Last Updated on August 31, 2022 by Verna Meachum
It’s been a long journey, but my hair is finally healthy! I remember the day I decided to go natural. I had just lost my best friend and confidant, my mom. I felt so lost, alone, and numb.
Probably a week or so after mom had passed, I realized that I had a list of things I hadn’t done or accomplished in my life, and one of them was to embrace my natural curly hair.
I also came to understand that life is simply too short to waste any more time putting off what you know you should have completed a long time ago.
So I decided to begin my journey to healthy hair, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
In this blog post, I will share with you the steps that I took to transform my damaged hair into healthy curls.
Why had I put off embracing my natural curls?
There are many reasons why women choose to go natural, but for me it was mainly about taking control of the health of my hair.
I was tired of those lye relaxers that made my scalp burn and itch. I was also fed up with wearing clip-in hair extensions or putting my hair up in a bun for weeks at a time because I didn’t have the time to style it.
I was tired of my hair breaking and being damaged all the time. I tried so many things- from relaxers and bleach to flat irons and curling irons to Dominican blowouts and keratin treatments. My hair was constantly falling out, and I was close to going bald, that’s why I wore clip-in extensions.
Enough is Enough
I finally decided that enough was enough, so in May 2016 I decided that I needed to take my hair health into my own hands. I needed to do something for me, to make myself feel again.
I thought to myself, “There has to be a better way.” So, I went natural. I wanted to see what it would be like to have healthy, bouncy curls.
Giving up is not an option
I started my healthy hair journey by doing some research on the best methods for caring for natural hair.
My hair was severely damaged and honestly, I didn’t know if my hair even stood a chance. It seemed hopeless, but I wasn’t going to give up.
I put my mind in the right place and I thought to myself, “What if this works?”
My goal was simply to improve the condition of my hair. And, though I didn’t know it at the time, in regaining my own hair health, I would learn and gain a substantial amount of information about achieving healthy hair and be able to help others in their journey.
Your crowning glory
Taking care of your natural hair is a little more complicated than surfing the Internet for information.
In order to get the best results, you’ve got to be able trust the source and know that they have a good understanding of natural hair needs.
My goal as a natural hair blogger is to educate you about all there is to know about natural hair and feeling confident and beautiful when you do.
Your natural hair is one of your best assets; it’s your crowning glory.
My Texture Growing Up
It was ROUGH. My texture was thick, coarse, and kinky, so my Asian mother didn’t know how to properly care for it.
I dreaded wash day.
Memories of my childhood are crowded with episodes of my face grimacing under the wrath of the metal brush that my mother would energetically rake through my hair — as I gripped her legs for support.
Another time, I remember my mother inadvertently shattered the brush when attempting to detangle my hair.
I recall the day I got my first relaxer. It was like a rite of passage. My mom was happy and so was I. Wash days became much easier to manage and handle. However, this began the cycle of chemicals and damage.
I was desperate for answers on how to restore the health of my hair.
By 2015, I’d had enough. I never seemed to be able to grow my hair and I was always left with unhealthy results.
I was desperate for answers, so I began to do some research on how to restore the health of my hair.
That’s when I looked to YouTube and Instagram for assistance and discovered my lifetime heros in the curly hair community, @sunkissalba and @gigibolman.
I am forever indebted to them for helping me figure out how to care for my natural hair and have been so inspired by their stories that I decided to start my Instagram page.
In May of 2016, I began my healthy hair journey.
In the beginning, I was a little skeptical at first because I didn’t know if my hair stood a chance. It seemed hopeless.
I remember telling my stylist about the healthy hair journey I was about to undertake as I was sitting in her chair getting my last silk press done.
I told her I’d give the journey a six-month grace period and return to her if my hair didn’t improve.
What do you get when you mix a desire for healthy hair with the horror of damaged hair? A hot mess, that’s what.
Thankfully, there are ways to make the transition smoother – both mentally and physically.
You know how you’re always told that you should be mentally prepared for whatever challenge comes your way? Well, I never really took that advice to heart until I made the decision to go natural.
In case you’re curious, yes, I did experience plenty of mental anguish during those early stages of transition. But through it all, one thing kept me going: knowing that the end goal—a healthy head of natural hair—was worth all the trouble.
The first thing you’ll notice in your first few months of having healthy hair is thickness and shrinkage.
In most cases, changes in thickness usually precede visible changes in length. This increase in thickness is primarily due to restoration of the hair’s moisture balance.
During the first few months, I went through what I’ll call the “Awkward Phase.” In my head, my hair wasn’t coming out as I wanted it to. It wasn’t coming together fast enough for me.
At times I felt unmotivated, unattractive, discouraged and frustrated.
Our society places a premium on straight, flowing hair, and hair that does not fit that “mold” is often shunned and despised.
As superficial as it may appear, no one can deny that hair is important and its appearance is frequently the barometer by which we are judged and even valued in this society.
The beauty of our hair lies in its infinite variety, and this diversity and uniqueness should be recognized and embraced. This is how The Mestiza Muse tagline was born – Be beautiful. Be Natural. Be YOU!
