I really hope sharing my story can encourage and inspire others to make this transition. Reading the countless other transition stories on CN was such a great source of encouragement to me as I made the journey to go natural. Thank you Nikki for creating a venue that allows such inspiration and guidance to flow freely from one to another : )
CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why ?
Mae: I was a short transitioner (~ 4 months), only because I was too excited about working with just my natural texture. My stringy relaxed ends also started to get on my nerves when I would do my transition styles.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
Mae: I did the BC on July 22 and actually had a friend accompany me to the salon for moral support : ) I must admit I was a little shocked about how my hair looked when it was finished, indicated by me saying “wow” slowly..over and over again,lol! However, I literally fell in love with my new natural head of hair the next day! On top of being natural, I am also loving having my TWA : ) The joys of washing/styling short hair!
CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
Mae: When I first started my transition, I was using products that I normally used when I had a relaxer. This stopped shortly after I learned about the dangers of using hair products containing sulfates and parabens though. I started washing with a shampoo/conditioner set made by Organix (energizing passionfruit guava) which was sulfate and parabens free. I would use Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner by Organic Root Stimulator for my deep conditioner. (Sidenote: I have started moving towards organic products and have even started experimenting with making my own moisturizers and conditioners now that I’m all natural). For styling, I would use 100% unrefined shea butter to moisturize and seal my hair. I washed my hair about twice a week during my transition (or whenever my style decided that it didn’t want to hold up anymore,lol).
I also decided to make an electronic blog (http://naturalchica.blogspot.com) documenting my transition process to encourage me to keep going, as I could look back and see the progress I had made.
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
Mae: I first started out with a sew-in weave, but that only lasted a month because I hated that I would have to flat iron my hair so much to get it to blend in (made the mistake of getting a straight weave). After that, I experimented with a number of different transition styles including flexi-rod sets, bantu knot-outs, two strand twists, twist-outs, etc. I really had fun scouring YouTube videos to get ideas for new styles. I pretty much stayed with styles that didn’t require heat. It was interesting because during the transition, I noticed how much stronger my hair was getting as a result of not using heat.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
Mae: I made sure that my hair was well moisturized by doing a deep condition treatment every time I would wash my hair. Between washes, I would use the raw shea butter to moisturize. I also learned the valuable lesson of only combing out my hair when it was wet (w/ conditioner) to prevent breakage at that tender interface between my natural and relaxed hair.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
Mae: Growing up, I really only remember having relaxed hair. This is because when I was about 6 years old, my mom had my hair relaxed. She explained to me that my head of hair was so thick and full that she would have combs break in it while she tried to do my hair. After several sessions like these, which at times would lead to tears, she made the decision to make my hair more “manageable”. This is when relaxers entered the scene.
So I’ll just say right now that I’m one of those types of people who seek to change things ALL THE TIME, so throughout the years, my hair became one of them. When I entered high school, I started chopping off my hair (which had been mid-back) and coloring it from reddish brown to nearly blonde (yikes..i know!) . Take that multiplied by 100 and that was my hair story throughout college. My hair was truly taking a beating but it didn’t really start to show until this past school year as I started graduate school. My ends were breaking off badly and it was actually my mom and my sisters that gave me the inspiration for my next hair move.
See, my mom and sisters had gone completely natural within the past year and definitely had the healthy hair to prove. So in Fall 09 I decided I would also hop on the bandwagon. My first major mistake though was not really getting all the information I needed to be successful in this journey, so my first transition ended in getting another relaxer after 4 months : ( Second major mistake…making a decision about my hair because of frustration). Immediately after relaxing my hair, I regretted my decision and had to remind myself that sometimes the best things in life take hard work and patience.
This time, I was prepared to do things the right way. I started to talk to some of my friends who were natural (who immediately pointed me to CurlyNikki!!) and also started watching COUNTLESS videos on YouTube of girls who had taken the journey before me. I then became officially EXCITED about my journey and started learning new ways to take care of my hair every day.
Now that I’m all natural, I’m learning even more about how to care for my hair. I have updates on my blog (http://naturalchica.blogspot.com), fotki account (http://public.fotki.com/NaturalChica/) and YouTube channel (Nikkimae2003). Thanks to all the other ladies on CN who have shared their stories as well!
1: relaxed hair: Summer of 2008
2: transition style: Pin up of 2 day old flexi-rod set
3: transition style: Two-strand twist w/ bantu knot-out