Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a long-term transitioner and transitioned for 23 months beginning in September 2010, my senior year of college. I decided not to do a Big Chop because I never felt mentally prepared to have a TWA and I wanted some length for my graduation.
When did you finally part with your relaxed ends? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I removed the last bits of my relaxer on August 11, 2012. My initial reaction was shock at how much my hair shrunk up without relaxed ends to camouflage the shrinkage and weigh it down. My second reaction, and lasting one, was “FINALLY!” I was very happy…after 10 years of relaxers, it’s still hard for me to believe that my hair is 100% natural again!
How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Oh gosh, everyone LOVES it. Compliments left and right. My dad is over the moon because he always hated me getting relaxers in the first place. But the best feeling is that I’ve inspired a number of friends and family members to do the same thing.
What was your transition routine?
During my transition, I experimented with different shampoos and conditioners. A couple of my favorites are the Organix line and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. I also used some conditioners from Tresseme and even some specialty Suave products.
What was your staple hair style during the transition?
My go-to transitioning style was the straw set pretty much the entire two years. I would set my hair at night with regular drinking straws using water, Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Treatment and IC Fantasia or Eco Styler gel. After my hair air-dried overnight, I would remove the straws and separate the curls with my fingers coated in either olive or almond oil. At night, I’d wrap my hair in a satin scarf and this would help it last up to 7 days. When I was too lazy to do all of that, I would just do some variation of a bun. I have tutorials for all of this on my YouTube channel. Just search my username: “diimpulz.”
How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I didn’t have a lot of trouble with breakage, but I kept my hair moisturized with the leave-in treatments and oils mentioned above!
Why did you choose to go natural?
I went away for school and it came down to the point where, as a broke college student, I had to decide between using my $80 to pay for a relaxer touch up and trim or to pay for the round-trip train ticket to go home. I was on the verge of choosing to get my hair done when I thought…what am I doing? I’m really going to not see my family for another three months so I can get my hair straightened? Never looked back.