CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
SJ: I started my transition from relaxed to natural in November 1998 (TEN years ago!)…… This was the date of my last relaxer… I had my first relaxer at the tender age of 12. So after 20 years – I was done. Being ‘natural’ then was hardly en vogue. I am grateful for what I see today!!
Early in 1998, I started looking into healthier hair care…..I read a great book called NO LYE by Tulani Kinard. It changed my life! No matter what, I would never go back to Relaxers. It was time to make a serious change. My hair was thin, and 3 different colors, and only ‘long’ in two places. I had no hair line.. NO matter what my hair dresser said (and she was great) I did not see anything good going on with my hair while it was relaxed …
… I worried about my hair and my career, and I was concerned that I would not be accepted for my talent and abilities, because I would not be wearing straight styles any longer. Honestly, I listened to all of the negative talk about how I could get ahead by being a conformist. I had to kill that voice in my head…. I wore braids off and on from 1994…. and then realized how much I liked them and….. I could see great growth when I got them( like my hair line coming back)….. Of course I did not know how to really take care of my braids or my hair then, and there was a stigma ( as there still is to a degree) about braids in the early 90’s….
After Reading the Book…. My perspective changed……
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
SJ: I never really did any Big Chopping…I wore braids exclusively beginning in December 1998………. Each time, my braider would lightly press my hair, and then trim the ends….Since I HATED short hair on myself… I would not let anyone see me without braids… I only trimmed relaxed ends.
About a year later (January 2000) , 1/2 of my hair was relaxed ( 5 inches ) and about 6 inches was natural….We Chopped off the Relaxer! I had some great styles then with Human Hair braids……..For the next 1.5 years, wow – what length I had. Human Hair braids really helped to grow my hair, due to its softness and the moisture I used all the time. I had about 12 to 14 inches – and by my Wedding Day, Sept 2001.
A bad day came though…… My braider – that I had for 7 years!!! – She quit braiding to pursue other interests.
Unfortunately, I never found anyone quite as grand as she….She was a friend and my stylist…. That meant I had to now deal with my own Hair…. Oh boy.
From 2002 to 2004, I went through some of the worst braiders and experiences on the planet EVER!!!!!!! I had more hair DRAMA and Trauma than ever. In addition to that, I moved away from the neighborhood that may have provided some more braiding prospects. Luckily, I learned more and more about my own hair and then learned to twist and go!! I was not ashamed anymore!!!
CN: What was your transition routine? Staple Hair Styles?
SJ: My Staple Style was Human hair Braids. Once My options became limited I wore lots or Twists and Go’s – Untwisted…. I also found www.Growafrohairlong.com – and that was an incredible find. I learned how to shampoo and condition properly and I also started shampooing in twists EXCLUSIVELY. I have been doing this for 6 years.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
SJ: While I transititioned in Braids… I Shampooed my braids with Artisun Shampoo ( they are now out of Business) …. They were an all natural company….I used lots of Braid sprays – and my hair did great! I also used jojoba and olive oils.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural? Are you happy with your decision?
SJ: I Really was sick of how my hair looked. I knew that there had to be a better way. I am very happy with my decision that was made 10 years ago.…. In 2006, I started researching products and became even more interested in Natural and organic Hair and body care. Once I rid my hair of SLS’s – and moved to more natural hair-healthy ingredients…. My hair changed dramatically. I found out how important it was to make some real changes in my hair growth. Internet hair forums also changed everything!!! In the last 3 years, I have been very happy with my fuller and and thicker strands, and I have learned to overcome setbacks quickly..
It took years of practice, but I have learned how to do my own hair, my own way… After All – this is growing on MY HEAD!!!! I have learned to braid, to mix the right organic products for my hair, I have found great and harmless solutions to my hair….I know how to twist, can flat Iron without Damage………..and do what ever I want! I am so grateful for Natural Freedom! The results have been growth, fewer splits, NO knots and moist tresses……My Hair has never been healthier or longer!