©2017 BY GLADIA'S NATURELLE.

From a Haitian with Bad Hair to a Proud Haitian with Beautiful Natural Hair: How I struggled to be natural

August 2, 2015

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In today’s society, the revolution of encouraging women of ethnicity to embrace their natural hair has taken the hair industry by storm. The process of perming or going to the “Dominicans” to get your hair straight is becoming less and less of interest.

 

With all the blogs and vlogs out there, we are not only being educated about the many different hair types but we also witness these transformations before our very own eyes. So many beautiful and incredible women have shared their hair journey online.

 

Whitney White, one of my personal favorite vloggers, is the owner of the YouTube channel naptural85. She shared her personal hair journey on camera from when it was only a few inches long known as T.W.A. (Teeny Weeny Afro) into the waist length hair that it is today, which simply focused on homemade hair products that she adopted as her daily hair regimen. She was the first person to inspire me and to teach me about the basics of taking care of my hair, and she also managed to help me to build the self-esteem I needed to embrace the natural texture of my own hair. Because I personally felt we had a lot in common, it was easier for me to relate to her and to use the techniques she followed to start my own journey. I certainly hope and do pray to work with this inspiring young woman one day, because she is absolutely incredible!

 

But on that note, I must be very careful who I give credit to. The irony is my husband will claim that he was the very first person to encourage me to go natural prior to Whitney and prior to the vast growth of women accepting this natural hair journey today. But please don’t tell him I said that because I won’t hear the end of it. LOL. But in all fairness, he was the first person to cheer me on. It took me quite some time to venture out and be all-Naturelle.

 

Like many other women who faced this challenge, I was just as uneducated. I saw what my hair was like after needing a three-month touch-up or a perm. The texture was difficult to manage, tough and unruly. I didn’t necessarily have the patience to care for it. At times, when I tried to pull myself together, as I frustratingly gelled down my new growths, I still felt like I wasn’t decent enough to go out into public. All because I knew I still needed a perm to give me the straight, non-puffy look.

 

Growing up with a family of seven girls, my mother made a conscious decision to perm our hair beginning at the very young age of seven. It was convenient for her to purchase a $5 box of perm (Just For Me) that helped her to be able to quickly and as painlessly as possible style our "unmanageable" hair.  It saved her from the torture of having to hear the devastating cries from seven nagging and tender-headed girls in the morning, as we got ready for school.

 

I am about to take you way back. Who remembers the play cassettes and the girls club membership by the way that was found in these Just For Me perm boxes? Right? The memories! Here is a reminder just in case you forgot....

 

 

 

By this time, around the 1990’s, perming your hair was a norm. And with perming I no longer dealt with other girls pulling my hair, or calling me “Haitian – booty scratcher” because I was also Haitian. So instead, what I did experience was peers who adored me and who wondered by asking if we were “mixed” or “Dominican”. It was by this transformation that relieved us from being bullied in school and has categorized us as not only having “good” hair but now to be justified as beautiful.

 

So yes, I was bruised and the scar that it left me kept me from wanting to go back to being natural.  It was daunting. Sadly enough, I didn’t even know my own hair. When I finally learned all I could by reading blogs and watching countless amount of YouTube videos… I built the confidence to jump right in and had my permed hair cut off completely on October 2013 leaving me with only a few inches of my 4C type, coarse and wavy hair.

 

Boy was it LIBERATING!

 

In the back of my mind, I also knew there was no turning back. So, I was determined to make this work. I later developed my own hair routine. As expected, I had many skeptics during the beginning stage of my journey. The negative comments kept rolling in to discourage me – and because I’m human many of them did hurt. But my husband, the man who would still love me even if I went bald, continued to compliment me and adore my transformation. I am blessed to have this man! Ladies, please don't forget to thank your man when he supports you. Because I want the world to know my gratitude towards my King. As my hair grew and started to adapt to the new changes, I was becoming more confident and this is where, not only did the compliments start to roll in, but, I was inspiring many others to convert also.

 

Through trial and error, with the influence of my budget, based on my schedule and hair type, I was able to develop a simplified hair routine. Keeping my routine simple allowed me to continue on my journey without lapse.

 

Here are the products I used:

1. Pantene Pro-V for black women shampoo.
2. Pantene Pro V for black women conditioner.
3. A water bottle with water.
4. Olive oil hair for girl’s hair moisturizer.
5. For hold, I use the olive oil hair gel.
6. For heat protection, Organic R/S Root Stimulator Olive Oil Heat Protection Serum.

 

After almost two – years, my hair when straightened fell halfway past my shoulders. I ended up learning how to crochet braid, do protective hairstyles, Bantu knots, use creative hair tools like curlformers to create Shirley Temple curls without the use of a curling iron, and so on and so forth.

 

All thanks to YouTube!

 

Because of my personal experience, I am now inspired to share my hair journey with all of you and be a part of this revolution.

 

I am proud to be Naturelle and I hope to continue to inspire others to love the everything that they are in - your skin, your hair, your being.

 

 

 

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