On the Couch with Pamela- 40 and Natural!


by Pamela Staver of Pamela Going Natural

I am a 43 year old curly transitioning to natural hair. I began my journey back in December of 2009 when I noticed that my hair was changing due to chemical relaxers, neglect, heredity and age. My hair, on the sides near the front, was beginning to thin. This really upset me! So, I decided, no more relaxing and that I was going to learn everything that I could about maximizing my hair’s health and taking care of it myself.

I began studying sites like Curlynikki and others online to get tips on how to care for my hair. I loved these sites but became really discouraged and disheartened to learn that because of my unique hair challenges, I’m not always able to achieve the styles and looks that I see on others. At first I was so tempted to big chop, but, because my hair had begun to thin and seemed to be growing considerably slower than when I was younger, I was afraid that if I chopped all my hair down to a TWA, that it would remain that way forever! You hear people talk about how they did the big chop thinking, “Hey, it’s just hair…it’ll grow back”. Well, I wasn’t so confident that mine WOULD grow back! So, I decided to do a long, slow transition.

I learned about protective styling, half-wigs and keeping my hair moisturized as well as handling it gently. To my delight, it does seem to be thriving and growing! Once I began to see some progress, I did start slowly trimming the relaxed ends off a little at a time. Now, about 14 months later, the back and sides of my hair are completely natural and I only have a little bit of relaxed hair left on the top. My natural hair is about 5.5 – 6 inches long in most spots on my head, when stretched. The hair at my temples doesn’t seem to be as thin anymore…at least it’s not getting any thinner – LOL! My initial goal was to grow out my natural hair to the point where it was about the same length as the relaxed hair was when I began my transition. I think I’ve reached that goal! Now, I’m aiming for shoulder length. I’ve also joined Kim Coles’ Grow Out Challenge on NaturallyCurly.com, so when the challenge ends in July, I plan to trim off the remainder of my relaxed ends…that is if I’ve reached my goal by then ;0) Check out my new Youtube channel for updates on my journey.



What struggles have you faced as an older curly and what solutions can you share with others?

23 Weigh in!:
Anonymous said...

Hey Pamela,
Love this post. I decided to do the darn thing when I turned 37. However, I wished that I had done it much sooner!!! I thought you were describing me in your article....I was like listen to this "INPOSTER"! LOL I digree, but my main reason was because I started to thin at the top of my crown...and that is a no no girl! I've had my challenges like anyone else but at the end of the day my hair is THANKING me for it!

karla4805 said...

Hi Pamela,
I'll check out your blog. I am 40 and started transitioning about a year ago this month. My goal was to cut the rest of my relaxed ends this month but it's been going so well I think I will go another six months. I have slowly been cutting the relaxed ends off but still have about 5-6 inches of relaxed hair. The front of my hair was thinning when I first started but is doing much better now. I'll check out your blog, us 40 year olds have to stick together!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela

I didn't transition till age 35. It was something so new for me. I think my biggest struggle is wearing what I think are age appropriate styles. My hair is also thinning around the edges and Ive got alot of gray..lol I don't regret my decision at all

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for this post. I am 40 and noticed the exact same problem- hair thinning around the temples and on the sides a couple of years ago. I finally realized I had to stop relaxing my hair two years ago and began transitioning. The sides have grown back and the hairline at my temples has stopped receding and will hopefully grow back in full. Looking forward to seeing your updates!

Califia's Lap said...

I'm 37 now and didn't start my natural journey until i was 36. I loved going to youtube and watching the videos but I always wanted to see someone who was in my age range talk about their hair journey. Now I can check out your videos!!! I'm a year into the journey and have loved all the things I'm learning! Thanks so much for your story. I will definitely check you out on youtube!

amartianslove said...

Very inspirational! She's stunningly beautiful :) Team Natural! lol

Anonymous said...

Love your blog and get great ideas for both myself and my daughter, but as a 42 year old woman, I have to say that 40s is not considered old. Older than you, yes, but not old... You'll understand in a few years...

Anonymous said...

Yay!!! Someone my age! LOL. And so pretty. Good luck with your journey.

caracara said...

Hey Pamela--congrats and continued success on your hair journey! Please check out the supportive thread on the CN forum for ladies ages 35+...

Andrea said...

Last November, I decided to go natural, at age 52 and haven't looked back. It's been quite the journey, but I love every hill and valley of the journey and feel so much more confident about myself now.

