I remember when I first went natural. My eyes completely opened to this new world of hair. I spent most of my life being ashamed of my hair and for the first time, I learned there was a community of women who had the same feelings, concerns, and hopes for this revolutionary hair movement. I no longer felt alone. It was a beautiful moment in my life that I will cherish forever because it taught me how to love myself. I finally looked in the mirror and saw a beautiful woman staring back at me.
After three years of being natural, my hair completely fell out. I mean, fell out. It was gone. I worked so hard to grow my hair. I watched videos, moisturized, washed once a week, finger detangled, oiled every day and night, and even used a silk bonnet before bed. I thought my hair was strong enough to withstand heat, so when a hairdresser blowdried and flat ironed my hair I had no idea, it would break off only a few weeks later. I could blame it on the heat damage that weakened my follicles but the real issue was I was listening to all these natural hair “experts” internalizing what worked for their hair and thinking it would also work for my own.
Four years after my big chop and I am detached from the natural hair movement. All of the information and misinformation began to get overwhelming. One article tells you biotin and castor oil is great for hair growth, while another article tells you it’s not. One Youtuber says mineral oil is the worst thing known to man (and hair), while another Youtuber tells you there are some good ones out there. So many experts, yet no one is really an expert. It almost felt like the blind leading the blind.
The natural hair movement is one of the best and most powerful movements out there. I thank God it came into existence because I would’ve never known my hair. I would still be wearing weaves, thinking my hair is not capable of growing. I can’t thank the movement enough for my consciousness but I’ve learned that MY HAIR is teaching me all that I’ve ever needed to know. I wash it 1-2 times a month and do a protein treatment when I do. I moisturize it with water every day and an oil of choice (now its coconut oil). I take my hair, nails, and skin vitamins every single day. I doubled my intake of water, which is huge because I was one of those people who thought water was “nasty.” I honestly just let my hair do the talking and I am so amazed by its progress! It’s not where it used to be but gradually getting there. When you first go natural, the excitement is there, and it should be, I never want to take that from anyone. But with time you will learn, like me, that your hair is the best teacher!
Me: Ma, your curls are just popping; let me take a picture of you!
Grandma: I know they are. Okay, let me put on some lipstick.
My grandmother has no shame. She loves any opportunity to be acknowledged for her beauty which I absolutely love about her. Getting older sometimes can be discouraging because you think your looks are fleeting and no one finds you attractive anymore but she gets compliments every day. People stop her on the street to tell her how amazing her hair looks or how well she did her makeup. She’s beautiful. Her curls are so defined. They just twirl out of her head when she wears it in a wash and go. I had to capture this moment. It made me happy to know that she was happy.
Miracles do happen. After years of trial and error, I’ve found the perfect foundation. Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give a bit of a back-story.
I was at the dermatologist, and I forgot to wipe off my make up before going in the chair. With his microscopic glasses, my doctor inquisitively asked what makeup I was using. At this point, I was using a MAC foundation and/or concealer. A look of concern came on his face as he said: “Your make up is clogging your pores, you can’t use those kinds of products-your skin is too sensitive.”
“Well, doc, what am I supposed to use?” I replied
“You need natural products, try Clinique or Bare Minerals. Go to the store they will tell you” he said.
A week later, I went to Sephora and explained to them my dermatologist recommendation. They did the foundation test, which is really cool; the associate placed a device on my face which detected my exact skin color. I was in need of 100% natural products which would reduce the options that came up once my skin color was in the system. I immediately told her I was interested in Bare Minerals as suggested by my doctor. She led me to the Bare Mineral section and worked with me until I found the color that was a match to my skin. The color is #18 Bare Walnut. It’s hypoallergenic and made without the following ingredients:
Six-months later and my skin is doing so much better. I still have breakouts but they are minimal. I drink tons of water and take Hair, Skin, and Nails pills, but the compliments I get on my coverage are amazing. Bare Minerals foundation allows my skin to breathe, reduces how much of my pores are clogged and is an exact match to my skin color which is a first. It leaves my skin looking flawless. I am truly amazed by this product. It also lasts really long. I just finished the first bottle that I bought 6-months ago. Another plus is the cost. It’s priced at Sephoras for $29, which I think is a great price point. I hardly ever do product reviews but I thought this one deserved a rave review. Bare Minerals: Rating 9
When I was 10-years old, I overheard a family member tell someone that she thought I was cute, not pretty, not beautiful, just cute. I was taking a nap on the couch and woke up in time to hear her conversation. It damaged me. I pretended like I was asleep, but turned around to hide the teardrops falling from my eyes.
For years, I looked at myself as just cute, not pretty, not beautiful, but cute. In reality, I questioned why others didn’t view me as I viewed myself. I loved my skin color. I am amber brown, a combination of my mother’s fair skin and my father’s rich dark skin. I have beautiful full lips, big brown eyes, as bright as the sun and a button nose. I have a small gap in my teeth, which adds to my beautiful imperfections. My hair is cotton soft and was never really able to grow very long (it has a mind of its own). I loved who I saw looking back at me when I looked in the mirror, but to others, I guess I wasn’t good enough.
When I was 15, my boyfriend told me “You’re Beautiful” for the first time in my life, I heard those words; it made me love him even more. My whole worth was warped into how he viewed me. I wanted to be his ideal; I wanted to remain beautiful in his eyes. Once our relationship ended, I was completely lost. I spent years trying to reverse the effect that he had on me. I was insecure and I felt rejected. Who would ever love me as much as he did? Who would ever view me as beautiful again? I was broken. Continue reading “Reclaiming My Beauty”