-Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
When I decided to go natural, it just so happened that I hadn’t permed my hair in almost 3 months. I had about an an inch and a half of new growth, and I felt totally ready to chop all the relaxed hair off. My boyfriend was NOT feeling that idea, and I did sort of spring it on him out of the blue, so I agreed to let it grow out a bit more. I think he was hoping I’d change my mind after a while. Then, a few months later a stylist made the decision for me (in the name of a Photo Shoot!), and took off almost 2 inches of my hard earned natural hair. So I was pretty much back where I started…
-When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I BC’d on Mothers Day of this year (08). The stylist that I mentioned had hard pressed my hair before he cut it, so I didn’t get to play with my natural hair until the morning after the photo shoot. I had cried at my loss of length, but then once I saw my true texture I was beyond pleased. It literally fit me perfectly. Part cottony poof, and part silky curl. Weird, unique, and very me. Plus it was so easy to have short hair. I spent the first 2 months exclusively co-washing, throwing in some leave in, and walking out the door.
-What was your transition routine (products included)?
During my transition I would wash my hair (once every 2 weeks) with Loreal Body Vive Shampoo for fine hair (because it had the Ceramide-R formula that Loreal had spent so much time developing. If I’m not mistaken, it rebuilds the lost ceramides naturally present in hair and re-fortifies it…or something like that.) and I’d condition with whatever was in the bathroom. That could mean Pantene, Queen Helene Cholesterol, or the little bottles you get in boxes of hair coloring. Then I’d apply a mixture of 100% Shea Butter and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and twist my hair around my finger, then pin into about 20-25 bantu knots. In the morning I’d take down the knots, finger comb it a little, and gently pick out the roots to hide the parts.(It was actually pretty low manipulation, considering that as a relaxed head I WASHED, BLOW FRIED, FLAT IRONED AND BUMPED WITH A CURLING IRON EVERY FOUR DAYS!)
-What was your staple hair style during the transition?
Bantu knot-outs held back with a toothed headband, which gave me an artificial curly poof. If I was feeling lazy I’d wrap my head with a 3×3 peice of black fabric, bunned in the back. I only had the one color, and it was a bit drab for warm weather, so I couldn’t really be lazy once Spring came.
-How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
Every night I would re-knot my hair. I’d spritz each small section with water, then apply a small amount of olive oil, and comb gently before twisting and knotting. I NEVER combed dry. After a few days I’d co-wash, moisturize, section, and knot. I think my main focus was making sure that my new growth never got too tangled, and my relaxed hair never got too dry. If I slacked off, I’d have to load up my wet hair with conditioner and very carefully work the comb through my hair in 4 or 5 sections, starting from the tips, up. Then I’d braid the sections to keep them from misbehaving while I worked on the next one.
-Why did you choose to go natural?
*Trying to maintain the facade of Straight, Silky, Swinging hair EVERY DAY was causing too much damage to my hair. In order to keep the look I wanted (which just so happened to be Deceptively Straight, like it grew out of my head that way) required I used a lot of heat, and very little moisture. My hair would break off as fast as it would grow, and I would always end up having to cut it back up to shoulder length. And then I really had to address WHY I felt I needed my hair to be immaculately straightened in order to feel confident in my appearance. I had some issues to work through.
*A weave that was put in for a photo-shoot RIPPED my hair out of my scalp, and putting a relaxer on it just sounded painful and foolish. (I really just planned on nursing my hair and scalp back to health before giving myself a touch up, but once I got a peek at my texture, I got curious.)
*I wanted to be real. And I wanted to prove to myself, my family, my boyfriend, any anybody else I ran into, that natural hair was not only entirely do-able, but it could be BEAUTIFUL.
I love my hair, and as it grows and changes I learn new things all the time. I do have ONE complaint. Every time I find a style or a routine that I like, my hair changes and I have to figure out something else. Hopefully, with time and length, I’ll be able to form a solid regimine that lasts longer than a month. 🙂