Illustration by Ruby Zuckerman.

Welcome to Halo Maintenance, Rookie’s new Black hair column! This is a guide for all naturals at any stage of your natural hair journey. Whether you’re transitioning from chemically straightened hair or you want to start taking better care of your curls, this column is for you!

Up until my last year of middle school, I had no idea what my hair looked like without chemical straighteners (a.k.a. relaxers, a.k.a. perms, a.k.a. the creamy crack). Every month or so, my mother would painstakingly apply the foul smelling cream to any sign of curl pattern in my roots. I would close my eyes and envision a silky straight mane to take my mind off the burning. While there is nothing inherently wrong with changing the texture of your hair, for me it felt like my natural hair was a mistake I’d have to spend my whole life fixing.

When I first jumped into the natural hair movement, it was lead mostly by girls with 3b curls that floated down their backs. I was under the impression that if I bought the right product or just kept combing, eventually my hair would become like theirs. Even in my attempt to love my hair, I was still holding onto the idea that good hair required pain.

To learn how to care for my 4c kinks exactly as they are was a kind of self-care education. Taking time to experiment and play with my hair is taking time to get to know myself. I’ve fallen in love with the possibilities my hair possesses. Black hair is a gift!

The beautiful thing about a natural hair “journey” is that there isn’t a final destination. There’s never a point where one can call themselves a master of all things black hair–we get to keep learning! I’ve been learning about my hair for a few years now and want to share that knowledge with all the other naturals I know!

Halo maintenance will serve as a streamlined space for all things black hair related! If you have questions about hair, please send them our way! This column will be a mix of answering questions, tutorials, interviews, and more! To submit your questions, email [email protected] with “Halo Maintenance” in the subject line.

Black hair is an artform and a blessing that I am so incredibly ecstatic to explore with you all! See you next month! ♦