Lessons from my hair journey

Lessons from my hair journey

I’d like to tell you the story of my hair. Sit tight and grab some tea, because it’s a rocky ride.

The Backstory

When I was little I had much looser, wavy curls. Like in the 2s! My mom used leave-in conditioner on my hair, and that was good enough to get some curl definition.

Photo of me around age 4 on the beach. My hair is shoulder length with shaggy bangs and loose waves.

Around the 5th grade my hair got CURLY curly. Pretty much to the 3C it’s at today. And simultaneously my mom stopped doing my hair, so I started middle school looking like Roseanne Roseannadanna.

In middle school my signature styles were the Big Poofy Pony Tail and the Bun on days when I had ballet class.

By high school, I had had enough of curls and begged my mom to let me chemically straighten it, which she agreed to for a couple years. 

By senior year of high school my hair was fried with chemicals and breaking constantly, so I let my curls grow back out. I also learned to french braid because the girl in front of me in biology always did her hair in class. I finally had healthy hair when I graduated, but then…

Me in high school around age 15 with my hair chemically straightened.

I had this ~cool~ idea to dye my hair different colors each year in college so I could look back at photos and be like “ahh this must be junior year because my hair is blue.”

Judge the results for yourself:

Me, freshman year of college. Hair straightened and slightly maroon tinted.
Me, sophomore year of college in a fitting room. Hair dyed light brown with darker roots.

Freshman year, I tried dying my hair myself with a “red color for dark hair” kit without bleaching. The results could only be seen in the sun and I ended up chemically burning my scalp. Yikes. Sophomore year, I had my hair professionally bleached and dyed to a light brown color. It totally changed my curl pattern, but I still really like the color. Junior year I made the theme of the year “braids” instead of coloring my hair, so kind of a fail there. The ones pictured here are with added silver braiding hair. Senior year I dyed my hair jet black, which people barely even noticed. And as you can see, I did heat straighten my hair quite a bit – almost monthly freshman year.

My hair really took a beating for… uh… 12 years really. Ouch.

But I’m happy to report and I’m getting better with my hair! I haven’t heat styled my hair since summer 2018 and I’m learning every day how to appreciate and enhance my 3C curl pattern. All the chemical treatments left my hair brittle, so I’m still learning to understand my true porosity.

The Takeaway

Through the years and trials, here are my 3 key takeaways about what I’m willing to do for my hair:

  1. In general, I’m too cheap to go to the salon. For the last few years, I’ve gone to the salon once a year and that’s the sweet spot.
  2. I like do things myself. From dying to cutting to braids, I take a lot pride in being able to do my own hair.
  3. I’m OVER wasteful treatments. No more chemical treatments, no more heat styling, no more fake braiding hair (well, we’ll talk about that one later).


My new signature style is two corn rows, kept in for 3-4 days followed by a braid-out for another day or two. I also like a wash-n-go, but with my bangs right now, I’m being extra careful about looking Roseannadanna 😉

Have you ever chemically straightened or dyed your hair? How did it change your texture? Let me know below!

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