Anonymous said...

How encouraging to hear from some "mature" naturals. I'm 45 and have been natural for only 6 months. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I only wish I had made the decision sooner. So far I haven't had any issues with thinning, but I don't know how to manage the inevitable gray hairs that are showing up. Demi colour, semi colour, dye, henna, or just let the grays take over? I hate the way dyes and colours make my hair feel.

Anonymous said...

I'm 46 and went natural over 12 yrs. ago. I have loved the discovery process over the years.
I would highly recommend frequent deep conditioning treatments to maintain moisture. Henna is a great way to color stray grays and add sheen. Stay away from heat. Get a PROFESSIONAL trim/cut 1-2x/yr.
I have had NO problem with thinning, breakage or hair issues and get more compliments on my hair now moreso than yrs ago when I had MBL relaxed hair.

Good luck ladies!!!

Pamela said...

Thanks for the love everyone, and thank YOU Nikki for posting my story on your site. I am enjoying the natural journey and just wish I had done it sooner! I appreciate all of the encouragement and I really appreciate this site.It's been my saving grace. - We naturals all gotta stick together, LOL!

gstaver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gstaver said...

Well I wanted to ad a few things. I am Pamela's husband. I met Pamela about 10 years ago. I had never dated a Black woman before. So I didn't really know a dang thing about black hair. I learned real fast not to get it wet. I am suprised she married me after what I DID. A little over a year ago she started talking about going natural. I was all for it. I really love the looks she does. I think it looks very professional and very very sexy. The only draw back is the world gets the sexy look... I get the doo-rag. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Oh I love that your husband commented! So great to have a SUPPORTIVE partner!!!:)

Curly1

Pamela said...

My "hubs" is talking about the satin scarf I wear at night to protect my curls - sorry babe...gotta do what I gotta do! The reference he made about getting my hair wet when I was relaxed, well, that's a different post for a later time! Suffice to say, I wasn't happy! LOL! Y'all know what I'm talking about ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm 46 and been natural almost 2 yrs. The one main struggle for me is retaining moisture. My solution was to be sure and stay on top of moisturizing and sealing....I don't go more than 2 days adding some type of moisture to my hair...distilled water in a spray bottle mixed with EVOO, Aloe Vera Juice, & glycerin and sealing, not just the ends, but root to tip with some type of oil. This has been a big plus for me! I don't have any issues with thinning, in fact, my hair is even thicker now than it was relaxed! I find being natural makes me look even younger....love it!

Pamela said...

Anonymous @ 9:42, I agree with staying on top of moisturizing and sealing! My hair is SUPER dry so I have to moisturize daily. I too have a mixture of water, EVOO and Aloe Vera juice in my spray bottle and I try to make sure I spritz it everyday and then seal my ends with either Coconut oil or Shea Butter. This is an absolute must for me.

Monday's Baby said...

I enjoyed the post, but I agree with Anonymous @ 5:39 pm...since when is 40 considered "older"? It's older than 25, yes, but younger than 60. All that to say, "older" is very relative. Perhaps discussing things such as age-related decrease in hair growth rates or thinning edges (not necessarily) due to age would be a different way to discuss similar topics?

Anonymous said...

Hi Pamela - your video was lovely and your hair is gorgeous.

Hubs is too sweet!

I am 49 and have thin (THIN) edges. It may grows 1/2 inch and then shed - whether or not I henna it.

There is no traction alopecia at issue here, I don't braid my 4b/c hair.

Has anyone else experienced this? What are your suggestions?

jadar47 said...

This is Great! I'm 47 and have been natural for nearly 10 years but to be honest just really began to take note of the health of my hair about three years ago when yes, I began to thin on the edges. But daily moisture and castor oil daily applied made a world of a difference! CN's great henna advice has helped with the grays around said edges. I love it! But does anybody have the dry scalp issue?

Pamela said...

Thanks@jadar47, Dry scalp? YESSS!!!! OMG! My scalp is so terribly dry it drives me nuts. The only way I can keep the "itchies" at bay is to spritz a mixture of water, olive oil, jojoba oil and aloe vera juice on my hair and scalp at least once a day. This works out well when I'm wearing my hair in protective twists styles and updos, but when I wear my hair out, I have to actually apply some kind of oil or moisture to my scalp to keep it from itching. I also learned that I can keep the itch down if I co-wash or shampoo at least once every other week. This seems to help a great deal as well.

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