CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a long term transitioner. I got my last relaxer in September 2007 and shortly after, I decided that I didn’t want to do it anymore. I had been getting my hair relaxed for 16 years and honestly had no idea what my natural hair looked like. I had considered growing out my relaxer when I was a teenager, but after going about 4 weeks past my usual relaxer time, I just couldn’t do it. It took becoming an adult to really be able to take it seriously.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I did my version of a big chop September 3, 2009, almost exactly 2 years after my last relaxer. I say my version of a big chop because I didn’t cut all of the straight ends off. I just didn’t think I was ready to go as short as I would have had to in order to get rid of all the straight ends. My initial reaction was shock. I did not intend for the stylist to cut as much hair as she did, so it took me a few days to embrace it. After about a week I started to really love it. Now, 3 months later I am so happy with what I am learning about my hair and myself.
CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My husband has been extremely supportive. He is happy as long as I am happy. Everyone else has been really supportive as well. I have a lot of friends who are already natural so it hasn’t been to bad to find support.
CN: What was your transition routine?
So, in 2007 when I decided to start transitioning, I did not know a lot about natural hair. I spent a good part of my 2 year transition time flat ironing my hair every 2 weeks. Imagine my dismay when I learned that heat damages hair and I was hurting the very hair I was trying to grow! This past summer I decided to not do any heat styling and see how I would be able to manage. It was great! I started reading blogs and watching YouTube videos and soaked up soooo much knowledge. Once I stopped flat ironing, I did mostly twist outs and flat twist outs. I even attempted a few roller sets. It was amazing to see my hair really start to show her true self. I started experimenting with various products and learned that I like Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue for my twist outs. Once I learned about co-washing, I started doing that as well. I am truly a PJ and will buy anything that seems like it will offer something for my hair.
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
My favorite style is a twist out. I’m sure as my hair grows I will find something else that I love. I think it’s funny that I was doing twist-n-curls before I found your site! (because I had to roll my ends to make them curl and match my new hair that was growing).
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
Because I was going to the salon every 2 weeks for my flat ironing, my hair was doing pretty well during the transition. My stylist understood that I was transitioning and kept up with my deep conditioning and moisturizing using mostly Redken products.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I felt that with so much advancement in technology (flat irons) it would not be difficult to transition and keep it to myself. Now that I know about heat damage I probably won’t flat iron as much, but I also think that my perception of natural hair has changed. I am sooo in love with what is growing out of my head right now. I have a serious case of hand in fro disease!
#1 is me before my “big chop”.
#2 is a twist out.
#3 is a rod set.