This all began mid-December of 2015 when I went to a local hair salon in my college town for a wash, blow dry, trim, and straighten. I was less than a week away from going home for Christmas, which meant I could go to my favorite hair stylist in Atlanta, but for some reason, I just couldn’t wait. My ends were dead and somehow I convinced myself that I couldn’t live another week with them.
One of my teammates often got her hair straightened by a woman in the salon I booked an appointment, so naturally, I requested her as my stylist. This is where the nightmare began. Prior to this, my hair was in great shape. It was growing longer than it ever had, was healthy, and was just overdue for a trim.
For this appointment, I booked the same things that I would if I was at home with my favorite stylist. I got a wash, deep conditioning treatment, blow dry, trim and straighten. Everything was great! My hair looked good for as long as I could keep it straight, but as soon as I washed it I realized my curls weren’t reverting. Yes, every natural girl’s biggest nightmare.
In denial, I thought I’d just wash it again in a few days and everything would go back to normal. Wrong! My curls were stringy and in some places, they were gone. Right then and there, and mainly out of spite, I made the decision to not straighten my hair for a year.
What I Learned
I know every natural hair guru will tell you that heat is not your friend, but what works for you doesn’t always work for everyone. After a year of no heat, I guarantee you that I will not commit to that again. My hair needs heat. Maybe not every day or month, but at least 2-3 times a year. Let me explain, the health of my hair was restored as soon as I cut the dead ends and heat damage off, but other than that, it was already in great shape. While on my heat hiatus, my hair grew, but no more than it would have if I was putting heat on it 2-3 times a year like I usually do.
On the other hand, one benefit of not using heat was that I learned what products my hair truly likes. In its most natural state, I realized that less is more and that my hair responds well to fewer products. The less I used the better my hair responded, and my wallet appreciated it. I also learned that the bun was the hair style for me. For those of you who know me well, the bun is my go to. As a college student-athlete who generally has practice or a game every day, I don’t really care to wear my hair down, so finding different ways to style my hair into up-dos was fun.
Biggest Take Away
Do everything in moderation. Too much heat isn’t great for your hair, but I don’t think no heat is all that wonderful either. While this is true for me, it is on you to find out what works for you. Ultimately, I encourage you to try a year of no heat for yourself. It’s definitely a learning experience, but I think it’s worth trying. From learning what products and hairstyles you like, to figuring out if heat is really your hair’s biggest enemy, one year of no heat will keep you on your toes and in tuned to what works best for you. Try it and feel free to comment about your natural hair journey below.