CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a long term transitioner, my last relaxer was in April 2008. My hair has always been super thick, so at 8, my mom couldn’t handle it and Just For Me’d my beautiful hair. I would relax every 2-3 months, wash and set with a deep conditioner every or every other week. By April 08 I had colored and permed my hair so much that I noticed it was much weaker, not growing as fast and I was tired of being a slave to my perm. Like many, my social activities revolved around my hair and the state it was in at the time. I wanted to feel the rain without running for shelter, swim at the beach and wash it at home without all the drama of a heater, blow drier and flat iron.

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I did the BC on December 10, 2008. I was still transitioning and got frustrated with the two textures, so I put a weave in…per everyone’s suggestion (my not so natural friends). I’m not the one to put a weave in, its just not me, and I hated the feel of it. So after less than 2 weeks, I woke up one day and took the weave out. If I had energy, I would’ve totally cut my hair right after, but needed energy. The next day, I woke up, shampooed, and cut all of the perm off! It felt so good and… liberating. 2008 was probably the worst year in my life, so as I cut every strand, I said goodbye to all of the bad times and the bad memories. When it was all natural, it felt good to feel the curls and the texture of my hair. I was in love!

CN: What was your transition routine? Staple Hair Styles?
While transitioning I did a lot of high buns, tucked under ponytails with the new growth slicked back using IC Olive styling gel or Sebastian Shaper Shapeshift Hybrid Putty (it holds all of the new growth down, but gets white and flaky if you leave it in too long). I did hot comb once, but my hair is so frizzy that the style didn’t last until the next day. I finally used my hats, headbands, headscarves and got creative with hiding my hair. I washed once a week with Pantene natural and relaxed shampoo, deep conditioned with one of the Sedal conditioners (its what my beautician used when I was relaxed, most dominican salons here in New York use it).

CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I used Dr. Miracle’s Hot Gro Super to condition my scalp, every night if I could, along with Hollywood Beauty Carrot Creme more on the hair. This was my routine in the first few months and I must say it did help my hair grow at a faster rate. But I still experienced a lot of breakage with the relaxed ends.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural? Are you happy with your decision?
Based on my religious practices, I always have to wet my hair, and I would avoid praying because I did not want to wet my fresh wash and set. As I mature and get older, I am realizing that I shouldn’t let anything get in the way of me practicing my religion. I also always felt enslaved by the rules society have placed on us as black women. We must have our hair straight to get jobs, or to be preferred at work. The proper look is to not show your natural hair. The hell with that, Allah gave me beautiful hair naturally, so I am going to leave it the way he gave it to me. I would not change this decision for the world. We have everything we need to be happy and self sufficient within ourselves and on this earth, and me leaving my hair in its natural state is part of my whole natural transition, from the food that I eat to the products that I use. Its hard finding the right products for my hair, but thanks to natural hair pioneers such as you CurlyNikki, more of us can go natural without being scared. Thanks for all of your help. We must keep sharing the information for other people who are scared and don’t know how to make the transition.

1st pic-Permed hair 05
2nd pic-Permed hair 06
3rd pic-2 wks after BC