanted to have the feeling and show confidence with curly hair like I had with my relaxed hair. Things were going good. When I saw my natural hair growing out, thicker and fuller, I could start to see the difference on where my hair was relaxed. The bottom pieces were so straight, and it started to bother me. I let my hair grown out a bit more and did the “big chop” in January 2015. What a liberating experience. It took me sometime to get use to short hair it was the shortest it’s ever been.
A lot of times people are turned off because they say “maintaining natural hair” is a lot of work. It’s definitely a journey, but in my personal experience I spend less time & money on it compared to the upkeep my relaxed hair needed. We all have busy schedules, but what works for me is what I put in when my hair is wet. That’s the golden time to lock in shine and moisture. I wash my hair about two times a week. In the shower I use a co-wash from Cantu, and finger comb my hair. I find my curls are more defined when I finger comb. When I come out of the shower, I leave a little conditioner in (Mane N’ Tail Deep Conditioner). Next I put in an oil of my choice, mostly coconut organic cold pressed, and make sure I have it evenly coated from root to tips. I like to take Eco gel or a gel soufflé with a little water and crunch it in my hair, then part it and lay my edges with some gel.
Hands down one of my favorite lines is Shea Moisture. Not only do they provide natural washing, conditioning, and styling hair products, but also soaps and lotions for your body. It’s a well-rounded company. I am LOVING the Coconut & Hibiscus hair cream and gel soufflé. It gives me the moisture that I need, while providing the shine, not to mention the awesome nutrition. ORX Organix brand also has great oils for the hair, giving my hair the bounce, shine and pick me up when needed.
Since my hair is not too long, my go to hairstyle is just parting it to one side. Sometimes I like to pick it up on one side with a bobby pin. I’m letting my hair grow out at least mid back, I love doing different hairstyles and braids. I’m also enjoying my hair every step of the way, and being in the moment. A lot of times we tend to not feel happy or cover our natural hair till we reach our desired length, but hey, embrace it now. It’s much more fun that way!
If I’m on the go, I let it air dry. If I have a little time I like to use a diffuser and dry my hair upside down. It’s great to get more volume. To up keep it through the week, I take a spray bottle with warm water and a bit of conditioner of my choice, and spray it all over. Then comb out where needed and touch up with some gel. Honestly, for any hair type, there are just those days you throw on a hat and go. Most of my prep happens in the shower or when I come out. It works for the length I have now, but I’m still learning new things on this journey as my hair grows. In addition, almost the most important, is how you eat/drink. I can’t tell you how dry my hair got, even when it was relaxed, when I didn’t drink enough water. WATER and GOOD nutrition is essential for hair & skin, and over all health.
I’ve had so many ups and downs, because I was learning how to style, maintain, and feel beautiful with my natural hair. Honestly, the more time passes, it’s like a bond you build with your hair. You invest time into your health and making sure your using products that are safe. It gets better everyday. I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. I love the movement that is going on with natural hair. It’s about time we embrace beauty of hair in all different types of textures and styles.
I encourage everyone to go natural or to at least try it for a bit. When your natural hair grows out, you see the difference in thickness and strength. It makes you not want to go back. For me, at times, this is more than just “hair”. It’s about accepting yourself, and finding YOUR individual natural beauty. In today’s society, we’re so distracted by what we see in media. Beautiful hair or beauty in media was generally about changing what you look like and “smoothing” your hair texture to become this “ideal” beauty. There is nothing wrong with wanting straight hair, but when big, curly, thick, coarse type hair is put down because it’s not professional or “done”, that’s not okay.
We must remember that is is called a journey for a reason, what works for one, may not be for all. But that’s the beauty, hair and all of us, come in different shape and sizes.
Photography by Thalia Urraca