Meet Rachel… a 23 year old student in Louisville Kentucky, who decided to transition in November 2008. More than a year later, she is still going strong and has become well versed in dealing with the ‘terrible twos’! This is why Ms. Rachel Neirene is our new Transitioning Guru!

Hello my fellow natural beauties!!

I’m so excited to share my experiences and natural journey with you! It has been one of learning, trial and error, the highest of the highs, and some of the lowest of the lows. But all in all, I am happy. Although I’m here to teach, I’m also prepared to learn. In the beginning when I started my transition, there wasn’t a lot of people I could talk to. Not a lot of people who were going through the things I was– not knowing what to do with my hair, and not having someone there to guide me through the process. Thatʼs exactly what I want to do for you– because I know I am not the only one who wishes they had someone there to help them through. I want to share my story, my tips, my styles, and my knowledge of all things long-term transitioning.

So, hereʼs a little insight into the start of my transition:

I had been getting relaxers for three years when I decided to transition… I was so tired of relaxers. My hair was extremely damaged and fragile. Before my first relaxer, I’d get my hair pressed (regularly for 6 years). What I didnʼt realize was that my relaxed hair was damaged not just from the chemicals, but from the years of heat straightening as well. Before this, I always sported my curls. When I was a youngin, I loved me some big hair! I used to go to church every Sunday knowing I looked good. Sundays were the only day I got to wear my hair out… except for the occasional birthday parties I would go to. As I got older however, people would make fun of how big my hair was, and ask why I didn’t straighten it like everyone else. I would hear things like, ‘you’re too old to be wearing your hair in puffs and twists!’ I thought I looked good! Classmates would tell me to cut it so it wouldn’t be as big and request I get a relaxer. I’ve always had a problem with worrying what people think of me. Instead of standing up to them and listening to my mother who told me that I was beautiful and that my hair complemented who I was, I fell into the box and begged to get my hair straightened (pressed and curled). Then, when I got to college, I couldnʼt wait to get a relaxer. And that’s just what I did.

Eventually, I got fed up with caring about what everyone else thought, and decided to do what I wanted to do. I came to love who I really am and appreciate my natural beauty. I think I was just sucked into the norms of society… we are told that straight is beautiful, and after a while we whole heartedly believe it. If we go against that, people talk. Well I certainly donʼt care anymore. I think with age you start to realize a lot of things. I’m a lot happier now. Although everyone didnʼt support my decision, Iʼm happy that I had the support from my mother and my bestie Rachel. I canʼt tell you how many complements I receive and how many people love the change I have made. But there are those who donʼt like it, or the most famous five words from people who would like it and say- “Only you Rachel, only you.” Well Iʼm here to say it can be YOU too!!

My transition still isnʼt over– it’s been a year and I hope to go for another year or more! So this means a lot more learning. Sharing my stories with you is the next step in my journey. Itʼs gonna help keep me going. We all know the transition can be very stressful. With all the tangles, knots, styling mishaps, and other tomfoolery. I think that this new step in my journey is going to be mutually beneficial– you’ll learn lots, and I’ll keep my stress levels down. We can support each other 🙂 Iʼm so ready to start the new year off with!

Sharing is caring… this is gonna be fun!!!!! I can’t wait to hear from you guys!!! Much love!!!

Ms. Rachel Neirene

Rachel will be stopping by bi-weekly with styling how-tos, transitioning tips, and product reviews. Although she is the CN Transitioning Guru, we will have several other long term transitioners chiming in on a regular basis as well ! Stay tuned 😉