In addition to the mental preparation, you’ll need a completely new set of styling skills, methods, and approaches to maintain your hair as it grows and transitions.
This means acquiring new information and learning how to care for your hair in a way that is best suited for its texture, health, and length.
Your hair will go through many different stages and you need to learn how to care for your hair during each stage.
You may have been use to a certain way of taking care of your hair so be prepared to do some tweaking and adjusting to support your hair.
When your hair is healthy and moisturized, it will be more elastic, which means you’ll be able to retain more length.
The products that worked for my relaxed hair didn’t work for my natural hair, so I had to learn how to mix and match products in order to find the right combination that worked for my hair.
I had to learn how to apply different techniques and styles that helped me retain moisture throughout the week.
I also started using protective styles to help my hair retain length and moisture.
You just need to be ready to accept a new way of doing things.
Let Your Hair Be Your Guide
In the fourth month of my natural hair journey, I did something insane. Because I had that “itch,” I decided to get color. Taking a huge chance knowing my hair was still in transition.
Thank God my hair didn’t fall out!
Knowing what I know now…I strongly advise waiting to have color done until your hair is in a healthy state.
Always use discretion when following techniques learned from others or wherever you receive your information.
Don’t let the vast amount of conflicting information deter you from doing what you’ve come here to do.
Let your hair be your guide—learn to listen to it. That is my HAIR MANTRA!
I’ve read a lot of fantastic hair advice from other bloggers, but keep in mind that your hair’s needs are frequently subject to change, and the only way to know for sure is to test different techniques and approaches on your own hair.
By 2017, my hair was completely restored and healthy!
However, in March, I decided to go lighter. My hair was in good shape and I was ready for it, but unbeknownst to me, my stylist used a new, stronger bleach that nearly ruined my curls.
My hair was in such bad shape and brittle that it began to break off.
What you cannot see in the middle photo above was how my hair felt—it was severely dehydrated.
I was crushed. Everything I’d put into it had been for naught.
During this period, I upped my regimen and deep conditioned twice a week, incorporated weekly protein treatments and pre-poo oil treatments with Righteous Roots Oils.
I also discovered Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner, which helped correct and improve my hair’s porosity.
Rice water rinses have also played an important role in the health of my hair. I’m a firm believer.
It took four months of consistently working my regimen to restore my curls. I did not slack or get lazy in my routine. And as a result, you can see how healthy my hair is in the middle picture.
Can you recover from bleached damaged hair? Yes, you CAN!
Adopt a Long Haul Mindset
What do you get when you mix a damaged hair mindset with a healthy hair mindset? A long-haul mindset, of course!
We all know the saying, “life is a journey, not a destination.” Well, the same rings true for our hair.
When it comes to our strands, every day is an opportunity for growth and progress – even when we’re dealing with damage.
With a little long-haul mindset and dedication, we can turn damaged hair into healthy hair one step at a time!
The journey to healthy hair is different for everyone
On top of that, you’ve spent your life dealing with one sort of texture and must now learn how to navigate different textures and curl patterns, plus learn a whole new way of styling techniques, and use new products, etc.
It’s going to take time and a lot of patience before you can sport your healthy hair. You’ll have to develop a long haul mentality if you want to keep following this path and fulfill your hair goals.
There is no magic, special pill, secret potion or overnight miracle; it’s just consistency and dedication to proper care and taking a proactive approach to your journey.
You’ll get a lot of results throughout the process, and each of them will teach you a lesson.
Keep going until you achieve your goal, regardless of the number of trials or setbacks along the way.
Don’t see attempts as failures, see them as results
When you run into a mishap, don’t see your attempts as failures, see them as results! This is how you learn and grow.
Every time something doesn’t work out the way you want it to, it’s an opportunity to figure out why it didn’t work.
If this is the case, you can then eliminate that process or technique from your routine and focus on something else instead.
Train yourself to see a failure or setback as an opportunity to learn something, not a threat to go back to your old ways or throw in the towel.
That is how you gain worthwhile knowledge, it’s a learning process. See what didn’t work just as valuable as what did work.
Attempts are not failures; attempts are results and worthwhile knowledge gained.
If you want your hair to recover from whatever damage it suffered you MUST put aside the things that caused the damage in the first place.
How to begin
An architect knows that a solid foundation is essential to any building. It’s the same with our hair.
You must have a solid foundation before anything else can be enhanced.
To learn step by step how to begin your healthy hair journey, click here.
When things become overwhelming, remind yourself why you got started in the first place. I know this sounds cliche, but keep going and don’t ever give up.
Every day presents new challenges and some days are easier than others.
Finally, increase and further your hair care expertise. It’s an ongoing effort that will ultimately provide incremental improvements over time and breakthroughs in your hair journey.
I love how @moms.can.be.fit, who is a Certified Health Coach on Instagram puts it, “…it’s the educational, the recipes that are shared, the inspirational messages that give you the recipe needed to GET to your own before and after”.