On the Couch with Nickye

Nickye shares her natural journey with the CurlyNikki.com community:
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My natural journey started against my will, but I thank God that it did!!

Three years ago, you couldn't tell me nothin' about my hair. I was constantly complimented on my hair. It was truly "fried, dyed, and laid to the side". My hair grew like a weed so I would change colors and hair styles whenever the wind blew. My last style before my transition was one of my favorites. An asymmetrical creation from my stylist with a platinum front.

Unfortunately, a series of events, a hair "Perfect Storm" forced me to make some hard decisions about what I'd been doing to my hair all my life.

Within a time frame of about 4-5 weeks, I got a touch-up on my perm, changed/added 3 medications, and had a medical procedure where a dye was injected. Well, my hair couldn't take it anymore. Upon waking one morning, I'd found that chunks of my hair had broken off. It was a daily routine-- check and see how much closer I was to bald. A woman's nightmare. Needless to say, I was completely devastated. I wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there. After a teary consultation with my sympathetic stylist, the decision was made to stop the breakage the only way possible. Cut it down to the new growth. My transition to all natural hair took 20 minutes.

I walked out of the salon scared stupid. I had no idea what I'd gotten myself into. My hair had been straightened by hot combs and perms since I could remember, so I had no clue as to what or how my hair would behave. All I knew is that my hair was a bear that could not be completely straightened. I still remember the stylist who claimed she could straighten my hair despite my protests. So instead of the mild perm that I usually recieved at my regular salon, she put in a Super Strength. A couple of days before my next appointment 2 weeks later, I washed it and sprayed some leave in conditioner, the only "'do" I could do to my hair at the time. When I walked in for my appointment & told the receptionist I wanted a wrap that day, she advised me that I couldn't get a wrap with a Jheri Curl. I told her that I'd just gotten a perm, but she didn't believe me. After the stylist came out from the back and looked at me, she admitted she'd finally met the hair that couldn't be straightened. Remembering this, my stomach clenched. "Oh Lord, what have I done??" I was going to look like a crazy puffball. God help me!!

I went straight to every hair supply store & bought every product I could. I was panicking. I could not walk around looking like nobody loved me! To make matters worse, with my hair texture, I needed the control of a gel, but who wants hair that feels like plywood?! I didn't know what to do. My saving grace was already in my cabinet, but it took 2 weeks before I realized it. Elasta QP's Feels Like Silk Liquid Styling Gel. Praise God for this stuff! I can find it in any beauty supply store, and it's only $3.50 for 8 oz. I slapped this in my hair, shook what little bit I had around, and a beautiful curl pattern emerged. I would then take a small bit of oil or "hair milk and go over my hair, so when it dried it was completely soft. I was completely floored. I officially began to fall in love with my hair!
I realized I wanted hair that was healthy, so I needed to educate myself. I was shocked to realize that the ingredients in a great deal of mass produced ethnic hair products cause hair dryness, breakage, and loss. So I was on a mission to find lines that were good for my hair. After typing myself silly on the internet, I've found lines and products that work for me. And the best part is, the following are all sista owned!

-CURLS www.curls.biz - I CANNOT say enough about their products! I love their site, it has so much info about how to care for curly hair. It taught me so much. Every curly that I've recommended it to has fallen in love with it! My faves are the Curlicious Cleansing Creme (Sulfate free), Coconut Sublime Conditioner, CURLS Milkshake and the Whipped Creme for curl definition. The line has products for all textures and curl types. Try it, you will NOT be disappointed!!

-Pretty Natural www.prettynatural-inc.com - all natural products, try the Sheajoba hair dressing..I've had mine snatched away 3 times!! :) The stuff is amazing and smells delicious! The creator of the line also gives consultations, links are on the site.

- CURLS BY SISTERS SMITH www.curlsbysisterssmith.com - A line of of conditioners and styling products for curly hair, made fresh for each order,AND the prices are very reasonable. Products come unscented or in various scents using essential oils; you can also special request scents (I have lemongrass on the way to me now). I use the Just Drenched! Daily Conditioner and wear the DEEEEEEP! Conditioner overnight in vanilla scent. My hair feels wonderful the next day and the scent lulled me right to sleep. Also try the Wet Set Hair Pudding (16 oz. $11.15) and the Butter Me Up! hair butter (4oz $5.25)

-Carol's Daughter www.carolsdaughter.com - I LOVE the Tui Hair Smoothie and the Hair Milk and Hair Balm.

I've since found the style I really like. I now keep it cut in a curly platinum bob. It's so easy and so much fun to maintain.

