CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I think I would be considered a short to medium term transitioner. My last relaxer was April 23, 2009 and I BC’d on January 8, 2010; that’s about 8 1/2 months. I had originally planned on just growing out my relaxer while pressing my roots straight and trimming my ends regularly. But through my online research I became very intrigued about seeing my hair in it’s natural kinky state. I found out about heat damage and protective styling and Big Chops. So that’s when I decided that one day I would eventually BC, I wanted to wait until I had enough natural hair for a ponytail, but at 8 months I became very curious to see what my hair really looked like, so I decided to start off 2010 with 100% natural hair.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I BC’d on January 8th 2010, my friend did it for me. I had been natural for the first 18 years of my life, but now at 28, it was my first time having short natural hair that had never been pressed or blow dried before. When I first saw it, I was a bit numb; it was a lot shorter than I thought it would be, and it didn’t really curl up even after I added gel. I wasn’t disappointed; I just knew that it was something that I had to get used to. After a henna treatment and a few days passed (maybe a week) my hair started to coil up and I started to love it, it was better than I expected. I couldn’t keep my hands out of it.
CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
I knew even before I did it that I had to be sure of my choice and not let people’s reaction sway me. My family and direct crowd of acquaintances (church and friends) are mostly Jamaican, and Jamaicans are very opinionated people; so I was ready for anything. Right before I cut my hair, my best friend told me that she thought I was making a huge mistake and that I should not cut my hair. She kind of seemed upset that I still decided to cut it, and she didn’t really comment on my hair afterward. After about a month we were going someplace and I had just co-washed my hair and was sporting a wash n go and she actually complimented me, she said she loved the curls. I think she is used to it now (I don’t ask her cause I don’t want to get upset ).
Most people love it and say that it suits me, or they want to touch my coils. Some people ask why I cut it and didn’t just let it grow out. I don’t think my mom really likes it, every once in a while she makes a semi-rude comment about how my hair looks. But I told her that it is just hair and hair grows back and that my natural hair is beautiful. She won’t even touch it, I think she thinks it feels like dry grass or something….lol!
CN: What was your transition routine?
I co-washed once or twice a week with Tresemme or Garnier Fructose Conditioner; I shampooed and deep conditioned once a week with various deep conditioners. I used a sulfate free shampoo most of the time (Everpure by Loreal) and Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo whenever I had build up or felt I needed to clarify. I used Castor oil on my scalp regularly (2-3 times a week) and baggied my ends every once in awhile. My routine wasn’t written in stone but I was consistent in keeping my hair conditioned and not manipulating it too much (mainly protective styles).
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
Flexirods done on wet hair and buns in the end when my hair started growing. Braid outs and twist outs took too long to dry for me, my hair is REALLY thick.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
Regular deep conditioning, moisturizing with water based products and sealing with oil (Castor or Olive oil), regularly baggying my hair at night (that’s moisturizing and sealing and then putting a plastic cap on before going to bed). I didn’t have a lot of breakage at all. My hair stayed very healthy and easy to handle, I honestly could have transitioned for a couple more years if I didn’t become so impatient.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
When my hair was natural, as a child and a teenager, I always had thick healthy, long hair. Once I started relaxing my hair, I could never grow it past shoulder length. So I stopped trying and I started cutting my hair short and wearing weaves and braids all the time. I gave up on achieving length and I settled with the fact that my hair can look healthy it just won’t grow. I transitioned for a year when I was 21 but then for some reason relaxed again and I have been thinking about going natural ever since. Relaxer is just not for me. I think my hair is best when it is chemical free, whether it be straight or kinky. I’m excited about not looking like everyone else and the versatility I will have once I gain some length. This is the most exciting thing I’ve done in a long time!