CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a long term transitioner (15 months)…my last relaxer was March 13, 2009. Why…good question. I’ve had long/med length hair all my life and going short was an extreme decision for me to make. I usually stretched my relaxers for 3 to 4 months so I knew I could manage my hair up to that point so I said why not stretch a few more months. The longest I’ve ever gone without a relaxer before this was 6 months. If BC’ing was my only option, I think I would have had no choice but to go that route.

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
Didn’t BC…I mini-chopped and trimmed my ends. I always trimmed my ends every 3 to 4 months when I was relaxed so I kept up with that routine especially since it would help with getting rid of relaxed ends. I also did 2 mini chop sessions…March 13 and June 12, 2010.

CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Well, I didn’t have any issues with family and friends. Family…my mother is natural and has been all her life. She’s been rocking a low fade for years. Friends…I have a few friends that transitioned as well. But to be honest, I was not thinking of family or friends when I made the decision to transition. I think I had my first relaxer when I was in middle school (11/12 yrs old). My mother was the one that made the decision and I think she may have been persuaded by a family friend. She made the decision based on the fact that I would better be able to manage my hair myself as I got older, plus she was also lacking in the styling department. Oh, my BF LOVES my hair as well…he loves my hair when I wear it “curly”. He has never had an issue with my hair relaxed or natural.

CN: What was your transition routine?
After reading tons and tons of information and watching tons and tons of videos it was very hard for me to decipher which products, regimen and hairstyles would best suite me and my hair. I would do a mix and match of products and hair regimens that I read about on blogs or watched on YouTube. So, this is how I started out and remains my routine to this day. The only things that change is a few products here and there….

Regimen…

* Co-Wash (1x a week)/ Shampoo (1x a month or when my hair felt gunky)
* Detangle ( using Kimmaytube’s detangling method)
* Deep Conditioner…1x a week
* Leave in

Products Used (to name a few)…

* Vo5 conditioner (co-wash and detangle)
* Infusium 23
* Jane Carter Solutions line…nourish & shine, replenishing conditioner, revitalizing leave in conditioner
* Elasta QP Mango Butter
* Organix Passion Fruit and Guava Shampoo and Condtioner
* ORS Replenishing Conditioner (Deep conditioner)
* ORS Mayonnaise (Deep Conditioner)

CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
I would endlessly watch YouTube videos on ways to style my hair (which I still do today) but I would always fall back to my staple style…plaits…and when I had to go out I would unravel them for an out do or do some type of updo. Every now and then I would ask my cousin to cornrow my hair for me. I tried not to make a habit of this because I wanted to learn to do my hair myself…hence my version of cornrows/braids…plaits.

CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I hardly had any breakage except for my first trim session 6 months after my last relaxer. I think I was using olive oil as a moisturizer during this time. I also tested out homemade leave in mix. Then I decided to get shea butter and try my hands at shea butter mixes. I don’t think I had an emphasis on lack of moisture causing breakage. I just made sure that I detangled from ends to root.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I don’t have one concrete reason for going natural but a few things played a part with making my decision…job loss, I was tired of having to go to 3 different salons, hated fresh relaxers and the whole process of relaxing and last but not least the curiosity of knowing my natural hair again.

As I mentioned before my last relaxer was March 09….prior to this November 08. I was at the 4 month mark and had no urgency to relax my hair…I was just going to go with the flow and see if I could go longer than 4 months before relaxing again. Let’s backtrack a bit…back in January 09, an announcement was made at my job that the entire accounting department was getting pink slipped…“due to the economy”…yeah right! After my nerves calmed down a bit and March rolled around (our end date was April 7th), I thought to myself not only did I need to update my resume and wardrobe in preparations for interviews, I also needed to get my hair done as well. So, with my last salaried check, I made my hair appointment. Next thing I knew, I was in the 4 month stretch of my relaxer and with hardly any interviews, contact with recruiters and having to now be frugal…I decided once again to just go with flow. Another key factor to my decision was that I was starting to get tired of going to 3 different hair salons, yes 3….Salon#1 for my relaxers, Salon #2 for my quick and cheap wash/doobie/blow outs and Salon#3 for my trims/cuts. My hairdresser at Salon #1 had cut her shop hours down to 2 days a week…Friday evening/night and Saturday. When going to her, I have to gear myself up for staying for HOURS so her cutting her days was not making me a happy camper, plus she was the only one I trust to relax my hair…didn’t trust Salon #2 for relaxers and Salon #3 cost an arm and a leg. In June (the day Michael Jackson passed away) I had my hair washed and roots blown out for the last time at Salon #2. And for the remainder of my days at home not only did I job search and re-do my budget/finance I also researched “relaxed to natural hair”. I must say that as a long term transitioner, I had an advantage that most people don’t have during this phase and that’s TIME. I had time on my hands while being at home to have the patience to learn how to do my own hair. I am very happy that I made this decision and stuck with it. I do NOT miss having a relaxer and I love being NATURAL!

I must say that I never knew YouTube was so informative…never knew Blogs existed…until I decided to venture on this journey back to my Natural Glory. Thanks to all the Bloggers/Vloggers out there, including Curly Nikki, for keeping me on track and up-to-date.