People stop me in the street asking who my stylist is and what type of process do I have. When I tell them it's natural, they're always surprised. Men and women, black and white, compliment me on my hair. I used to get complimented on my hair when it was permed, but NOTHING like what I now recieve.

And the best part is, I am now free! No more all day salon visits, no more fear of humidity and rain, and NO MORE BAD HAIR DAYS, and lets not even talk about the hundreds of dollars I save in weekly hairdos!!! I don't even know why I'd been altering what God gave me. African-American hair is so diverse and beautiful, and I realized that what I'd been doing was damaging my hair and never even questioned why....it was just what you did. I've had women come to me and tell me that after seeing my hair, they were going natural too. 'Fros, locs, curls, braids, whatever...it's all beautiful and sooooo liberating!

Nickye Powell

31 Weigh in!:
Anonymous said...

what an inspirational story. i love your blond bob! super cute!

Media Moll said...

loves it! and it's so much easier to use dyes and other hair colors when you dont already have a chemical in your hair.

Anonymous said...

Your hair is very pretty! I'm glad you came to love your natural hair. And the colors allows you to switch it up and add some jazz!

Congrats

SHADOW said...

WOW! The fact that her curls are intact after such a level of colour lift is amazing! I have bleached sections in the front of my hair for blue colour and my curls dropped after only processing to a dirty blonde!

Her hair is unique.

SHADOW said...

One closer look, did she use Manic Panic's 'Virgin Snow' to get it so white? I bought that but it did not work for me >.<

b. said...

The short pic with the side wave is AWESOME! I love the color there too. While I admit i'm not 100% sold on the platinum, the bob is supa-cute :D

Thanks for sharing your story...and SMH as I LOL at "I could not walk around looking like nobody loved me!" You really "gave it to us plain", and I thank you for that.

Alicia said...

HOT. That's all I gotta say!

Anonymous said...

beautiful curls

KeetaRay said...

Very pretty!! Your curls are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Gosh! You're hair is gorgeous, I love the colour, but it must be a challenge to upkeep.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. How did she go from having a perm to having hair that would no longer straighten?

Urban Homeschoolers Of Columbus said...

Your curl pattern is so pretty!!!

NewbieNaturalDiva said...

Beautiful Hair! Thank you for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Your hair is pretty. I don't mean this in a mean or judgmental way. But why the platinum blonde? If that's not drasticly altering what's natural about African-American hair (unless you're an albino) I don't know what is. I'm sure your natural color would be just as pretty. Again, not hatin'. Just curious.

Maria said...

Be careful with the hair dye. It can be just as damaging as a relaxer.

Anonymous said...

Another chemical process that can seriously damage Ethnic hair is coloring. Because Ethnic hair is traditionally black (level 1) nearly all haircolor changes require some degree of lightening (bleaching) which can be very damaging to the hair if not carefully done. It is generally recommended that hair color not be lifted more than 4 to 5 levels from the natural color, which does limit the color choices available to women with Ethnic hair.
However, some women want lighter hair and in some cases go from their natural level 1 black color to levels 8 and 9 for bright blondes. This kind of lightening can result in straw-like texture on Ethnic hair even when done professionally and should under no circumstances be attempted without professional assistance. There are many high-end African-American professionals who have been campaigning against the trend of over-lightening Ethnic hair because of the hazards inherent in the process.

Anonymous said...

omg I looooooove the Curls line products everyone should try them. The Goddess Glaze is the BOMB!! Now I only use 2 products on my hair and I'm good to go for a frizz-free, defined hair day!!

Unknown said...

What an inspirational story! I'm glad you shared

Alicia said...

My question is this, what does she do to protect her hair for the damaging chemical-lightening process? Is her hair healthy or does it have a "straw-like" texture that 'Anonymous 8:40am' mentioned. I color my hair also and am always looking to see what others do to protect their colored hair from damage.

Anonymous said...

Love your hair- I am re- inspired to continue transitioning. How did you wear your hair between the short cut in the first pic to the curly bob? Also do you bleach or is that a high lift blonde?

Anonymous said...

I totally love the style! It is Working! You are very pretty and your curls flatter you so much. I must agree with some of the others though regarding the color. I guess you already know you have to be extremely careful with lifting, but I must say that imho, a color in between the two pics posted would probably be more flattering--you know, so that You are wearing the hair, not the hair wearing you, does that make sense? Anyways, we are all on the same journey, making all kinds of discoveries about our beautiful curls/naps. It's great to have blogs like this where we can all come together!

Anonymous said...

www.Curlbiz.com is where it is at!!!! Thanks for the tip!!! I purchased a few of your suggested items--love the way it makes my curls so soft!!!!

