CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
T: I was a short term transitioner. My last relaxer was in March of 2008 and I BC’d that August. I was wearing extensions (2-strand twists) the entire transition period. My short-term transition was due to me being an impatient person. I was just as anxious to see what it looked like just how an anxious mother-to-be wants to see her newborn baby. : )

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
T: When I did my BC in August, I wore a blown out ‘fro for one day; one day only lol. I wasn’t quite ready for all of that just yet. It had been YEARS since I’ve seen myself in the mirror with a short ‘do. So, the next day after my BC, I got my hair re-braided *hangs head in shame.* I hang my head because I only had the twists in for 3 weeks ($230 bucks down the drain) before I decided that I was finally ready to dive into my natural hair. I went shopping and stocked up on products and that same day I finished taking my twists down, trimmed my hair again and rocked my natural hair. My hair wasn’t what I had expected. Initially I was thinking that I’d have these ringlets of loose curls, but I had these very tight curls and a very THICK head of hair. I had been lurking on nc.com for a bit and was thinking that after hormonal changes and all, I wouldn’t have that much of a curl…wrong! My hair is the EXACT same texture and thickness as it was when I was a child (when I had natural hair).

CN: What was your transition routine? Staple Hair Styles?
T: I kept my hair in 2 strands the entire time. After my last relaxer I waited 2 weeks and got my hair braided. I had my cousin do them and the hair that I bought was extra whack…so they only lasted about a month before I had to take them down. After I took them down I only had a few days in between getting my hair braided again, so I just washed, blow dried and flat ironed. I didn’t know what else to do to the new growth other than to add heat. That set stayed in until August and that’s when I did my BC and got my hair rebraided again. I was clueless about how to take care of your hair while transitioning and so I just kept the braids in because it was easy. P.S. I’m terrified of hair stylists and hair braiders were the only people I could trust lol.

CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
T: *Hangs head in shame again* lol While my hair was in braids, I’d oil my scalp with the so-called “bergamot” hair dress. This stuff was loaded with mineral oil and petrolatum. I didn’t know until after I started researching products on the web that these ingredients are extremely bad for your hair and it’s health. I always wondered why I would sweat so easily or my hair always felt heavy when I used it. I had no idea that these ingredients were like saran-wrap to your scalp and hair. However, this stuff worked wonders for my nails, they grew faster than my hair did! I was pretty good about washing my braids and scalp every week but didn’t know about cones at the time either. We live and we learn. Good thing is, I know NOW that those are major no-no’s for hair.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural? Are you happy with your decision?
T: I had severe breakage from over processing my hair and I developed a skin allergy (to what? The doctors do not know). I was afraid that I was going to be completely bald if I relaxed my hair one more time. Yes, I relaxed, colored and cut my own hair…but impatience and trying to do too many things at once got the best of me. The skin condition that I developed is called Dermatagraphism. It’s literal meaning is “to write on the skin.” It’s horrible and I still have it. I couldn’t run a comb through my hair because once it touched my scalp, I developed severe itching. After noticing this on my scalp, I noticed this on my arms and legs. If anything even rubbed my skin enough, the area turns completely red, the skin raises, the sever itching sets in, and my skin will break out into hives in that area. After about 30 minutes or so the itching and redness would go away. Because doctors do not know what causes this or how long I could have it (it can go away on it’s on or be here for a lifetime), I basically have to take Claritin every few days to suppress the itching (unfortunately it doesn’t work for the redness and hives). I thought the relaxers, the hair dyes, and all these other products with crazy chemicals are what caused my problem. Because I’m not 100% sure, I can’t put the blame on it. But I have no doubt that it may have contributed to it. Has this skin issue suppressed any since going natural? Somewhat, my condition definitely isn’t as severe as it used to be.

I couldn’t be happier about going natural. My hair is growing and growing, I LOVE my natural hair color and the sun is naturally highlighting it right now! It’s easy to maintain and I love being able to see the fruits of my labor. Also making the switch from hair products with not so good ingredients to products with all natural ingredients makes me feel better about being resourceful and “green-conscious” and overall healthier!

Pics:
My relaxed+dyed days
My BC! 8/15/08 (hair blown out and got trimmed again after this pic)
A 3-day old twist out 2/26/09