Were you a slow transitioner or Big Chopper and why?
My last relaxer was August 2008 and I transitioned for 9 months and then I did the big chop May 2009. I can't believe it, but I actually did the big chop myself! Woke up one day and I just knew that it was time. I share this story quite often, but I went to a salon after about three months of transitioning and the natural hair stylist made me feel bad that I wasn’t ready to BC. She implied that I wasn’t a "True" naturalista. She also said that the texture of my hair wouldn’t curl on its own and it would look more like a combed out Fro. After leaving I was devastated (to the point of tears) and was convinced that going natural was not for me. However, after receiving a great deal of encouragement from other naturalistas, I decided that I would continue the process and have learned through that horrifying experience that each person's hair, texture, transitioning experience and journey is unique and special to them and however long you choose to transition, remember it is your hair, your decision and only your level of comfortability that matters. The end.
How did your family and friends react to your decision to go natural? How did they react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My family and friends thought I had lost my everlasting mind. They honestly thought I was going through some type of crisis. I received comments like:
"Oh, it's different"
"Hopefully it will grow out soon"
Ummm, what's going on with you?
"Are you trying to prove a point?"
My absolute favorite response was... "You know you not gon' find a man with your hair looking like that."
I'm not sure if making such a drastic change in my appearance gave me an extra level of confidence, but I really wasn't bothered by their negative comments. It was a time for exploration for me. A time to dig deep and become comfortable in my own skin and not hide behind the length of my hair. It forced me outside of my comfort zone and I soon came to realize that the more I grew to love it, the people around me grew to accept and love it too :)
What's your current hair routine?
Okay so, let me just be completely honest. The longer and thicker my hair gets, the lazier I become. When my hair was shorter I would wash it once a week with shampoo, but during that week I would cowash it and deep condition it and I would do henna treatments once a week... BUT NOW, aint nobody got time for that! LOL!
I now wash my hair using Shea Moisture: Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo and Conditioner, The Conditioner by Paul Mitchell (leave-in) and sometimes I throw in Tresseme Naturals conditioner.
I am a bun wearer to the core, so I normally wash and detangle my hair on Sunday morning before church and I leave it that way for about... 2 weeks. Don't judge me:) With my work out schedule this seems to be the best routine for me and I notice that my hair responds well to low manipulation styles. I now henna about once every other month and I regularly use a spray bottle with water and EVOO to condition my hair about every other day.
I also will place my hair in itty bitty twists and wear those for about 2 to 3 weeks and then take them out and I'll then wear that style (twist out) for about another 2 weeks. Sometimes I blow out my hair before twisting it up and this helps tremendously with shrinkage, but sometimes when I want to give my hair a rest from the heat, I'll twist it dry.
Last year was the first time that I had my hair blown out and flat ironed and I loved it so much that I had it done again this year. Last year I didn't experience any heat damage and my hair curled right back up. I'm still rocking it straight at the moment, so I'm hoping that I have the same experience as last time.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
- Girl maintaing a bun is EXTRA easy, hence the reason why I do it!! I just wrap a scarf around the front and place a satin bonnet over my head and call it a day!
- I maintain the twists by placing my hair is a low ponytail using a knee high scrunchie and then I cover my hair using a satin bonnet.
- I maintain the twist out by placing my hair in a pineapple using the knee high scrunchie and then placing the satin bonnet over my head.
-I maintain my hair when its straight by placing it in pin curls!! Man, this works wonders and I'm able to keep it straight for about 2 to 3 weeks!! (During the cold months)
How do you maintain healthy length?
By keeping my hair in low manipulation styles, keeping my hair moisturized by always using a leave in, routinely spraying my hair with a spray bottle (water + EVOO) and also by taking my time during the detangling process. Whew....that detangling process is a BEAST, but I've learned that not being in a hurry saves my tresses in the long run!
What's the best thing about being curly?
I use to say how easy it was, but I quickly changed that tune! I love being natural because you don't look like everybody else. Although 99.9% of the population is natural now (I kid), it still has a WOW factor to it. Even if I'm in a room with 10 other naturalistas, we all have a unique appeal because we're rocking our styles differently! Natural hair is versatile and its down right healthier for your hair. Before going natural my hair would grow to about the top of my shoulder and then it would stop and no matter what I did to it, it would never grow any longer. But now honey, it is doing the dang on thang and now some of those same people that were wanting to commit me into the insane asylum when I did the BC, are now apart of the ever growing natural hair family:) Won't He do it!!
Where can we find you?
You can find me on Instagram (AntreCarr) or on Facebook! I actually have an entire album on Facebook that details my entire natural hair journey.
It's been amazing sharing my journey with you all! Be encouraged and Be You :)