Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of having beautiful, natural curls! My hair was just a little bit shorter than shoulder length, was very thick and did not have a defined curl pattern. Because my hair was so thick it would tangle very easily and anyone who has thick, curly hair knows, tangles HURT! After 8 years of trying to find the best way to take care of my hair and keep it from getting tangled, my Mother finally decided to perm it. My beautician assured her that the perm would not damage my hair and that everything would be fine. At the time, I LOVED it! It was in a cute little bob and it didn't tangle as much anymore. NO painful tangles!

Over the next 4 years we alternated between perms and braids. That worked okay for a while. My hair was about 3 inches past my shoulders and would only break every now and then. Then, one day, we went to a new beautician for a touch up on my perm. It looked really nice! That is until, little by little, we noticed my hair started to break off...NIGHTMARE! My Mom tried to hurry and put it in braids to keep it from breaking, but the ends continued to break off over time. A little over a handful of my hair broke off. I was SO MAD! I wanted my Mom to sue, but she didn't think it was a very good idea. My Mom decided she would just take care of my perms from then on. A couple years later, my Mom decided to try a new perm on my hair for my touch up. (Uh Oh..) It was the perm she always used for her hair and was supposed to be better than my current perm. While rinsing out the perm, my Mom noticed my hair was breaking off... A total of 5-6 inches of my hair broke off. I was so upset! My hair broke off...TWICE!

Then everything changed! Shortly after my 15th birthday, my Mom decided it was time I took care of my own hair. I was SO SCARED! I thought I'd break my hair for sure! I anxiously researched how to take care of my hair. After about a day or so of research, I learned I had type 4 hair. 4c to be exact. I looked at Pinterest and YouTube to see what healthy, long 4c hair looked like. I LOVED it! My childhood dream of curly hair was rekindled! This was the start of my natural hair journey! I had so many questions. First,

How do you take care of it? Is it hard?

The first time I felt discouraged was when I found out that type 4 hair was the hardest hair type to take care of, and that 4c hair, was the hardest of the hardest. Nevertheless, I could not afford to give up! (My Mom wouldn't let me) My next step was watching hundreds of YouTube videos (literally, about 1,000 of them) about how to take care of my hair. Everything I learned can be summarized in these basic tips...

- Use lots of water! Think of your hair like a plant!

- Braid it or twist it before you go to bed, and if you can, wear a silk scarf.

- Sleeping on your hair can damage it! It also makes it tangle a lot!

- Finger detangle, instead of brushing and combing as much as possible! Because 4c hair is thick, constant brushing makes it weak and breaks it off.

- Try to keep it up (buns, twist outs, braid outs etc!) as much as possible! Especially, if it's shoulder length! The constant brushing up against your shoulders can split the ends and eventually cause your hair to break!

- Condition more than shampoo. Most shampoos have chemicals in them that strip your hair of it's natural oils. Some women and girls with 4c hair don't use it at all. I've tried washing my hair with and without shampoo.

- Probably the most important of them all! Keep your hair moisturized! and learn what your hair porosity is!

What do I use to moisturize my hair?

I've tried a bunch of different things but I'd have to say my favorite product line for moisturizing is Carol's Daughter! It smells AMAZING, and keeps my hair soft and moisturized! It is also great for braid outs and twist outs! (Tutorials on the way!) For washing my hair, I really like Pantene's Pro-V Relaxed & Natural, Dry to Moisturized Conditioner and Shampoo!

Two years after I first started my journey my hair is 10-14 inches long, strong and healthy! I keep it in tight curls so that the ends won't brush against my shoulders, and keep it in protective styles 60% of the time. Since last year, it grew a full 8-10 inches! It is the exact length and style I always wanted! Now that I have a lot more experience, it is literally SO EASY to take care of! I look forward to the journey ahead, and am so excited to see how it will look in 2 years, 4 years, 6 years and beyond! I also hope that you feel excited and inspired to start your own natural hair journey, and you can be sure that I'll be here if you ever need any help with lots of blogs and tutorials on the way! :)

Thanks for reading!

- Leila ♡