Nickye said...

Thanks for all the comments! Just to answer a few...
I've been a total bleached blonde for over 3 years,& had color for over 20. My hair is VERY healthy,VERY strong,nice & soft,wonderful texture,the whole nine. I've never experienced the whole straw texture thing, but have seen it on others. My color has always been professionally done & I know how to care for it. It's actually in much better condition than when I had a perm. Becuz I've such a strong curl pattern,chemical straighteners ("perms") would & could not totally straighten my hair. Wet it and it looked like I had a curly perm. Mild or super strength, the bend was not getting unbent! :)Without a perm, there's no way of getting it straight. The heat that would be required would literally burn it off.I chose blonde because it was the last color I hadn't done.Blue,green,red,you name it,I had it. I haven't seen my actual color since I was 15!:) I have relatives who have naturally light brown & blonde hair,so it never seemed strange to try to me. Also,I get bored easily,& like I said,I hadn't done it before. Color is about the same to me as choosing what earrings to wear, but more fun!One reason I am stopped & asked about my hair so much is because it is so healthy (I should have included a close up, sorry!)Color can be done,it just has to be done by a pro (CANNOT stress that enough!) & moisture, moisture, moisture,is essential along with the proper care!!! Just moisturize like a fiend!!BEFORE any color is attempted, your hair should be healthy in the first place. I'm sorry,I don't know what brand bleach/color is used.If anyone would like to contact me,I'll find out from my stylist what it is. My e-mail is below. I do deep condition often, and overnight.All I have to do is every 6-8 wks,root color touch up w/deep conditioner.Coconut oil nightly. General healthy hair care.Quality products. Boom.Healthy blonde curls.I'm living proof! My hair stays moisturized, is never dry, never greasy. Natural oils and butters is the key.I have NO BREAKAGE, haven't seen or heard tell of a split end since I got of the creamy crack!Anyone who is considering any color treatment should consult and experienced sylist and educate themselves on the care that is required.

I can be contacted at [email protected]

Lastly, I'm still having fun with this cut, color, and my corkscrews!!! God willing & the creek don't rise...I'll be a blonde going forward. Or until I get bored! :)

Be Blessed!

Nickye

Anonymous said...

This was still a weatlth of great information. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Your natural curl pattern is very pretty! However, the bleach blonde has to go... to me you are not natural. You werent born with platinum blonde hair why would you do that to yourself! The color is horrible!

Anonymous said...

Bleach blonde is just as damaging to your hair as a relaxer. Not to mention it is not NATURAL!

Anonymous said...

Wow, people relax. It's her hair, not yours. If you can't be encouraging why comment. The color is her choice and looks good to her; which is all that matters. All the negative comments are the same reasons why most of us wanted to get a relaxer in the first place. So she has color in her hair, that doesn't mean she can't embrace not having a relaxer & consider herself to be natural. Let's be more positive and uplifting with each other.

Unknown said...

Wow, I have to agree with the last comment posted on August 26, 2010. We should be encoraging each other not bringing another person down. Nickye, you're hair is fabulous!!! Do you and don't worry about these haters trying to bring you down. As long as you have healthy hair, that's all that matters.

ashley said...

Sad to see so many responses to the color of this woman's hair rather than her actual hair journey. If it works for her, then fine! It is hypocritical to judge this woman's hair color the same as others may judge the kinky texture of our hair. Everyone's hair is different. If her hair does not break off due to the chemicals, then so be it. We should not enourage such drastic coloring due to the risk of breakage, but we should not pass judgement on those that do. Just saying :-) Keep it positive sistas!

april said...

Definitley,we all should keep the comments here positive. This color is what she likes, so that should be the end of it. Who are any of us to tell her to change. The ones who spit this negativity out are the same ones who get offended when others tell them that natural hair doesn't look good and that they should go get a relaxer. All of us are doing our own natural thing. Why so judgmental? And how can anyone say that another person isn't natural coloring her hair? Are you kidding me? Rude, rude, and hypocritical, some of you really are.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Reading this story has given me hope! I had my hair natural for about a year in high school as a senior and loved it, but then let my Mom talk me into getting a perm for graduation. I wish I hadn't listened, but in the end 3 years later today that experience strengthened my resolve to realize what -I- truly want in my life. One of those things being is to be natural, regardless of what even my family says! Funny thing is, now my Mom has turned natural and is advising others to do so since she's been getting so many compliments. LoL It will take awhile for me to get my hair healthy again, but when it is forget blonde for me, I'm dying my hair bright pink for awhile!!! ;D

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