-Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I consider myself a long-term transitioner. I had sister twists for about a month and a half and decided, during that time, that I would no longer relax my hair. I removed the sister twists after that time and continued to transition for about 3-4 months. I would visit a natural stylist that would snip small amounts of my permed ends off at every visit. I never had to do a ‘big chop’ because by the time I was ready to get rid of all of the permed remaining portions, my natural hair was already at a pretty decent length.
-When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I never had to do a true ‘big chop.’ However, all of my permed ends were gone by November of 2006. My initial reaction to my natural hair was one of trepidation. Because I had spent so much of my life with permed hair, I could not truly remember what my natural hair was like. I called my mother to see if she could give me some idea as to what I was getting myself in to (lol). When I was finally all natural…it was such a feeling of true freedom and self-acceptance. It was akin to the feeling of pride that I experienced during election night 2008. For the first time in my life, I was not only okay with the person that God had made me to be but I was appreciative of my very own uniqueness (is that a word?-lol).
-What was your transition routine (products included)?
Initially, I was somewhat of a product junkie. By that I mean that I assumed that I had to find just the right products to use with my natural hair (it didn’t take me too long to figure out that the products that I used prior to transitioning did NOT work on my natural hair). I have a masters degree in natural health and am always looking for the best ways to attain results without having to utilize chemicals, etc-plus I’ve always been a bit frugal (I prefer this term to cheap). Soon I began researching ways to provide my hair with the moisture that it craves and the nourishment that it needs. Today I still have some products that I will pick up (if the price is right). But my main products include shea butter and homemade spritzes and deep conditioners.
-What was your staple hair style during the transition?
During transitioning I wore my hair pulled back in a bun. This was the style that I most often wore when I was relaxed, too. So aside from having some waves and crinkles appear, my transitioning was only noted due to me sharing this information.
-How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I didn’t do anything really special. Due to the style that I usually wore my hair in (bun) the lack of fidgeting with my hair prevented breakage. When my hair was not in a bun it was because I had visited a natural hair salon. I lived close to Baltimore at the time (they had plenty of salons to choose from) and my job required me to travel, so when in Atlanta I also had my choice of salons. They would usually do a type of twist with a rod set. Once I had a flexirod style (and absolutely loved it!).
-Why did you choose to go natural?
I have three younger siblings that are fair-skinned (two of which have hair types that are 3a/3b). When my younger sister went to get her learner’s permit (from MVA) she put down that she was ‘biracial.’ My other two younger siblings didn’t see anything wrong with it and thought that they would do the same, if they could get away with it. (Both our mother and their father are African-American and the only two races that they are mixed with are black and black). This trying to ‘pass’ really hit me hard and I had to take a good look at the example that I was setting. As an African-American woman I spent my entire life chemically straightening my hair-unconsciously doing the very same thing that sent shivers up and down my spine (trying to ‘pass’). My older sister and I had always stated that we would go natural when we got older. When I turned 30, I decided that it was long overdue for me to be me. The me that God intended. The me that is not ashamed to be just who I am.