Free your mind and free your hair.
Relaxed Hair – 2013
Looking back at this point in time, my hair was fried, I’ll be honest. The crazy thing is, I didn’t even know it back then. To me, this was getting closer to that ideal image of beautiful hair. I was blind to the fact I was destroying my hair to fit European beauty standards. With every pass of a flat-iron and damaging relaxer, I was demolishing my natural curl pattern and erasing genetic blessings. Not only was I disrupting the physical nature of my hair but the spiritual too; all of its essence and internal energy. Spending money to be like someone else while destroying myself, all to be apart of a beauty a standard. Becoming further distant from the true definition a beauty; loving myself and all that I come with.
As time passed, the curly hair trend began running it’s course. Celebrities like Christina Milian played as the pretty girl in movies; she was straight poppin’ in Love Don’t Cost a Thing. I saw the look wanted the same attention. So I hopped on the trend too (barely). I further began manipulating my strands to resemble other girls. I used flexi rods, curlers, and curling irons to achieve some sort of a curl pattern. Still blind to the beauty I had previously damaged.
Embracing My Own Beauty – 2014
If I could narrate my own journey I’d ask when was this girl going to stop ignoring her own beauty by manipulating her hair to look like someone else’s? I was doing the most to create a replica of a projected image, searching for visual appeal in everything outside of myself.
Similar to the Film Nappily Ever After with Saniyah Lathan, it took a salon disaster and all of my hair nearly falling out for me to start making a change in my perspective. After seeing the condition my hair had gotten to, I knew I could no longer use chemicals nor heat or my hair would never reach health. I decided to go natural.
The Transition – 2014/2015
When I first started my transition phase, I refused to do the big chop. For me I still wanted my hair to be somewhat nice looking, and because I was still swallowed up in conditioned ideas, I associate beautiful hair with length. So, I held on to my length during the beginning of my transition. I worked with two different hair patterns; my new growth and my dead ends. Due to this inconsistency in texture, there were only few hairstyle suitable; buns, braids, twist outs, and flexi rods.
Shoutout to natural hair gurus on YouTube and Pinterest because ya girl was lost. This was all so new to me, so, I dedicated my free time to watching tutorials of natural hair. Searching ways to make hair grow, tips for transitioning hair, products for natural hair, and tips for getting rid of a relaxer. At this point I wasn’t aware that the only way to get rid of dead hair was to cut it off! Still, I followed different regimens like oiling my scalp nightly, using natural hair products, and the inversion method. To my surprise, I began seeing growth!
How I Transitioned
- Oiling scalp nightly with castor oil and olive oil
- Using ONLY natural hair products (parabean free, alchohol free, sulfate free, natural ingredients etc.)
- Using protective styles (BUNS, braids, twist etc.)
- Drinking a TON of water
- Taking vitamins
- HYDRATING then MOISTURIZING (hydrating is using water or water based product; moisturizing is sealing the hydration in with an oil or butter)
- Satin scarf /satin pillow case while sleeping
- Deep conditioning once a week
- Continuing to learn about natural hair
The BIG CHOP – 2015
After my new growth reach a desirable length I decided to let those dead ends go. Not so much the big chop, but a medium chop. Which still took a lot of courage out of me. With new hair came a new Tyler.
I like to refer to this time period as trial and error. My hair had been relaxed for the past 7 years, little did I know there was so much more to learn about natural hair. The thing is, everyone’s natural hair is completely different. What works for someone else, might be horrible for the next person. So, I sampled different regimens to figure out what would work best for me. I tried out deep conditioners, various combs/brushes, leave in conditioners, smoothies, gels, and oils. Then, I tried different techniques like finger detangling, shingling, air drying, and defusing. Not to mention, I had to figure out what order to perform these regimens and how often.
Bleach – 2016
My hair had grown tremendously in the past year and I was so content with how well I was taking care of it.
Then, college happened.
Seeking attention from the wrong crowd; I searched for a way to stand out and feel as though I existed. My hair seemed so plain and well.. natural. So, I went for something to make me pop out a little more; purple hair it was. I assumed my hair was healthy enough to withstand the change and proceeded with bleaching and dying my hair. Immediately after washing the dye out I noticed a difference. My hair was almost lifeless; lacking bounce with the texture of straw.
As time went on, I nourished my hair to as much strength as I could with frequent hot oil treatments and deep conditions. For a while, I was happy with my looser curl pattern; it was longer and looked more “mixed”. Sort of like the idea I was going for when I first desired curly hair. I still wasn’t understanding the concept of going natural. It wasn’t just about having curly hair, but having NATURAL hair. Accepting and loving the hair that natural grows from the roots of my head.
