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Curly Nikki

Valerie- A Story of Transition

By January 27th, 202117 Comments

Meet Valerie…newly natural, and her only regret is that she ‘didn’t do it sooner’!

Valerie- A Story of Transition

CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?

V: I was a long-term transitioner. I transitioned from August ’08 to August ’09.  I had gone relaxer-free for up to a year at a time several times before, but I never had the nerve to just completely sever my relationship with relaxed hair.  After the birth of my last child (pictured with me below), I decided to just do it.  I wasn’t really worried about how my hair would look, but I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to care for it properly.  I don’t go to salons–I’ve had my hair done professionally no more than 10 times in my 40+ years, so I wanted to be sure that I didn’t damage all the hair that I had worked so hard to maintain on my own.

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?

V: I BCd on August 23, 2009 and I loved my hair! I didn’t BC’ed sooner because I felt that my features required more hair around my face.  I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable sporting a TWA with my large features.  (Wow, I’m being so open here!) I was so happy to snip off all of that remaining straight hair and reveal the curls that I was blessed with.   A friend referred me to (LOVE the site!) and I tried the TnC and I loved the results.  I love my hair and I accept it as it is.

CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?

V: Most of the response was positive.  My DH absolutely loved my TnC and pronounced me cute, cute, cute!  My kids love the natural me as well.  I’m a teacher, and my students marvel at the variety of ways in which I can style my hair.
On the other hand, the most disturbing negative response has been from one of my sisters, who said, “The hair is cute, but is it YOU?”  I thought it strange and kind of sad that my chemically altered hair was more “me” to her than my own natural hair.
CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
V: During my transition, I mostly washed and set my hair.  I had to sit under the dryer or else my hair would SUPER frizz!  I mainly used Carol’s Daughter products: Khoret Amen Shampoo and Hair Smoothie, Lisa’s Hair Elixir, Hair Milk and Mimosa Hair Honey.  I couldn’t wash n go while I transitioned because the relaxed ends of my hair were so much straighter than my roots and they refused to curl even with lots of scrunching.
Since my BC, I’ve been using Herbal Essence Hello Hydration to co-wash and as a leave in for my twist out.  I clarify with ACV. I have used Miss Jessie’s curly pudding for my wash and go, but find that it makes my hair crunchy and doesn’t last beyond the first day; scrunching in some conditioner works better and I only have to spritz with a homemade concoction of setting lotion, olive oil, and conditioner.  I no longer use the Carol’s Daughter products, with the exception of the hair honey, which I use only when I flat iron.  The products were not good at detangling my hair, and the hair elixir made my hair feel brittle over time.

CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?

V: My hair almost always ended up in a bun or pony even after my wash and sets!  I live in Louisiana and the humidity averages about 80% every day, so frizzing was always a problem.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
V: My mom went through chemotherapy during my transition.  I decided to stop relaxing my hair when she began her treatments.  As time went on, I began to feel so empowered by my decision.  Trust me, there were times when I thought about giving up–like when I was trying to detangle and roll all of that hair with those two distinct textures!   However, there were more times when I would peer into the mirror at that curly hair lying underneath all the straightened hair and I would get so excited at the thought of revealing it. 
Now, I can wear my hair so many different ways.  Curly puff, twist out, wash and set, wash and go.  I also occasionally flat-iron my hair.  I’m so happy to be natural.  My youngest daughter will never have her hair relaxed.  She will grow up knowing that her hair is a blessing and all that’s required is for her to love and take care of it.  Incidentally, my two older daughters both made decisions to get relaxers when they were teenagers.  Now, they’re both back to natural!
I’ve definitely gained more confidence since going natural.  I no longer stress about whether my roots are showing, or if my edges need touching up. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.


