-Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I transitioned for 8 months. I don’t know if that’s considered long or not. I was planning on transitioning for a full year but, I just felt ready at the 8 month mark and did it myself at home! I wanted to have enough length so that I would feel comfortable at work with my natural hair. I am an elementary school special education teacher and I wanted to make sure I looked “professional”. I’ve since realized that your hair does not define you and having short hair doesn’t make you unprofessional!
-When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I did the BC on October 11, 2008! I did it myself that night while my good friend watched via webcam. I was laughing and screaming with every cut and I felt shocked when I cut the last piece of hair. I was smiling all night and couldn’t stop touching my curls. It felt wonderful to run my fingers through my natural hair after all of the hard work I put into caring for the two different textures.
-What was your transition routine (products included)?
I shampooed with a sulfate-free shampoo and deep conditioned once a week. I parted my hair into four sections (as if preparing for a relaxer) and shampooed and conditioned each section. This reduced the amount of hair loss and kept the two textures from tangling so easily. I did a lot of flat twists in the front of my hair and would braid the back. I would then put little rods at the ends to help them curl and sleep with a satin bonnet and let my hair dry overnight. I did not use heat such as blow driers or flat irons on my hair while I transitioned. I wanted my hair to grow in as healthy as possible so I let it air dry for the most part. Some of the products I used were Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner, Garnier Fructis Leave-in Conditioning Cream, Fantasia IC Hair Polisher Styling Gel, Cantu Shea Butter Conditioning Repair Cream, Shea Moisture Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner, and Sunsilk Captivating Curls Gel & Cream Twist.
-What was your staple hair style during the transition?
While I transitioned I did a lot of flat twists in the front with braid-outs in the back. I also did the classic bun, two strand flat twist-out, cornrow-out, braid-out, and rodsets. When my stylist did a rodset I was placed under a hooded drier. This was the only time heat was applied to my hair during the 8 months that I transitioned.
-How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I used the Garnier Fructis Leave-in Conditioning Cream a lot and I also used the Shea Moisture Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner. These products seemed to really work for me. I also used the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Condtioner to deep condition my hair. After shampooing with a sulfate-free shampoo I would place the conditioner on my hair and let it sit under a shower cap for 30-40 minutes before rinsing it out. This really helped to keep my hair soft and manageable during my transition.
-Why did you choose to go natural?
I started reading about natural cures and was concerned about the things I was putting in my body. I also changed the way I was eating and opted for more organic and natural things instead of processed foods. When I thought about it, I realized that putting a chemical on my hair every 6-8 weeks did not fall in line with my new way of living so I decided to stop getting relaxers as well. I was nervous about how I would care for my hair and started doing a lot of research so I could educate myself on the best way to care for my natural hair. It really paid off because I was able to care for my hair for 8 months and had several transitional styles that really worked well for me! I enjoyed the process and have no regrets about being who I am. I’m Naturally Me!