CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I transitioned for approximately 11 months, from mid June 2008 to May 2009 and it was for a number of reasons. Initially, I was tired of covering up my damaged hair with weaves all the time and reached a breaking point. Then, once I realized there was plenty of information out there, I wanted to wait and learn more about going natural and how to properly take care of my hair before I just jumped into a world, unfortunately, I knew nothing about. Also, I wanted this new experience to coincide with a new chapter in my life- graduating college and moving into a new phase of my life.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I did my big chop on May 19th, 2009. By May, it had been going on 11 months and I was just dying to take out my kinky twists and finally cut my hair off. I had never been so completely sure of something in my life! I was excited, anxious, and a bit nervous, but ready nonetheless. I got my hair cut at a natural hair salon. They used Taliah Waajid Products. My initial reaction was honestly: disappointment. This is because I thought I would have looked better with a short afro. I did not think it fit me and covered my head with my hoodie until I got home. However, I had been preparing myself to feel this way, and I already told myself I would learn to like my hair. I fixed it into a style with flat twists in the front and a twist out in the back for the next day. Now I like it and am getting more comfortable with it each and every day.
One thing I can tell you is I absolutely did not regret it! It was one of the best and most liberating decisions I have made to improve myself thus far. I had no idea I could think my nappy hair could be beautiful! I am ashamed that I used to hate my new growth and try to hid it or alter it with gel. I am proud of my hair the way God made it and I am proud of how I have changed through this process. I am on my way to becoming a new, more improved me from the inside out. I am falling in love with my hair more and more each and every day. Oh, and by the way, I received nothing but good remarks. (Complements never hurt.)
CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
At first, I started off going to an African Braiding Salon to get cornrows and kinky twists. I would wash and condition my hair with Crème of Nature shampoo and conditioner, then blow dry it. After more research, I realized that blow drying my hair was not necessary before I braided it and that hair products with chemicals were only further damaging my hair. I ordered some Curls products and began to use them when I washed my hair. I learned how to do kinky twists myself, thanks to the helpful ladies on YouTube, and started taking better care of my hair during my transition routine. After washing it with Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream and deep conditioning it with Curl Ecstasy Hair Tea Conditioner, I would twist it with Curls Milkshake and let it dry overnight. I made a spritzer concoction of water, vegetable glycerin, Quenched Curls Moisturizer, and silk peptide powder (for softening) and added that as I twisted my hair. The next day my new growth would be a bit more stretched out and easier to work with for when I braided it. Every time I would take out my braids and wash it, I would cut off a bit of the permed ends, so I gradually cut as I went along. By the time my big chop came along, there was not that much left to chop off!
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
Thank-God and whomever he gave the knowledge to develop kinky twists! They have been my go to hairstyle for the majority of the 11 months I transitioned. I wore them in the traditional way, with color, and tightly curled with small perm rod rollers. (last style a la beautifulbrwnbabydol from youtube !- She taught me how to do curly kinky twists myself, and now I have saved money and am gradually learning not to be afraid to try new hairstyles on my own!) I also wore cornrows a few times, but they were tearing out my hairline around the front edges. Therefore ladies, BEWARE of this hairstyle as a transitioning style!
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I honestly did not moisturize my new growth as much as I should have, and that is something I do regret not having done. However, every now and then I would massage my scalp and new growth with Jojoba oil or some shea butter. I did not know if it was the correct way of dealing with my new growth, but I did it anyway.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
For me, this question started off simple and now is so much more complex. I received my last perm and sew in weave in mid-June of 2007. I had every intention of getting a touch-up, but as the summer went by, my hair looked worst and worst. I had a lot of new growth and just used tons of gel and headbands to cover it up. I knew my hair was dull, limp, lifeless, falling out, unhealthy, and in need of some serious TLC. I had always wanted long, beautiful straight hair down my back, but I had given up on having pretty, healthy hair, so I lived with constant weaves. When I finally took out my weave, I took one look in the mirror at the scraggly, unkempt, damaged mess that was on my head and decided enough was enough. NO MORE PERMS!
Just like that, I had just made one of the biggest decisions of my life that would have an impact on me I could have never anticipated. I did not know what I was getting into, but I knew that I was not going to spend nights crying over my hair anymore as I combed it and chunks of it came out in my comb. From that point on, my journey to napptural freedom started.
The first and last picture is of me with kinky twists, one that is straight and the other that is curled. The second and third picture is a twist out afro with flat twists in the front the day after my big chop.