Meet Monique… her eyes have seen the Glory!

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

I was a short term transitioner. I transitioned for about 4 months. My former routine was to get a relaxer every 5 weeks. When I was due for my next relaxer in July 09 I put micro braids (or “zillions” as we call them in Detroit) in and kept them in until October. It was while I had the braids in that I made the decision to go natural. So when I took the braids out, I “transitioned” so to speak for a grand total of 2 weeks before I took the scissors to my head and chopped my hair off.

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I have bc’d 3 times over the past 2 months. I seem to be a bit scissor happy. But, I did my initial bc on 10/29/09. I cut it myself one day after work. My initial reaction was shock as it had taken my 2 years to grow my hair to the bob that it was in before I cut it and in 10 minutes it was all in the sink. Then….I felt totally liberated! I was proud of myself for being strong enough to do it.

When I first bc’d in October I was reluctant to cut too much off so I focused just on cutting out the perm and sacrificed structure and shape. I then noticed that the back of my hair was so beautifully curly and the front was just frizz, primarily because there were still tons of permed stray ends. So on 11/29 I bc’d again, cutting about another 1/2 inch off the front and crown in an attempt to get rid of the frizz. This worked to some extent but then I realized that my hair was so uneven that it was back heavy. So, I did my last and final big chop on 12/4/09 where I used the clippers and evened it out. Now my hair reveals new and more defined curls each day. I love it. Going natural was the best decision I ever made and doing it myself gave me a sense of control and empowerment.

CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My husband’s favorite thing to say to me is “you are not your hair baby” lol. He says it is a joking manner but really means it from the heart. He was very supportive, as he is with all of my many changing hair fads. The rest of my family was also very supportive. I live in Southern California so there aren’t too many people around me that “look like me”. I actually think that made it a bit easier for me to take the plunge and do the big chop because I don’t get a lot of the criticism and/or negative feedback that sometimes comes from your peers. Everyone here has been very supportive. My mother back in Chicago is even thinking of taking the plunge and one of my girlfriends followed shortly after me and did her bc too!

CN: What was your transition routine?
For the most part I wore zillions. However, since my hair has a tendency to be weak at the hairline and nape I made sure this time to moisturize the heck out of my hair daily while it was braided to prevent a repeat of breakage that i had in 2008. After I took out the braids I blended the 2 textures of hair by wearing flat twists in the front and a braid-out in the back. To pull off this look I used Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue. It worked wonderfully.

CN: How did you moisturize your hair?
Currently I have to wet my hair each day to revitalize the curls, sometimes I just mist it with water from a spray bottle. I also sleep with conditioner on my hair at least once a week (Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose). On days that I just mist my hair wet, I use a combination of coconut oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil and olive oil (in very small amounts) to moisturize and liven up my hair. So far though I’ve noticed that nothing keeps my hair as hydrated and keeps my curls as defined and plump as getting it completely wet.

CN: What are your go-to products post BC?
Since I’ve bc’d, I absolutely CAN’T live without Kinky Curly Knot Today leave in conditioner. it makes my hair super soft, gently defines my curls and moisturized my hair wonderfully. I’ve also found that my hair really likes the Curling Custard of the same line (after my 3rd bc but it didn’t like it back in Oct/Nov) and Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme and Curly Pudding. Those are basically my go-to styling products that I alternate during the week. I only wear my hair in a twa right now because its not really long enough to do much else so curl definition is really important to my look at this point.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I chose to go natural because I wanted to get to know my natural hair texture. I’ve tried so many different styles in my life, my most popular being my super short cuts or my zillion braids.
Short of wearing wigs I think I’ve tried everything else, expect wearing my own, untreated hair. I owed it to myself to see what it would be like, all the while telling myself that “hey, if you don’t like it you can always perm it”. But now I can honestly say what started out as an experiment in “i wonder what if..” has turned into a true journey of enlightenment. There will be no more perming for me.