Relaxer, Relate, Release …

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A couple of weeks ago, I received this e-mail request from Asha:

Hi! I recently found your site and I am so fascinated! Your hair is absolutely gorgeous! Me and a good friend of mine have decided to go natural and help one another through encouragement along the way. I have attempted to go natural before and found that seeing others before and after pictures have helped me to stay inspired. I was wondering if you had any pictures of your relaxed hair that you would be willing to share? I am now following your site for inspiration! Thank you so much!

First, thank you so much Asha! Now, the thing is, I don’t have a lot of pictures from my teen and college years … and definitely none that are digital. But, I dug through my box of pictures and one album to find a few photos that show my hair when it was relaxed.

The pic above was from my Junior year in college. I was in my first and only ever pageant (Miss NAACP:) and my hair is in a roller set updo. Roller sets were definitely one of my favorite “go to” styles back then and I would often set the hair of my friends. I would maintain by pin-curling at night.

Anywho, here are a few more pics that range from my early teens until my late 20s. I mostly only relaxed twice a year, from the age of 13 to 28.

I think was about 14 here, only a year after
my first relaxer and lots of layers!

HS Senior year pic
(you’ve seen this one before … the post Wave Nouveau tragedy bob).

Senior prom (crimped and curled)

Freshman year

College Sophomore year (“banged” up with a bouffant and flip).

College sophomore year (cornrow out … not the best shot, but this was another “go to” style).

College Junior year (my Supremes retro bouffant … I somehow lost this dress,
which was a Salvation Army find :(!
)

College Junior year (bobbed up again … I love a good bob).

Thanksgiving Junior year, I think.

College graduation photos taken junior year, I guess (grew out the bob).

Bobbed up again, early Senior year.

Mid-late senior year. I chopped it off to try to have a cute Halle Berry cut like my sis.
My hair was too fine for it to look good on me. It would be so flat.So, I would scrunch and wear it curly.
This was when I first discovered that I could wear my hair curly without cornrowing it, even though it was relaxed.

Mid 20s at first bodybuilding competition (roller set again).

And bobbed again! LOL! Told you I loved this style;)!

I know they aren’t the greatest of pics. I was lazy and took photos of photos rather than figuring out how to use the scanner. LOL!! But, I think you get the idea!

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If you used to relax, what were your “go to” cuts and styles? 

(p.s. If you like seeing pics of naturals back in their relaxed days, comment below! Maybe I’ll start a Before and After feature similar to our Now and Then! This way, we can share pics of our hair relaxed and natural! And speaking of Now and Then, I’d love to get some more submissions to share *hint, hint*!!

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13 responses »

  1. Thanks for posting…it very inspirational. Disclaimer- I do not have anything against those who have had long luscious hair their entire life, I still can learn from and find inspiration from their journey. With that said…why I loved this post so much is because I find it very inspirational and encouraging to see that you did not always have the lovely amazing long hair that you currently possess. I see others who had waist length or longer hair as children, when relaxed as also now natural, and I do not discount their tips or methods BUT seeing someone with whom I can relate is encouragement to keep going with my hair journey.

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  2. Off topic: I had no idea you were a professional bodybuilder and had competed?! I would love to hear that story. How you got started, what you did, what you had to eat, how it felt competing the first time, how many competitions you participated in and if you placed.

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  3. Thanks Marcia. You know what’s funny? I always thought of myself as having pretty long hair when I was in school, unless I cut it off (to the dismay of my grandmother and aunt). But, I realize now that I definitely NEVER had hair that was even close to bra strap length until I went natural … I think the longest hair I had when relaxed was probably APL. Like you said, I wasn’t one of those little girls with waist length hair as a child that relaxed it for it to break off. I didn’t really experience damage from the relaxer as I only did it twice a year and only on my new growth. But, I also didn’t do the things I do now in regard to caring for my hair. I wonder how long it could have been if I had. But I don’t mind not knowing as I love my natural hair:). Oh and so, this is DEFINITELY the longest my hair has ever been in my life.

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  4. Awww watch out now. Look at Shelli done went from nerdy girl to sexy girl LOL I’m just playin’ You’re going to make a beautiful bride 🙂 Oh that’s a hint that yall better not run off to Vegas or city hall LOL

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  5. Umm…I’ve studied your pic in the black dress and I am pretty certain that I am seeing bulging muscles (AKA Angela Bassett) arms. What the heck? How was that accomplished? I need these in my life — do share?

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    • Rhonda, see above. I was competing … I was 105 lbs (I’m 118-120 really toned now) and this was after the competition that day. So, there is a lot involved … diet, cardio, weight training, carb depletion and then carb loading the week and day of competition. But, if you go to my regimen now, where I outline my exercise and diet when I’m doing things right, that’s what I do to get/stay at my ideal weight of 118-120 with good muscle definition.

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    • Oh, I believe in terminal length Renee; the other hair on our body reaches it all of the time (eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, legs, etc …). However, I think that thee terminal length of the hair on our head is far greater than many realize. I’m really interested in seeing if I can achieve TBL in another year and then go beyond that next year. That’s the great think about shrinkage that I think some don’t appreciate. If us curlies/kinkies/coilies we can retain our growth, we can have hair that we can sit on if straightened, but that hangs MBL or shorter curly:). So, I’d love to see how far this thing will take me:). At some point, I guess I’ll get bored with it … but right now, I’m really fascinated by the idea of “how far can ya go?” 🙂

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  6. I love seein before and after pics. You definitely see a big difference between the two pics. Most women I see in their relaxer days pic they look “Yeah I look good could be better” but their natural hair pics they look ” I know look damn good dont hate me”,lol. May thats just how their pics speak to me,lol. Love your blog and Congrats on the engagement.

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