I should tell you how uncomfortable I’ve felt about my hair since I was 6 years old. As a child, my hair grew so slowly, most of the time people thought I was a boy. I was evolving in an environment where most of the girls had straight hair, and I had a tiny afro, with very little curls. I used to ask my mother why my hair wasn’t similar to my friends’ and she’d reply that everybody is different, and that I was beautiful just the way I was. I didn’t believe her at the time.

Through the years, like most teenagers, I was doing everything to fit in, to hide any trace of difference. I went through it all: color, perm, straightening, bad products. I literally killed my hair. I thought that changing my aesthetic would give me confidence. But I was young and had a pretty bad conception of beauty.

My family and I used to spend every summer in the south of France, in Aix-en-Provence, at my grandmother’s. I was so frustrated having short hair that I begged my parents for almost an entire week to get (what I would now consider hideous) braids with extensions. They finally gave up the fight and we headed to the hair salon. They must have known how uncomfortable I was with my hair to agree to wait this long. I remember thinking the braids were so pretty, especially because it was the first time I felt the weight of hair on my back.

We got back to my grandmother’s and I immediately dove into the pool to escape the hot weather, but as soon as I entered the water, my braids began to fall out. I started screaming with anger, I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t stick to my head. I eventually realized that my hair was too thin to hold them, and over the next week, they continued to fall out. I decided these braids would be a battle and I would win! Until there were only two braids left in my hair, which I decided to keep (imagine how crazy that made me look ha!). But these two braids ended up in a knot which became my worst nightmare. My mom tried everything she could to take them off but it was impossible, so we decided to shave all of my hair off…

After that ordeal, I opted for a green towel, secured with a hat. I was insane and I continued this technique for many years.

The good news is I’ve recently surrendered and left the hair battlefield behind. I came across an old friend last summer who had hair that looked so healthy and beautiful, a result of a cut and moisturizing treatment from Devachan salon in New York. I knew I had to try it, and on my trip to the city last week, I managed to get an appointment. And let me tell you, I love the result! Maybe I’ve grown from the uncomfortable 6 year old I used to be, or maybe it’s the result of embracing yourself rather than resisting, but for the first time, I’m choosing to keep my hair natural and I feel more confident than ever.