(1) (above) My first twist out after my BC!
(2)  My hair was co-washed and pulled back into a curly puff .  That’s my youngest daughter Camille pictured with her first twist out!
(3)  Flat-ironed. I flat-iron occasionally to assess length/growth.
Valerie- A Story of Transition
Valerie- A Story of Transition

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  • Dominique says:

    beautiful woman, beautiful hair, and extremely beautiful daughter

  • NewbieNaturalDiva says:

    I feel you on not wanting to wear a twa in fear of large features. That is my number one concern also. I am almost done with relaxed ends and I am glad i was a long term transitioner (since November 2007). Your hair is beautiful!

  • Unknown says:

    Your hair is beautiful and your DD looks like a doll. I love her hair.

  • mochacurl says:

    Your hair looks great, but you need to quit telling people you 40! FAB FAB FAB

  • Queen says:

    Hooray for oily skin; it's nature's moisturizer! *bowing to Valerie* You're doing it sista… Make us proud! I nominate we submit her for Essence magazine's "Ageless Beauty"; what do y'all think?

  • luvmylocs says:

    i agree with everyone else, i thought it was a typo when i ready 40+, lol!

    you look great and i love your hair. i think your features are great and it makes me appreciate my own, which are similiar to yours.

  • Maria says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I love the first picture

  • Anonymous says:

    Beautiful hair and lots of growth for 1 yr! Your daughter is gorgeous!

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh my Wow!!!!! Your hair is absolutely gorgeous. I don't know what it looked like relaxed but it's beautiful, healthy, and strong. Your daughters hair is beautiful as well. I don't know what your sister meant when she's asked is that you, but I can definitely say that natural hair is "you" and you look phenomenal. Keep working it.

  • Valerie says:

    Thanks everyone for the compliments!

    Camille: My last full relaxer touch-up was actually in January '08. I don't include that in my transition time because I actually 'did my edges' twice before completely giving that up in August '08. I have to apply hair honey and a scarf or stretchy headband to get my edges to lie flat now. I think that years of 'doing the edges' has permanently altered my front hairline because it is quite a bit coarser than even my most challenging spot at the crown. Fortunately, I didn't experience any loss of hair there. My hair has always grown extremely fast, but appears to be growing even faster now that I'm chemical free. The hair you see is after a little more than a year of no relaxers. I had more relaxer to cut from the front hairline, so it's shorter than the rest of my hair. That's easy to hide when my hair is down. When it's pulled into a pony, I wear a scarf–most people think it's merely a fashion statement, not an attempt to cover up the fact that it doesn't fit into the scrunchie!

    Curlynikki: My secret is: I have extremely oily skin! LOL I use Philosophy products: Purity facial cleanser morning and night and Hope in a Bottle exfoliating moisturizer only at night.

    I love peanut butter and eat it every day–on apples, with jelly in a sandwich, straight from the jar by the spoonfuls! My diet is protein- rich overall; I eat lots of beans, nuts, eggs, enriched cereal and soy milk. I'm also partial to fresh fruit and spinach and steamed veggies. I've never been a big meat eater and recently decided to completely eliminate it (along with sodas) from my diet. I still eat fish, mainly salmon and tuna.

  • Anonymous says:

    40…I dont believe you. Loving the hair and your "features". And that baby girl looks like a doll baby with her twist out.

    Work it MAMA!!

  • MsLizzia says:

    SO okay.. i need a fotki or something on this lady because i HAVE to know how she got her hair THAT straight with a flat iron. Come on nikki post it up please!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    I know, right?! We need to see some I.D.!!!

    What's your secret? What do you eat, and what do you use on your face?

  • LadyWritesTheBlues says:

    I"m with everyone else!!!!!! 40+??!!?? Nah, let me see the birth certificate! LOL

    LOVE you hair & your daughter's as well! Beautiful!!! 🙂

  • No1blkbeauty says:

    You and your hair look great! I would not have guessed that you were anywhere close to 40!

  • Camille says:

    Glad to read your experience. I'm from Louisiana too and am pleased to see more and more sistas growing their perms out. I'm in month 3 of transition myself and needed a little encouragement to keep going. Valerie, how long was your hair after your year of transitioning? DO you have pics from that time?

  • Unknown says:

    *tires screeching* 40+!!!! Black don't crack! You are beautiful!

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