Oct 01, 2014

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Me Liberé: My Natural Hair Journey [New "Natural Hair" Column!]

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Taming my Pelo Malo for Years

Have you ever sat in a beauty parlor chair with your head pulled back, tucking your ears with your hands, with an awful smell of burnt hair lingering in the air, and praying with great distress that the salonera would finally finish? Well, I have and it was the story of my life for over 15 years.

When I was 8 years old my mother decided to chemically relax my hair because it was “unruly” or in good Dominican, it was pelo malo. Throughout my high school and college years I continued this process because it was what I understood to be the key to feeling and being beautiful.

I remember that very strange new growth that would come in every two months, reminding me that I needed to go to the beauty supply. I would purchase the strongest relaxer (“super”), the slim tooth comb (peine de palito) and the pair of gloves for the process. I hated every part of it: the smell of rotten eggs of the relaxer and the burns on my scalp, but to me it was all worth it in the end—it made me pretty.

Embracing My Natural Hair, Embracing Myself

Almost two years ago I decided to leave the relaxers, rolos, irons, and blow dryers behind to embrace the kinky, curly hair that grows out of my scalp. I wanted so badly to see what my natural hair looked like. I couldn’t remember how my natural hair looked and the pictures didn’t do it justice. I decided to transition for two months, cutting my relaxed hair every two weeks until July 4,th when I decided to do the Big Chop (cut off all of the chemically or heat processed hair). There was a war of textures in my head and the kinks and curls won!

I went natural because I felt like it was time to question the standards of beauty that I had been taught throughout my life, and those standards that continue to be promoted on TV, magazines, billboards, novelas, and society at large. I was tired of trying to be something I wasn’t and I was ready to just be me and to love all of me!

Fear is the best word to describe the very beginning of my going natural process. I was afraid of what people around me would say. Afraid of how I would look without my long, straight hair that had once defined my beauty. I was afraid of the unknown and fear itself. However, in just a few months, all of this fear turned into excitement, liberation, and this undeniable feeling of self-love. I am excited to share my journey, stories, consejitos and tips with you!  So if you are thinking about going natural, currently transitioning or your simply curious about natural hair, then join me!

New Natural Hair Column!

Editor’s Note: We are excited to announce a new column on New Latina, focusing on the process of going natural and the care of our beautiful hair!  Carolina will be our regular contributor and will be sharing her natural hair journey, tips and advice on loving your beautiful, natural hair.  Stay tuned for this wonderful column!  If you have questions on how on going natural, please submit your questions below.

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CarolinaContreras

CarolinaContreras

Carolina Contreras is a Natural Hair Blogger based out of the Dominican Republic. She is the creator of missrizos.com, a site dedicated to empowering women to love themselves just the way they are.

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Comments

  1. LOVE this! Look forward to reading your posts

  2. Great article dear! n ur kinky hair rocks! it’s alive and sassy.

  3. Amazing article! I have been liberated for years and it’s a wonderful feeling! Thank you for sharing your experience and hope it reaches many of our girls who remain to accept they are beautiful just as they are! Thank you!

  4. Thanks so much ladies! I am really looking forward to sharing what I know and to learn from the New Latina readers! So glad you enjoyed the article!

    Hugs from DR,
    Carolina

  5. Great article! I follow Carolina on FB and Twitter because I admire what she has done by going natural while living in the Dominican Rep. It requires a lot of courage to do that in a country where you are made fun of because you have kinky hair. Way to go Carolina! Keep inspiring more Dominican girls to do the same.

  6. This story sounds all too familiar to me…I went through the same thing my mom started relaxing my hair at the age of 6. I remember sitting under a dryer with rolos on a Saturday afternoon when everybody else was outside playing. I haven’t gone all natural yet I’m trying too. Sometimes I go for weeks without blow drying my hair but I get embarrassed the moment people start saying how curly my hair is and how different I look. Hopefully one day I can be liberated too. Great Article!

    • Raphaela, love your name! I remember that for New Years 2000 I was under the dryer! Start thinking about doing these kinds of things for you and not for others. My favorite response to people is, “this is the way my hair comes out of my head.” or “why is it revolutionary or abnormal to leave my hair in its normal state?” Good luck and know that you have us here for questions and support!

  7. Keila Hobal says:

    Wonderful! Carolina, I truly love you for what you are doing hermana, you are setting a great precedent for our precious Dominican girls!!! They should not grow up ashamed of their hair and heritage but proud! Thank you!!!

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