THE BLOG
05/31/2016 11:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How I Fell in Love With My Natural Curls

I'm VeCoya, a North Carolina native currently residing in Southern Maryland. I work in customer service but enjoy freelance blogging and modeling in my spare time too. I am currently navigating through 'adulthood' trying to create my own path. Oh, yeah and I'm obsessed with natural hair.

My sister and I have a lifestyle blog greenevdc.com where we discuss natural hair. For the most part, I have always been pleased with the length and condition of my hair. Until I discovered the flat iron insert dramatic sound in late 2007. After a year of flat ironing my hair to death without a heat protectant, I received my last relaxer in January of 2009. I decided to commit to returning to my natural state of hair seven years ago, initially because my hair was breaking off due to excessive heat damage, but since then I've gained a world of knowledge about the natural hair world!

2016-05-20-1463772532-9717033-vecoyagreene_520x520_87.jpg

Photographer Lavan Anderson

I transitioned because it gave me more time to get to know my natural hair. Through the transition process, I was surprised and intrigued by my curls. Thanks to YouTube videos and natural hair websites, I learned how to care for my own hair. I transitioned for a little over a year and cut off my relaxed ends in February 2010. Caring for my own hair was a great feeling, I no longer had to depend on a stylist or spend half of my Saturdays in a hair salon. I have learned SO MUCH, and I am still learning through the good and the not-so-great experiences.

One not-so-great experience was when I relocated to Maryland in the summer of 2010. I wanted color oh so bad. I mean... I just couldn't wait! I wanted it INSTANTLY. I went into this random shop and let some unknown beautician bleach my entire head peroxide blonde! I could literally smell the bleach, I wanted to cry when she finished. It was bad! (I have pictures if you need proof!) I can laugh about it now, but it was a critical lesson learned. I am now much more cautious about whom I allow to color and care for my hair. I do my research and find a professional stylist that prides him/herself in spectacular hair care when coloring or cutting my tresses.

2016-05-20-1463770694-4642733-DSC_6006.jpg

Photographer: Karen Henderson

My hair is complex, I have looser curls on one side. The right side always outgrows the left, despite me cutting it even. It is soft, unruly at times, thick, beautiful. At work I have to sit on my hands in order to stop playing in it, but I embrace it all! It's perfectly flawed, but I love my hair.

"It's perfectly flawed, but I love my hair."

I co-wash it once a week and deep condition twice a month. I love variety so I try to switch it up but my go to style is flexi rods. Flexi rods requires little upkeep, I can keep them in for a week with low maintenance. I am a fan of protective styles as well; I love buns and twists/braids. I also like to flat iron my hair every now and then.

2016-05-20-1463773202-2074950-IMG_2444.jpg

Photographer: Aaron Jones

I don't have a set routine, but I do listen to my hair. Sometimes it is as simple as running my fingers through it and I can tell exactly what she needs. Currently, healthy hair is my goal. If you are new to the natural hair world, my advice is to develop patience because this journey is definitely a process.

2016-05-20-1463773329-8495345-382016.jpg

Photographer Brian Washington

Fall in love with your texture and your natural curls. Do not compare yourself to others, because this is your journey. That applies to products as well, what works for me may not necessarily work for you and vice versa.

"Fall in love with your texture and your natural curls. Do not compare yourself to others, because this is your journey."

Experiment, try new products and hairstyles to see what works for you. If you are experimenting with a new hairstyle and it turns out disastrous, try again. The more you try, the more you will learn and the better you will get at it, just like anything else in life.

This post is part of HuffPost's My Natural Hair Journey blog series. Embracing one's natural hair -- especially after years of heavily styling it -- can be a truly liberating and exciting experience. It's more than just a "trend." It's a way of life. If you have a story you'd like to share, please email us at MyNaturalHairJourney@huffingtonpost.com.