It was November 11, 2009 and I was once again torturing myself with a touch-up relaxer. Eight times out of 10, a touch up relaxer meant pain for me but I did it—because “a woman’s hair is her beauty.” That’s what I was taught to believe by the adult women in my life.
I have been putting chemicals in my hair since I was 8 years old and although it was clearly not MY choice to relax my hair initially, I was brought up to believe that nappy hair meant ugly and unkempt hair, so the thought of not chemically processing my hair was never an option for me.
My work life in 2009 was VERY stressful (ie 12 hour days, working weekends, etc) and the stress was taking a toll on my body (and my psyche!). But when my hairdresser told me in November that my hair was falling out, I panicked. For the last few months during every visit, stylists in my particular salon tried to convince me to stop getting relaxers… but until this moment in November with the fear of hair loss looming, I wasn’t listening. To me (back then), the only thing worse than nappy hair would be no hair at all.
One would think that would be all I needed to hear. But nope, I still fought it. I decided to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to get a “medical opinion” on whether I was really balding. Now mind you, I myself could see the bald spots and could tell that my hair was thinning… but I wanted to hear from an expert before I gave up the creamy crack. I mean, couldn’t my hair loss be connected to the stress in my work life and have nothing to do with the relaxers?
As much as I fought the idea of no more relaxers, I was TERRIFIED of my hair loss. So in preparation for the dermatologist agreeing with my hairdresser (no more relaxers), I began to do on-line research on what it would mean to stop relaxing my hair.
I first discovered the myriad of you tube videos that piqued my interest. Then I began to find blogs that were helpful until I discovered my personal “holy grail” of knowledge—curlynikki.com! This journey of discovery took about 3 weeks. I had not yet had my appointment with the dermatologist and I promptly called and canceled. Why? Because it no longer matter what she said, I was going to go natural!
Even once I made this decision, I had mixed feelings of freedom, excitement, anticipation, and still some fear. I look back at one of my first blog posts on the topic of my hair from mid-January and I can’t believe how much my mind set has changed since then. In that post, I have an example of natural hair that “scared” me at the time… and now, I look at that same picture and am envious of her 100% natural curly hair.
For 20 years, I believed my natural hair was ugly and unmanageable. And in the matter of 4 short months, I love all my natural new growth, I love learning how to keep my hair healthy and moisturized, I love the way my new growth feels and looks. I love my natural new growth so much; I hate my relaxed straight ends. I always believed my new growth would be the thorn in my side during my transition, turns out it’s those stringy straight relaxed ends. Funny what a little time and a lot of research will do.
My transition will be long (or so I keep telling myself!) but my transformation has been quick and dramatic.
You can check out my natural hair journey through photo updates at my blog.
Twist n Curl
To be honest I haven't really experimented with anything other than a messy bun on the top of my head (which is cute) but boring after a while. I've done the small twists/braids and my hair is never as full as i would like it so I end up wearing a hat or just taking them out. I love braidouts/twistouts but my hair rubs against my shoulders and it gets caught in scarf/jacket/purse a lot throughout the day. I guess i just really need to get more creative with buns and twist styles.
Yea, I know what u mean…I dont want to BC but in order to get my real texture, I think I might have to. If I want to see it right away at least…I got my hair 2 strand twisted on Saturday and some back pieces are driving me nuts because of the damage. Its straight. I dont know whether to just snip them off myself (some1 said the twists would unravel) or just wait. I grabbed some straws from this bagel place to see if u can set them. uuuugggghhhhhhh
Anyway, depending on your length, have u tried some cute bun styles? (u could baggy doing that); do u like braid/twist outs? Do u just not like wearing the twists out in public? cuz u could always grab a scarf or hat….Now that I dont work in corporate invstmnt banking anymore, I pretty much am free to wear my hair however I want
Hello, I have been juggling the BC for the past couple of weeks. Idk If I can do it tho. I've never had short hair in my life. It would be so strange for me to see myself that way. I plan to make a decision by the time I do my next length check in June or May. As for now I have been snipping my ends(not as often as I should) and wearing no heat hairstyles. My biggest challenge so far has been finding a low manipulation protective style. I don't think twists/braids look good on me.
Jamaicanmecurly…keep up the good work 🙂
PetiteBebe (Karla) here…Yes, I have the same issue as you…Pressing my hair for YEARS has caused some serious damage. I almost feel like I should BC but I feel a lot of my hair is in decent shape, but not its best.
While I havent straigtened in 2010 and don't plan too for the rest of it, Im still learning to properly care for my hair.
Are you going to BC or just snip the straight pieces off?
o it does…thank u!
UmMmmm…the story on 3/05 addresses that about PetiteBebe.
Hi Nikki, My name is Fatima. I am an avid reader of your blog and I love your reading the transitional stories by others. It has even inspired me to start doing interviews on my blog. However, one common factor I noticed on just about every story is the use a relaxer as the cause of damage. I have been natural all my life(never had a relaxer), but I used a flat iron for about five years. Now my hair is not the same as it once was so, in November I started to transition. Therefore,I sometimes feel like some of the tips don't seem to pertain to me. I have never heard from anyone else in my situation.(I'm sure they are out there) I was wondering if you could reach out to your readers who are in my situation. Never had a relaxer, but transitioning from heat damaged hair to healthy hair. I am just curious if other women who are dealing with this have any ideas, transition stories or fresh input.