To start with, in my elementary school years my mom always kept my hair blow dried and in a high puff. The kids at school were fascinated with how thick my hair was. One time the rubber band keeping up my puff broke and my hair stayed straight up ( like frankenstein). As a child I never disliked my natural hair texture because I didn’t even know what it was myself. Ironically I saw a curly fro on tv and I thought it was a perm and asked my mom for one ( I was so confused).
Once I got to middle school it was a different story. I got my first relaxer in 6th grade. I loved my straight hair. I wore my hair up nearly everyday. My hair routine consisted of sulfate shampoos, blow drying (no product in hair), and leaving out a small bang which I flat ironed religiously. The hair in the ponytail did ok, but my bangs were horribly damaged. Furthermore, I knew nothing about healthy hair care. By 8th grade I became reluctant to get my next relaxer, but continued.
My freshman year of Highschool is when I really began caring about my hair. Natural Hair Youtubers became my TV. I watched tutorials endlessly and I was finally becoming confident about my hair. After taking swimming in P.E I decided I was done with relaxers, and I went on a no heat challenge and protective style challenge for a year. My hair flourished and I retained a TON of length! On top of that I cut off my relaxed ends over the summer and had 8 inches of beautiful 4a hair. I was in LOVE!! I rocked twist outs, curly puffs, flat twist outs, banto knot outs, and flexi rods (all no heat).
Sophomore year I was on top of the world and ready to rock my curly fro. Then the... (click read more to see the rest of Shemeka's story)
unthinkable happened HEAT DAMAGE. I know what your thinking, “what happened to no heat?!” I experimented with my instyler on my natural hair one time (turned into a frizz ball in the humidity). Then a week later I tried roller set wraps (did two days in a row) and then when the second rollerset wrap didn’t work (frustrated) I brought out my instyler and used it on HIGH. Keep in mind I used no heat protectant for all of this. The result, my curl pattern appeared slightly different to me and in one small section on the left side of my head I saw about an inch of stringy ends (NOOOOOOOOO!). So I cut off about half the heat damage and I currently have about half an inch left to get rid of. After going through that experience I am SO DONE with heat. The results are truly not worth it. For anyone who has some heat damage like me just continue taking care of your hair as best as you can and your hair WILL grow back. Don’t focus on length, but the health of your hair. March 1st of 2015 (2 year natural anniversary) I plan to cut off the last bit of my heat damage.
Last but not least, after going through all of that with my hair and experimenting with different products I felt like I truly understood my hair, and I felt a need to start helping others so…. I LAUNCHED A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!! I self titled it “shemekascurls” and now i’m constantly working to produce videos helpful to new and old naturals;hoping that I can show people something new and inspirational so they’ll love their curls as much as I do. Also so they won’t make the same pitfalls on their journey. So if any of you girls (or guys) out there are scared to go natural JUST DO IT! You won’t regret it. When you finally learn to love your hair, a whole new world of healthy living is revealed, and you will find you love those curls, coils, or kinks much more than you ever thought possible.