Cut it – 2017
Because I was still trying to manipulate my hair to look and be like someone else’s, I had to start over. My curls no longer bounced back when I brushed them and my ends were bone straight when wet. I realized the bleach was still considered a chemical that damaged the natural curl pattern of my hair. The purple had to GO.
After the cut, there was a freeness unleashed. Letting go of those dead ends symbolized me letting go of old parts of myself. Releasing old beliefs and ideas about my hair. Those heavy and brittle strands on the end were old energy no longer serving me. Only weighing down my crown; preventing transition and growth. If a flower didn’t let old petals fall, it would never grow newer and healthier ones. It was time to start fresh and welcome a new me on this journey again.
Maintaining Healthy Hair- 2018
After two rounds of damaging my hair I finally understood and applied the true concept of natural hair to my life. I learned more about my hair including: its history, the curl pattern, and the porosity. I began admiring details; the way each curl created a spiral pattern as it grew, resembling the curvy essence of femininity. I honored the dedication of taking care of it, knowing that the most sacred things in life are cared for. I began to fall in love with my luscious strands. I understood the history, the meaning, the time, and energy it needed. I loved it and it loved me back.
I researched continuously; on the way finding out my ancestors used gifts from the earth to charge their crown. Which then resulted in long and beautiful hair. I gained an understanding of what my hair liked and my hair needed; trying some amazing products along the way. In this year I even cut my hair again, not because of health concerns but because it’s a symbolic release of energy.
Loving Natural Hair – Present
Natural hair is not just wanting bouncy curls, or an afro, and any other form of vanity. Natural is hair is more than what’s on the outside, its’ whats on the inside. My natural hair journey was apart of my journey of self-love. In fact, it was the first step in my journey. Going and staying natural was the first step in loving my true self. This step lead to a lifelong journey of continuously finding love deeper within myself. Becoming and sharing my authenticity with the world. Despite how long it took for me to get there, I finally stopped comparing my hair and my entire essence to others. I began loving myself as is. Then, understanding the power of my own self love; the power behind the perception we have of ourselves.
It helped to compare my hair to a plant. When it is not rooted, watered, nourished from the inside out, and loved, it does not grow. Just like plants, we are ( including our hair) made from tiny cells which are each living organisms. Those cells listen, they feel, and condition themselves to perform according to what we feed them and the mind which controls them. When you speak kind words to plants, they grow faster. Our hair is the same; when we brush our hair speaking or even thinking thoughts of it being annoying or ugly, desiring to change its nature, and not appreciating the beauty its expressing to us, the cells are listening and conforming to match the energy of our thoughts. When we feed those cells abundant life force energy from within our vessel, they thrive. Ultimately having a HEALTHY head of hair, whether that be short or long, all boils down to maintaining a healthy physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional energy. Our hair is an outward reflection of our internal growth. Meaning healthy natural hair is more of a lifestyle than a quick fix. #naturalisthewaytoglow
Make your hair routine a sacred ritual. A time for showing yourself love and care. A time for infusing gratitude and high vibrations into your crown. Begin admiring the creative detail. Speak kind words to your hair; tell it you you appreciate it, and you accept it. Feed it healing foods from within, drink your water, and LOVE YOUR HAIR UNCONDITIONALLY. Then, watch your hair thrive into the beautiful plant it is.
My hair type: 3C, 4A
Routine: pre-poo with oil, shampoo, condition, detangle, deep condition (1 hour with heat), apply a butter and/or gel, apply a light oil to seal, and air dry. Repeat 1X per week and oil scalp 5-7X per week.
- Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave in Contioner
- Carols’s Daughter Coco Cream Coil Enhancing Moisture Butter
- Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Leave in Conditioner
- Shea Moisture Manuka Honey Masque
- Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
- Shea Moisture Super Fruit Complex (THE WHOLE LINE)
- Maui Moisture Coconut Oil Curl Quench Smoothie
- Shea Moisture Amla Oil
Favorite Natural Plants/Seeds for DIY Products
- Raw Unfiltered Honey
- Aloe Vera Plant
- Flax Seed Gel
- Fenugreek Spray
- Almond oil
- Almla Oil
- Olive oil
- Shea Butter
- Mango Butter
- Argan Oil
- Jamican black Castor Oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
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Nala Asa Shakur
Tyler A. Norman who now goes by Nala Asa Shakur is the CEO of The All Natural as well as the author of Love Starts Here. She’s a multifaceted creator & healer serving through various forms of artistry. Her ways of expression range from being an author, philosopher, model, holistic health guide, creative director, to a Kitchen alchemist . Through her work and her movement, #Naturalisthewaytoglow™, she inspires and assist others with personal growth, self-love, holistic healing, and finding an inner glow.
4 thoughts on “My Natural Hair Journey | 7 Years of Relaxers to Long Healthy Natural Hair”
Loved this! Go girl!😘
Thank you so much!
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