-Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
Very short term. My last relaxer was in late April ’08, and then I did my big chop in June. I had about 1/2 inch or so of new growth. My transition was so short because I had tried to do a long transition in 2006 and I had a difficult time dealing with the two textures after 3 months which lead me to relax instead of following through. I knew that if I went all out with an early BC, then there would be no turning back. Also, this time I did better research to prepare myself for what to do and expect with natural hair, and I was finally ready to let go of my relaxed ends which had lost their value to me.
-When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
June 27, 2008. I was in shock because of how short it was. I had always had shoulder length to BSL relaxed hair and this was very different. I also was pleased to be able to see my true hair texture for the first time in 14 years. It was very different from all the negative things I had been told all these years. I found that it could appear wavy, curly, coily, or nappy afro depending on the styling techniques I used. I love the versatility! I also realized that it was not as difficult to manage as I thought it would be, probably because I am working with the texture instead of working against it (like my mother did when I was a child). Working with the texture and using the correct products (no mineral oil, petrolatum–natural oils instead) and techniques (i.e. only combing/detangling when wet with conditioner) makes all the difference.
-What was your transition routine? Staple Hair Styles?
-How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I was still using a hair moisturizer that contained mineral oil. Because my new growth was so short I hadn’t started to experience the breakage issues yet. Back in ’06 during my first attempt, it was this problem that made me go back to relaxers. I was not prepared and did not realize that natural hair has drastically different needs. That’s why this time I did the cut before that became an issue, and then I threw away all my relaxed hair products and replaced them with products that are better for natural hair.
-Why did you choose to go natural? Are you happy with your decision?
I chose to go natural because it was important to me to know my hair texture and embrace what God had given me. I got my first relaxer when I was 9 or 10, by age 13 I realized that I wanted to be natural again. At that time I did not have the support and knowledge to do it. And I was caught up in being known for my “pretty, long, healthy (looking) relaxed hair” that had become part of my identity for years, so it took me 10 years to finally break free and be me with my nappy, curly, coily hair. I know I shocked some folks, but the bottom line is I did it for me. I am very happy with my decision, and I wish I would have done it sooner. Now as I grow out my truly healthy head of hair, I hope to inspire other women with highly textured hair to embrace their own natural beauty.
I have a fotki which chronicles my progress http://members.fotki.com/