When it comes to my transition, I’m an example of what not to do! Fortunately, I’ve learned lots since going natural and have gotten pretty good at caring for my hair.
CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
M: I would say I was a short term transitioner, since I transitioned for about 6 months. I had my last relaxer in August 2007 and BCed in February 2008.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
M: I BCed on February 26, 2008, so I’m almost at my one year nappiversary. I hadn’t intended to BC so soon, but went I went to the natural hairstylist for a straw set, I had a fist-sized spot of breakage at the back of my head where my ponytail sat! There was nothing left to do but let those straight ends go. However, I loved my hair from the very beginning. I loved how it was uniquely me, how versatile it was, how it just felt so liberating and authentic.
CN: What was your transition routine? Staple Hair Styles?
M: My staple hairstyle was a ponytail. Bad idea! I hadn’t found nappturality yet, so I knew nothing about co-washing, only combing hair wet, washing in sections, braidouts, twistouts, etc. I couldn’t comb through my new growth and didn’t know how to handle it, so I’d just pull it back.
I’d also occasionally go to a stylist to get my hair washed, blowdried and straightened, which was the only time I could comb through it. If I had known about the risks of heat damage I would have never done that. Fortunately, my hair wasn’t damaged. I haven’t used any heat since I BCed because I don’t want to lose my kinks and curls!
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
M: I used Qhemet Biologic’s burdock root butter cream (BRBC), which is a fantastic product that I continue to use, but it wasn’t enough to combat my terrible routine! After I BCed I would co-wash my hair at night, moisturize with BRBC and seal with coconut oil, then twist it at night for a twist-out the next day. After it got warmer I would do wash and go’s with various leave-ins and styling products.
Now that my hair is longer (about 5-6 inches) I’m all about the protective styles. I clean my hair in twists or braids with J.R. Liggett’s Shampoo Bar, Dr. Bronners’ Castille Soap, bentonite clay or co-wash with T.J.’s Nourish Spa. I deep condition with Aubrey Organic’s conditioners kicked up with honey and Vatika oil, then use Giovanni Direct Leave-In. Finally I twist or braid my hair with my homemade shealoe, QB BRBC or Jane Carter Twist and Lock, then seal the ends with Vatika oil. I’ll leave the style in for about a week, then rock a twistout or braidout for a week. I also love henna, ACV rinses and hair teas.
CN:Why did you choose to go natural? Are you happy with your decision?
M:I decided to go natural because its something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. I initially went “natural” 10 years ago, when I was 14. When I went to my hairdresser to do my BC, I took pictures of Jada Pinkett rocking her short natural. She told me that my hair wouldn’t do that naturally and instead of helping me get to know my hair, she informed me that I would have to texturize it. I kept it short and texturized for almost 2 years, but I had no idea what I was doing and eventually returned to the relaxer. After a variety of styles and hair lengths, including having to cut my hair down to about 3 inches the day before my college graduation because it broke off due to the stress of my senior year, I was ready for a change.
In August 2007 I was about to start a new chapter of my life, law school, and wanted to start afresh with my hair. I wanted to discover my hair the way it grew out of my head, to embrace my authentic self, to escape years of chemicals and to break free from my reliance on hairdressers. I discovered that I loved my hair, that I could do so much with it, that I didn’t need to depend on a stylist (I haven’t been to one since my BC), that I could even create my own natural hair products. I love my hair and am amazed by how quickly it has grown. I’m looking forward to new discoveries as my hair and I continue to grow together.