CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
L: I was a step down transitioner. It took me a long time to let go of other people’s expectations for my hair. In 2005 I went from long relaxed hair to short relaxed hair. In 2006 I grew my hair out while using a mild relaxer that gave me a texturized pseudo afro. Starting December 2007 I let my roots grow out for 6 months and did my BC at a natural hair salon.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
L: I BC May 2008. I felt shocked and traumatized. I was so used to my relaxed hair weighing my roots down and making them look longer that I was not expecting so much shrinkage. I worried that I looked like a boy way more than when I had short relaxed hair. I felt embarrassed for being so vain and attached to having long hair.
CN: What was your transition routine? Staple Hair Styles?
L: Wash and go pseudo fro or buns. Styled with Paul Mitchell’s Foaming Pomade.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
L: Just the Foaming Pomade and Creme of Nature shampoo. Didn’t have any breakage but the crown of my head started to mat where the two hair textures met. It was really hard to comb that area. So much easier now that it is all one texture. Now I do hot oil treatments with coconut oil. Shampoo with Creme of Nature and finish with Hair Milk or Butter cream or Aloe Vera Gel.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural? Are you happy with your decision?
L: I’ve always hated the heat styling required for relaxed hair. My sensitive scalp burns easily and my thick hair took an hour to blow dry and another hour to flat iron. My friend did a braid out on my relaxed hair in 2004 and I realized I looked better with curly hair. I could be pretty with long relaxed hair or radiant with curly natural hair. I started borrowing natural hair books from the library. I loved “Good Hair’ by Lonnice Bonner but I wasn’t ready yet to let go. I decided to cut my hair super short after an accident where I burnt a chunk of hair off in the back. Short hair made me feel liberated and strong, like I was opting out of the Black girl long hair competition. Then I decided to try the mild relaxer. I got a few negative comments from men about my pseudo afro but I loved it and it wasn’t hard to care for. Finally after a year of the pseudo fro, I was ready to make the plunge in 2008.
I am very happy with my decision. I’ve discovered the beauty of my natural texture and color. I never knew my hair was capable of doing the things it does. I love that I can twist it without needing rubber bands or barrettes to keep them together. I love my natural curl pattern. I hadn’t seen my real hair since 1989 when I got a relaxer and stopped wearing my hair in little girl pony braids. Twisting my hair may take an hour plus but at least I can do it in front of the TV.
1st pic = big chop May 2008
2nd pic = December 2008 double strand twist out
3rd pic = January 2009 single strand twist