CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I would consider myself a long-term transitioner because I have been in a mental transition for many years. I have attempted to go natural two times, with the second time being the latest. The first time was in 2004; that was a very short transition as I had my BC about a month after making the decision. I relaxed my hair after 6 months because my self esteem was very low and I was not getting the support I had hoped for from my ex-husband. Till this day, I wonder how beautiful my hair would have been had I just left it alone. Today, I am comfortable with who I am, and have made the decision to live a more natural life in all aspects. I finally experienced my second BC on Friday after a 9-10 month transition.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
My second BC was on Friday, May 8, 2009. My initial reaction was positive because I was simply ready for it. After going through the process before and doing a lot of research the second time around, I was prepared for the shrinkage… which was substantial. I thought that after 10 months of transitioning and very little breakage, I would have more hair post-BC. However, I was excited about the future and optimistic. Another reason for my positive reaction is that I did not go into this process hoping to have hair like someone else… with a perfect curl pattern or naturally glossy locks. I expected nothing more or less than what God gave me, and I would do my best to work with what I have. I decided to go with a coil-out for my out-of-salon do. It looks really cute, but I think that it will be tedious to duplicate.
CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
My routine included a mix between sets (twist-outs, perm rods, flexi-rods), pressing new growth with ceramic flat iron, and protective styles like buns and up-dos. I washed my hair once a week, maybe every two and deep conditioned each time. My life style is too busy for co-washing during the week. I did a hot oil treatment every two washes. I tried to press my new growth the least, only when I had a professional conference or interviews to attend. My hair would last for about a week wearing it down and another with up-dos. My sets would last for about a week. I learned how to do flexi-rod sets late in my transition, but they lasted the longest (1 week+) and created beautiful up-dos when I wanted to extend before washing again. Twist-outs were not so fun and only lasted a few days. Depending on my style, I would either wrap my hair with a silk scarf and/or sleep on my satin pillowcase.
I decided to use natural products during my transition with the exception of Biosilk Silk Therapy for presses. I fell in love with Jane Carter Solution products: Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner, Moisture Nourishing Shampoo, Nourish and Shine, and Natural Hold Spray Gel. I really like the Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner. It is a deep conditioner that is instantly slippery and melts tangles. Detangling was never an issue with this conditioner. I would sit under the dryer with a plastic cap for about 25 minutes and rinse. I also used Giovanni Direct Leave-in conditioner after each wash for extra conditioning. It is also a great detangler. The JC Natural Hold Spray Gel is great for pressing locks to create a humidity resistant hold and achieve straightness. I used the JC Wrap and Roll for sets, which created lots of shine and detangled well. Sometimes I washed with a shampoo bar: Godrej Shikakai 3 in 1. It has an odor, but boy does it detangle well for a shampoo, way better than JC. It gets hair really clean without stripping moisture. I also noticed more of a curl pattern after use. Plus it was cheap, $1.99. I will use this most of the time and JC for clarifying now that I am completely natural. I will continue to moisturize on a daily basis with unrefined organic coconut oil (so light and creates great shine!), JC Nourish and Shine, or organic sweet almond oil (for scalp).
CN:What was your staple hair style during the transition?
As explained above, I had a couple of staples. Sets were dominant because I was paranoid of destroying my texture from pressing the new growth even once a week. I love up-dos, so pinning up my curls from the tail end of a set, into a messy up-do made me feel really sexy (lol) and produced the most compliments. About five months into my transition, I asked my mom to cut my hair gradually each month so that my BC would not seem so far away or a huge shock. The end result was a cute chin-length bob that I wore till the end of my transition. I had a lot of professional conferences (I’m a Finance major) for the last several months, so I wore my hair straight, only using heat when I washed it.
CN:How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I actually have fine to medium hair that weighs down easily, so my task was to find a product that would not weigh it down. I alternated between JC Nourish and Shine and Coconut Oil. Both products were light, moisturized my hair well and created a nice shine. I even used them when my hair was straight, and my hair was still silky with bounce. I also put sweet almond oil into an applicator bottle and oiled my scalp finger combing through my hair the night before washing. I used the baggie method from “Mane and Chic” to do that, and I would wake up with moist hair. This would serve as my hot oil treatment. I am proud to say that I did not experience much breakage, only the expected shedding post-sets. I will have to re-assess my situation soon and see how my 100% natural hair responds to these products. I am trying to avoid being a product junkie again… I’m in recovery 😉
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I chose to go natural because I have had the desire to do it ever since I was in middle school. I did not have the courage to do it until I was 19, and even then it did not last long. I am now 24, and am comfortable with myself. I believe that true self-acceptance comes with accepting the body, including the hair that I was blessed with. I also went natural for my health. Black women have the highest rates for just about every disease, and I believe that if more research was conducted on our health and lifestyle, relaxer use would be a key common denominator. I chose not to wait for the medical evidence. By going natural, I have taken control of my mind, body, and soul!
Explanation of pics:
1: My 1st BC in 2004,
2: Hair before 2nd transition,
3: Transition style, flexi-rod set,
4: Transition style, old perm-rod set,
5: Transition bob, pressed roots,
6: Transition style, updo on need-to-be-washed straight hair,
7: 2nd BC last week,
8: Another angle of 2nd BC coil-out
Your hair looks FABULOUS!!! I BC's when I was 18 and I am about to again in a few days and I am now 32! Your first BC looks awesome! Thats my next cut!
oh my gosh, god bless you, you are fearfully made!
