My name is Beverly and I live in New Jersey. I am Dominican and received my first relaxer at age 12 for my grandparents wedding. Now at 23, I’ve cut it all off!

CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I consider myself a long-term transitioner. I held out for one and a half years! My last relaxer was at the end of September 2008. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy! Every time I’d wet my hair and see those straggly ends hanging, I was tempted to cut them off.

My transition was also accidental. I only relaxed 3 times a year and the last few I received were not as strong as before. This is why my hair would still have some curl to it when wet… which I liked a lot! For Halloween I was a pirate and styled my wet hair with mousse for a curly/wavy look. I got so many compliments that it got me thinking– maybe I didn’t need relaxers anymore or at least I could get them even less. A drastic BC wasn’t an option, but knowing that I was ready to go natural, I decided to transition.

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I BC’ed on May 5, 2010 at Taji’s Natural Hair Styling Salon in Raleigh, NC. I am from NJ but was on vacation in NC. I thought I was going to be emotional once I sat in the chair but everyone was so nice that I felt comfortable. I LOVED my hair once I saw it. It was so exciting! The greatest part was how soft it was.

CN: How did family and friends react the new you? What was your response to them?
Going natural was pretty much unheard of in my family. One cousin did it last year but that was it. Straight hair and/or a relaxer are always a must in my family. My mom was hesitant about me cutting my hair since it’s always been long. She was scared that it was going to be too short. My dad once asked me what was wrong with my hair because it was so big. I also was once told “I say you just slick a perm in it and call it a day” It was annoying at first but then I got over it and stopped caring about what others had to say. As time went on I started being encouraged and influencing others to consider going natural.

CN: What was your transition routine?
At first I didn’t have a routine since I didn’t really know what I was doing. Eventually I bought HE Totally Twisted shampoo and conditioner. This was before I knew the harm of sulfates. I was referred to HoneyBrownSugar’s blog which led me to this one. I used to use Mixed Chicks Leave In and it worked great until my hair was mostly natural. I was washing every 3-4 days during the warm months in ’09. In the winter, just once a week. I have always deep conditioned even when relaxed so I just continued doing that. Once I discovered Giovanni Tea tree & Aussie Moist I fell in love with the way they made my hair feel.

CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
I didn’t really have one. My coworkers joked that they never knew how I was going to look each week because I was experimenting every Sunday night with a new hair style. I wore wash n go a lot during the warm months because my relaxed hair was still curling up. I tried bantu knot outs, French braid up dos, CurlyNikki’s famous TnC, braid outs and just twirling my hair while wet with leave in conditioner (which gave great results but was sooo time consuming).

CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I always used to deep condition while relaxed so I just continued doing that every time I washed. It didn’t have to be anything special sometimes I would do it with whatever conditioner I had. I think once I stopped using heat on my hair & shampoo with sulfates I noticed a dramatic difference. It was softer and easier to manage.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I have always hated going to salons because they always had bad comments about me having so much hair and it being so long and so much work for them to detangle. My mom did my perms except when I was in college. My decision wasn’t some spiritual or emotional thing. I liked all the compliments from my Halloween wash n go and started appreciating my big hair. It was a great decision that got me to learn sooo much about haircare and just loving me! Thank you CurlyNikki & friends because without you all I would be back on the creamy crack. You guys helped me find solutions when I had terrible hair days.

PS: Find my transition pics here!