Like most black girls (or girls with curly/kinky hair) my age, I grew up with everyone around me treating my hair as an inconvenience. By age 6, I was attending bi-weekly hair appointments that lasted hours and ended in styles that made my hair look like "less of a distraction".
By middle school, l learned to do my own hair, straightening it at least twice a month, and running the flat iron over the few messed up pieces in the front almost every morning (Black Girls- Ya'll know what pieces I'm talking about).
By the end of high school, my hair was beyond damaged from entirely too much heat and the blonde highlights I convinced myself I needed to be me. I also had been battling with acne since the 7th grade, but had always relied on my straight and silky hair to be the crutch for my low self-esteem. But now, both my hair AND skin were in SHAMBLES, and in my millennial teenage mind, my life was over. There was only one thing left to do-- turn to YouTube. One of the GOATs of social media!
I started to search "black girl's skin and hair care routines" [Yes, black people have to type "black girl/guy" in front of all of our searches, or no one that looks like us will be included in the search results]. And eventually, I stumbled across a YouTube community of girls that looked like me, but with curly hair and smooth skin.
I would quickly learn the black girl YouTube rules and steps to "Going Natural". But I was still convinced that my overly-processed hair was as natural as it got. So, I started all of these "natural" videos looking at my phone sideways, - in disbelief.
I didn't understand how they got their hair to actually stay curly after letting it dry or how they only used 1-2 skincare products, but had no serious problems with acne. Nonetheless, their curly hair was bomb and skin was glowing, so I was intrigued and ready to learn.
500 hours of YouTube videos and a few months of soul searching later, I decided to join the movement! I committed to transitioning my hair from damaged and stringy to big and beautiful. And of course, I threw out all of my acne treatments/products.
Overtime, I began to take what I learned from YouTube and create a path for my own Natural Journey. Always remembering, what worked for someone else will not always work for me and to incorporate LOVE every step of the way.
It took time, but looking back now, I can say it was one of the most rewarding things I ever decided to do. Not only because my skin got a bit clearer and hair got a lot healthier (see progress pics below), but because I could feel the love I had for myself, and others, grow stronger every day.
I came out of that journey loving myself a lot more and wanting to share that love with others. I discovered a passion to not only protect and embrace my melanin a little bit more everyday, but most importantly, provide a space for others to do the same.
I started to create products (with ingredients that teach love instead of hate), and sell them under the name "Glowden (Glow+Golden) Organics" as a way to give myself a space to act on this passion.