You look like Olivia “I’m about to Bizounce” Oliva.
Mallorie – you’re gorgeous! The hair is fierce, and it was even the first time you went natural. I too have gone natural more than once in my lifetime, and I know the regret and what ifs that come from going back to relaxers because of feeling pressure.
I also wanted to say that I’ve definitely come to understand that a lot of the “workplace discrimination” that we’ve come to expect as professionals is really non-existent — it’s all fears comprised of stereotype threat and the disapproval of other black people. I wear not only a natural but a nose ring, and work as a consultant in high level government. Haven’t heard a peep outta anyone @ wk, but I have had people at church tell me all about how I should kiss promotions goodbye. I thought: “How about I kiss YOU goodbye instead, cheeky negro!”
Sorry about the off topic, but I think it’s worth mentioning that the “professional relaxer police” we often talk about have black faces and no basis to make judgments or demands.
I wish you the best though… any other ladies agree/disagree with what I’m saying?
PS: Got a new man IN LOVE with my curls — they’re out there, and I highly recommend getting one. If your man isn’t supportive and wants you to relax, just ask him to relax with you and see how fast you come to an impasse! I bet he wants to look like bootsy collins about as much as you want to be on the creamy crack. 🙂
You are beautiful and so is your hair! Congratulations on having the courage to go natural again. I hope your family becomes more supportive. If not, find some people who are! Either online or in real life, there’s a whole bunch of us who think natural hair is beautiful (and who know that people who don’t are crazy. 😉
You look great, girl. I am happy for you, you keep up the natural look! God tailor-made that mane just for you, and it is perfect 🙂
Going natural was a step I had to take on my own. It take a lot to accpect how you look with the hair GOD gave you. Because everyone around look different from you, and people love to do what everybody else is doing. Am happy that you are happy with who you are 🙂
Hi Mallorie 🙂 I’m so used to people misspelling my name that way that I had to double take when I came across this lol. (My name, obviously, is Malorie lol.)
Support is hard to come by… especially when it comes to HAIR! My mom wasn’t quite negative, but she offered like zip in the area of support. I got support from coworkers, the kids I work with, the reasons I knew inside as to why I cut it, and from my ex… he likes me no matter what my hair looks or feels like, and that really means a lot to me 🙂
I’m glad that you’ve finally done what you’ve been thinking about for so long! Kudos to you!! (and it looks good!)
TWA looks great on you. Continue to be proud of the decision you made. You exude beauty and confidence!
Girl, you are beautiful!! There is no denying that! You are working your hair! I’m happy for you that you went for it (all-natural) again and have accepted your beauty.
Hi Ladies, thank you so much for your inspiring comments! I’m not going to lie, I have not had that many inspirational comments coming out of my household now, but it was not a shock and folks were prepared. My family had to hear me running my mouth for most of the year, so they have been on this journey with me.
Journey to Natural, I’m glad that I was able to inspire you, go for it… it’s your head, not your fam’s 😉 Anonymous, the way I look at it, I don’t want to work for a company that will not accept me for me, hair and all. I understand that there is prejudice, so for “first impression’s sake”, that is why I pressed my hair for interviews and conferences. However, that should not have made a difference. I would love to wear some of the funkier looks and colors, but I understand that I will have to maintain a professional image. I return to work in a couple of weeks, so we will see what they have to say about it! Lastly, Nikki, thank you so much for posting
my experience 🙂
You look gorgeous! I think your face really works for short styles and it makes your features that much striking! : D Good luck with your journey!
You and your hair is beautiful! I am currently tranistioning and it is good to see more women going natural while working in coporate america.
Your hair is beautiful!!
You would be beautiful with any style!
Wow…it is crazy that I came across this blog today. My SO is not supportive at all. He is always making negative comments about what my hair is going to look like when I BC and he is always telling me relax your hair it can still be healthy. I have to tell him I know I can have healthy relaxed hair but I want healthy natural hair. To be honest he is def part of the reason I have not BC’ed yet. But, reading about how you wonder about how beautiful your hair would have been gives me even more amo to go forward with my journey despite his comments. Congrats and thanks for sharing your story!
You and your hair (transitioning and natural) are lovely! Nice!!
OMG. you are so pretty with natural hair. With the perm, you were cute. But I think the natural makes you look extra special. Like there is just something about you. I hope you keep it bc it really does become you.
This is so gorgeous! @delta gurl- you mom is too much, third son 😉 (wink) My fella call my hair the POOF! I dont care- I am still going to ROCK the POOF!
your curls are lovely and pretty faces like yours look great with short hair
Your hair is gorgeous!!! I’m glad that you found the determination to do it again despite what others think!!!!
You are GORGEOUS!! And your hair looks great!
BEEEEEEEE UUUUUUU TEEEEEEE FFFUUULLLL!!!!
Good for you! I’m so happy that despite not getting the support you needed that you still found the strength to follow your heart. I actually found your first BC to be quite beautiful. Like you, when I had my first BC in 1994 I didn’t have the support from family or boyfriend (my Mother called me her third son and wouldn’t speak to me for weeks). At the time I picked the more acceptable route and re-relaxed my hair, but I am happy that I made the journey again in 2006…this time for me!
All the best to you!