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.
P.S. Love the site, thanks CN!!
2001 BC alum 🙂
Shana, I hope you haven't ventured to a Dominican salon yet. Some people have nothing but rave reviews for the heat that they use without chemicals, but the damage that ensues is irreversible.
I've been natural since 2001 and on the advice of a coworker, I went to a DR salon in '09 thinking that my hair would revert back to its 4b texture afterwards. I was WRONG!!!! My hair was bone-straight silky after two–only TWO–visits and the ends were thin and splitting a month or so afterwards. A year later, the ends of my hair were still straight. I will NEVER attempt to have my hair straightened again. I wasn't tired of my naturally curly hair; I was simply looking for alternative ways to style it as I change up my look every few weeks (protective braid styles, two-strand twist outs or leave 'em in, afro puff), so I thought that no-chemical DR salon straightening was the way to go. But I didn't take into account that my coworker and I don't even have the same texture, so what they did to her hair wasn't necessarily what they'd do to mine. Also, I think the dryers and irons in DR salons are hotter than the recommended temps for those appliances (I've been told that they get them that way from DR and ship them here to use on our hair), and therefore, permanent heat damage ensued. They're only giving us what we want (bone straight hair), but in the end it's not what healthy hair really needs.
Having healthy, natural hair is a lifestyle change, Shanna. If you're truly not ready to explore the possibility of living chemical-free, I advise you not to do the BC until you are absolutely sure that you are prepared for the transition. It shouldn't be a choice because it's cheaper or worry-free; it's work and until you are sure you want go from what you've always embraced to what you hardly know, continue to do your research. I transitioned with braids in Apr 2001 and did the BC 2 months later with no regrets. I'd been natural back in 1995 but with no support, I went back to perms a couple months later. And I'll never, ever make that mistake again.
Help, I have been on this blog 3 hours tonight. I have talked to a couple of people who have taken the plunge away from the creamy crack. My main reason for breaking away from the cream crack is because I can't afford to keep getting the creamy crack. I don't want to do the big chop. I do have some questions I like the way my hair is when it is silky after I get a perm so I'm wondering if going natural would really be for me. I really do want to break away from getting a perm, but I'm thinking about going to a dominician salon and just getting a blow out. Please help me I'm confused.
are we really the only city to call them Zillions? I thought everyone called them that lol
oh snap. Another natural from Detroit. woot woot! lol
Hi all — it's Monique. Thanks everyone for the encouragement!
Sewdope and Socialitedreams — I got that headband at Forever 21 for only $3!!!
FashionablyNappy — we MUST keep in touch! It's nice to know that there is someone in the area sharing in my journey! We can swap tips and pointers or where to find our products cause Lord knows its a treasure hunt lol.
And as for the "zillions" ya'll know I have to represent Detroit wherever I go lol. Gotta keep the lingo alive 🙂
You look so lovely with your TWA! Your smile is so much brighter in those photos. And it's always nice to see a fellow native Detroiter join the club 😉
what a doll you are! Love the cute style done with the micro braids (zillions, lol, i like that…never heard them called that!)
Hey Monique I'm a so-cal natural too. There are not many of us out here, blame it on Hollywood I guess! I love your curl definition and the accessories.
cute! i love that hair accessory:)
sorry guys! I could see it… assumed everyone could, lol!
we should be good now 🙂
I think it looks great congrats on the decision to walk on the natural side 🙂 JN…
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