My natural hair journey: Growing fine type 4 natural hair

Welcome to this blog post on my natural hair journey and the lessons I have learned so far.

In 2015, after a very bad relaxer that left me almost bald, I decided to go natural. But I was really reluctant to do it. So, I binge-watched a lot of YouTube videos and finally upon the insistence of my husband to stop using chemicals, I dropped the creamy crack. Back then I didn’t know what it meant to transition, but I surely did and it was so painful especially with the detangling session.

I didn’t have enough knowledge on what products to use to detangle my hair and I didn’t have the patience either. I had to pull my hair like I was pulling pieces of cotton! So one Saturday morning in the summer, I grabbed my pair of scissors and chopped the relaxed end off.

Part 1

After the big chop

I was left with 2 inches of hair. At this point I didn’t know how to moisturize or style my hair or what products to use. So I ordered my first natural hair products online and was so excited to try them! I bought the Cantu leave-in conditioner cream and the Cantu Define and Shine custard, which left me with a lot of flakes in my hair and a huge disappointment.

During the week, I went to an African shop in the city center of Stockholm and got the World of Curls curl activator gel to do a wash and go that I was pretty sure would leave my coils defined, moisturized and shiny. But I ended up with a bad allergic reaction to the product with an itchy scalp and burning eyes. I had this feeling of creatures creeping on my scalp. I had to wash my hair the following day and got a new gel which has become my go-to gel.

Styling my natural

During the course of my natural journey I have tried about 60 products including shampoo, conditioners, deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners and styling creams/gels (I was a product junkie!). Many of them left me disappointed, too much fragrance, my curls were dry and barely defined. Some products left my hair with a tacky feeling and product build-up. I found it difficult to get the right product to define my hair, since I was after curl definition.

I didn’t know that my natural hair needed to go through the learning phase, acceptance phase and the less-is-more phase. 

When after 4 years + of being natural, I found the few products that my hair liked, I had an AHA moment.

Part 2

What I learnt about my natural hair 

All head of curls are not the same. I needed to embrace my curl pattern( a mixture of 4b and 4C). My hair is fine with a low-medium density which means that it cannot do most of the styles I see my favorite YouTubers rock. The only way I can get some volume is to blow-dry my hair or to style my hair using African threading. 

I have learned that I needed to embrace my shrinkage. As painful as it is, this is the hard truth. Accepting my shrinkage is a work in progress, but I will eventually get there (laughter).

My hair tangles and knots easily. So, styling my hair wet contributes to more tangles and knots and the styles don’t come out pretty. I have high porosity natural hair which means that it dries quickly and retaining moisture can be difficult. But I have finally learned what products work for my hair.

I live in a country where winters are dry, extremely cold and windy and I keep my hair in protective styles most of the winter season. As a 4c natural, protective styles are our best friend. This is because 4C hair has a mind of its own and likes to be left alone. It can cooperate with you today but not tomorrow. Can you relate to the picture below?

Sometimes I feel like my hair doesn’t grow but with shrinkage it is not easy to see your hair length. Natural hair does grow but retaining length can be difficult. I have scalp issues so my hair is not at the length I want it to be.

Part 3

Setbacks in my natural hair journey

In 2017, after the birth of my son, I realized that my edges were thinning and I thought it was normal with postpartum shedding. But it was getting worse. It took me two years to realize that these thinning edges will take a good amount of time to come back. I also did a lot of research on the issue and discovered that iron deficiency anemia is too often the culprit in hair loss and hair thinning. So I decided to up my iron intake last year and added other vitamins like vitamin D and B-complex and zinc. I am still dealing with thinning edges and bald spots and how I am treating this issue deserves another blog post on its own. My hair has been in protective styles throughout 2020 mostly to grow my hair and my edges.

My hair was in protective styles throughout 2020. I am wearing clip-ins in this photo.

Part 4

Why I turned to Ayurvedic herbs

In 2018, I stumbled upon a Youtube video by Curly Proverbz who praised the benefits of Ayurvedic herbs and how it has helped her achieve long and healthy natural hair.  I was hooked!

Few weeks later, I purchased some natural herbs online from an Indian shop. I also went to a physical shop in the heart of Stockholm to purchase some herbs to create my own herbal tea rinses and herbal infused oils.

Since I was experiencing hair loss and thinning edges I decided to apply  Curly Proverbz recommendations to my hair care regimen. You can check her Youtube channel here. However, I was not consistent with the Ayurvedic treatment until the beginning of 2020. 

After consistently using my Fenugreek and Amla deep conditioner, my hair is getting thicker and even darker, but I still have some gray hair though.

I must say that Ayurvedic recipes have sparked my passion for homemade hair care and skincare products. You can control the ingredients that go in as well as the fragrance.

When it comes to Ayurvedic treatment, the results are not immediate but consistent use will get you the expected results.

I will be sharing with you soon my ayurvedic hair care regimen.

My Final thoughts

My natural hair journey has not been an easy one. It has been filled with frustrations, disappointments, trial and error, but the learning curve surpasses it all. However, I did not allow the misconceptions and false assumptions to deter me from rocking my kinks. If you have started your natural hair journey or are in the middle of it, don’t tell yourself that natural hair is too difficult to maintain. Take the time to learn about your hair, the products that work for you and carve a regimen and be consistent. If you need a simple hair regimen to use, you can download one here.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you need help in your natural hair journey.

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