I am back again to talk more about my hair journey while abroad. As in my last post earlier this year, I am still learning new and interesting things about my hair while living outside of the U.S. For starters, I have come to understand that my hair is low porosity. This means that it doesnt let moisture in very well. In order to accomplish this I have to use heat to open up my hair cuticles. My hair has grown substanstially since this past February, and I am more in tune with what my hair thrives on. For instance, too much product builds up on my scalp if I use anything that my hair doesn’t like. I have figured out that it does well with a simple conditioning of extra virgin olive oil and honey. My goal is to condition weekly while washing my hair with apple cider vinegar. The product that I use for moisturizing in between is a shea butter beeswax cream mix that I found at a cosmetic store in the current country that I am in, Montenegro. I also found a gel schwarzkopf that has no alcohol.
This lack of ability to obtain multiple processed products will assist me when I do get back to the states and am able to get my hair trimmed into some fashion that is suitable to wear loosely. At the moment my hair is at a stage where it is growing long in the back but still shorter in the middle. Read further for my summary of what may help you if you do find yourself travelling around without adequate textured hair products at your disposal.
For any black female, starting a natural hair journey can be daunting. Whether you go for the big chop (which I did) or you gradually allow your tresses to come down, learning to understand and take care of your particular grade of hair is a challenge. Now just imagine trying to learn to love your hair in a foreign country. This has become my experience since fully grasping the importance of moisture and nurture with my strands. Since my undergraduate college years from 1999 until now I have gone natural approximately three to four times. This last time being the most enduring and educational. Particularly because I decided to continue with my journey which began the summer of 2013 due to a broken down vehicle and no option for getting to the hair stylist. I walked to the nearest head start and shaved it all off. The experience was lovely until I reached what most people proclaim as the ‘weird’ phase of a natural. It was too long to just wear loose and look nice and not quite long enough to pull in a ponytail. My weird phase also came when I was knee deep in a very minimally populated area of those who have African descent. My struggle began in a place called Croatia.
It is a part of the former Yugoslavia and although there are a small percentage of blacks in the country, it is not enough to cater to the unique hair needs of the population. This scarcity led me to try extreme measures, therefore, I went onto youtube. And from there I began to learn how to make DIY conditioners and cleansers that have helped my hair tremendously. I do have lapses in memory of what I am supposed to do such as tying my hair in protective styles, moisturizing, and I still have yet to get on the bandwagon of detangling with a brush. I have however stopped brushing my hair, finger detangle (occasionally), co-washing with apple cider vinegar, and using coconut oil to help maintain moisture. It is a uphill battle but less than a year after learning the do’s and don’t’s of natural life (albeit this is my umpteenth time) I building an appreciation and love for my locks. Although I don’t have easy access to many of the products I see on youtube, even in a place like Croatia there is a drogerie mart (DM) on every corner which sales apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, aloe vera oil, and other natural ingredients like eggs, mayo, olive oil, etc. to support healthy hair growth in women, or men, of color.