For as long as I can remember, heat was always in my hair regimen. When my mother used to wash my hair in our kitchen sink, it was always followed by getting blown out and pressed with the hot comb. This was about every two weeks. I was natural until age 14, so my mom thought she really didn’t have any other alternatives, outside of a relaxer, to make my hair manageable, and heat got the job done.
At first, I really didn’t mind. I even would request that my mother flat ironed my hair or press it, because I needed it to be bone straight. This even went on to when I was old enough to do my own hair, and would go to the salon regularly.
Fast forward to today and I’m slowly approaching my 2-year natural anniversary. Part of the reason I decided to go natural was because of heat damage. When I was getting relaxers and weaves* I would have to constantly flat iron* the leave out, so when I took my sew ins out, you could clearly see the damage.
The leave out was dry, brittle, and broken off. I vowed to myself that I was not going to put heat on my hair as a natural, and as of today I can literally count on one hand how many times I’ve used a flat iron*, or blow dried my hair.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the naturals I know constantly straighten their hair and if it wasn’t for them telling me that they were natural, I would never know. In my opinion, that defeats the purpose of being natural if I wanted straight hair, I would continue to relax my curls.
When I did the big chop it was like a fresh start for me. I was doing to my hair what I wanted to do to it, not what my mom or anybody else wanted to do, and that meant no heat.
Even to this day, my mom will make side comments about how I should straighten my hair because it would be all the way down my back. She’s right, but I honestly prefer my curls. I’ve lived over half of my life with straight hair ‘down my back’, and now I’m just enjoying heat-free shrunken curls!