Meet Valerie…newly natural, and her only regret is that she ‘didn’t do it sooner’!
CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
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?
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 curlynikki.com
(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.
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