Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I transitioned for exactly 11 months. I big chopped January 23, 2015, so as of right now I am about 5 months post big chop. I chose to transition because I did not want to have extremely short natural hair with limited styling options and minimal knowledge on how to properly care for my natural hair. Also, I tried to go natural before and relaxed after 6 months. This time around, my plan was was to use my time transitioning to conduct lots of research on natural hair and that's what I did.
When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
It was amazing to see my natural hair texture after so many years of relaxing. I got my first relaxer at 9 years old and my last relaxer at 25. Even during the transition about 9 to 10 months in I could see my texture in comparison to the weak damaged relax ends and at that point was confident I made the right decision. So, to simply answer this question, my reaction was excitement.
How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Most members of my family and my boyfriend are supportive. My mom has even come around. She still thinks there is a chance I will relax again, but she couldn't be more wrong. I love my natural hair, and I will never relax it again.
What was your transition routine (products included)?
Well for the first few months I flat ironed it to blend the two textures. I got braided extensions twice. And from month 7 up until I big chopped I either wore a twist and curl or a braid and curl using perm rods. Perm rods were my savior when it came to blending the two textures of my hair. My staple products during the transition were Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk, Olive Oil, Giovanni Direct Leave-In, and Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner. I pre-poo/detangled with Olive Oil. Wash my hair in 4 sections. Deep condition with the jojoba monoi, and style with the Giovanni Leave-In, Olive Oil, & the Curl & Style Milk (my version of the LOC method). This routine made the second half of my transition a lot easier than the first half when I knew nothing about natural hair.
How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
The pre-poo method was key in preventing breakage, I would finger detangle my dry hair with olive oil to loosen the tangles before washing, and that would keep my hair from becoming a tangled mess as soon as water hit it. Using the LOC method I mentioned above was crucial in keeping my hair soft and moisturized.
Why did you choose to go natural?
I initially went natural because I was so bored with my hair. I felt like it looked bad 80 percent of the time, and I was tired of getting relaxers every 8 weeks. The more I learned about Afro-textured hair, the more I wanted to continue my journey to healthy unprocessed hair. I read many testimonials on how free people felt, and how much they loved their natural hair texture and it inspired me to keep going. Now I know how they feel and I hope to inspire others during their transition.