This gorgeous natural tells us of her journey to healthier hair:
CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
NG: I was a long term transitioner. My last relaxer was in August of 2008. I transitioned for about 11 months.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
NG: I BC’d on the 3rd of July of 2009. For months I’d stand in front of a mirror and pull my hair in all kinds of different directions, trying to figure out what it would look like short. I figured it was a holiday weekend, a great time to return to work with a different look. I’m glad I waited as long as I did though even though the transition journey was tough! I loved it as soon as I cut it! I knew I could be creative with it, I could be different. No one at work wears their hair like I do. Most importantly, I felt the pressure gone to grow my hair fast and grow it long. I could just enjoy my texture without worrying about where on my anatomy my hair fell. This was an unexpected side-effect that I’m grateful for.
CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
NG: I tried absolutely EVERYTHING haha. I started out cowashing…a lot…I loved washing and conditioning my hair. I’m weird that way but it’s therapeutic. I’d announce it to my friends proudly that I had to go home and condition my hair lol. They thought I was weird. I started out with Tressemme, the smooth and silky lines and the ones for curls and moisture. I couldn’t wait to go through bottles of conditioner so I could get a new one to try. I tried all kinds of products: Carol’s Daughter, KCCC + KCKT, Redken, Herbal Essences, Ayurvedic products (Henna, Vatika oil, Shikakai etc), Cantu etc. I finally realized that my hair LOVES Castor oil. Not Jamaican black, just regular ol’ castor oil.
Now that I’m done transitioning, I’ve found my staples! Oyin handmade Juices and Berries + Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive heavy cream. This is an amazing combination for me, for some reason they work so well together, keeping my hair soft and moisturized and helping it absorb and retain moisture! After I condition my hair (and shampoo if needed, once every two weeks or a month), I’ll let it dry about 90% and then apply J&B + A&O HC to sections and twist them up for the night. In the morning I take them down, put on a headband and fluff into a puff!
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
NG: I went through several phases as my natural hair grew out: My style in the beginning was just to hold my hair up with a jaw clip and let it air dry. I would use Cantu shea leave-in and go. My hair must have looked dreadful! As my new growth became more prominent, I would braid it into two cornrows and try to keep that for a week. Finally, toward the end of my transition, I would put a hair band on, braid the ends and tuck in the braid to look like a bob. I would flat iron only once or twice a month for special occasions. I tried twistouts every now and then.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
NG: I was tired of relaxer damage. I knew it had to be possible to grow long healthy hair, and I was doing something wrong. Now, lots of ladies out there have long, healthy relaxed hair, maybe I just wasn’t smart enough, but I knew it wasn’t working for me. Of course, the story wouldn’t be complete without giving credit to the ladies on all the hair boards I lurk 😀 They were my inspiration, all those lovely heads of beautiful natural hair in all lengths and textures. Plus, once my natural hair grew out a bit, I was pleasantly surprised by my texture. I’d always thought it was tougher and coarser than it really is. Now I know that it just wasn’t well moisturized.