CN: Are you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I am definitely a long transitioner! This month ‘officially’ makes 1-year. But as I write, I realize that it has been more like 14-months! I had braids for most of the summer of 2009. When I took my braids out I just could not bring myself to put anymore cream crack in my head! So I began to search for other ways to style my hair straight without relaxing. I came across Diva Smooth. For me at the time, I really didn’t realize I was transitioning; I just wasn’t relaxing. My 13-year old decided she no longer wanted a relaxer. I was shocked! She had only had a relaxer for 2 years but just hated the process.
With the Diva Smooth I was able to wear my hair the same way without chemicals. Then this summer, I unexpectedly went home to New Orleans (the humidity capital of the south!!!). I was home for the death of my step-father and my mother and I had several errands to run in preparation for the funeral. I had washed my hair the night I arrived and flat-ironed as usual. My hair was gorgeous, then I walked outside and it puffed up. We were out and about and no help in sight! We stopped at a store similar to Marshall’s. I grabbed a wrap and threw it on my head. The wrap was really big, so I twisted and did a big bun in the bag. It was fly! This was when I wrestled with going to get a box of creamy crack or embracing my hair in its natural state. For the rest of the week, I experimented with different styles; mostly a French roll or my wrap.
I called my girlfriend back in DC that is natural too. She told me if I could go without the relaxer in the ‘Big Easy’ (N.O.) then I could definitely do it when I got back. And I did. As soon as I returned home, I hit the internet researching and came across CN!!! It was like the light bulb went off. I had seen some other sites but CN had so much information. This is when I realized that I had been ‘transitioning’ all this time but not in the best way with so much heat usage.
Immediately I began trying twist-outs, Bantu knots and roller sets. The twist-n-curl is fast becoming my favorite.
CN: When do you plan to BC?
I probably won’t BC; not because I’m scared or anything, but I have had short hair for the past 20 years. It is never been a big thing for me to cut my hair and keep it moving! I always seemed my most confident when I rocked a short do; especially when I cut it down like Jada in the last scene of ‘Set It Off’! But I’m going on 40 and actually having hair is a BIG change for me, so I have decided to transition as long as possible, but I can’t stay away from the scissors. I find when my wiry relaxed ends stick out; I just pull out the scissors and cut away!!!
CN: How have family and friends reacted to the new you? How have you responded to them?
Surprisingly, my family has been very supportive. My husband doesn’t have a preference as long as I’m happy. My 13 year old daughter has been supportive and envious. She started transitioning at the same time I did but gave up after 4 months. Now she is starting over and mad that she didn’t hang in there when she sees my twist-outs. Co-workers (mostly Caucasian) are mesmerized; not quite sure how to react. My friends are supportive and encourage me every step of the way!
CN: What is your transition routine?
At first, my routine was using Diva Smooth (basically a DC) and flat-ironing my hair once a week after co-washing with Wen and doing a DC every Sunday. I would then wrap my hair at night and wear it straight. Now I co-wash with Wen on Saturdays and deep condition with Olive Oil deep conditioner under a heat cap for 15-20 minutes. I use Infusium leave-in con and style. I use Cantu Shea Butter on the ends. I have also just done Henna and am loving it!
CN: What is your staple hair style during the transition?
Until recently, it was flat-ironing. Now I wear a twist-out or twist-n-curl using Aveda Defining Whip Cream or Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue.
CN: How do you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
Even though I was using some heat with the Diva Smooth, the process had my hair healthier than it had been in a long time with the relaxer. Everyone comment on how healthy my hair was. I love the Rosemary and Tea Tree shampoos that came with the kit and the virgin coconut oil. I use herbal oil by Oasis for moisture and a little shine.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
My girlfriend laughs at me because 10 years ago when she told me she was going to stop relaxing, I laughed at her and told her, “You go ahead. I’ll never do that.” Uh! I learned never to say never.
I had been doing my relaxer myself for some years and had over processed. I started to see holes in my temple area. No matter what I did, the spots would not grow back; even when I regularly went to a professional.
Over the past few years I have been trying to become more health-conscious. In doing so, I realized how damaging relaxers are. My daughter really gave me the final incentive when she started researching relaxers and how damaging it is for us. When she decided, I admired her and forged ahead as well. It has been the best decision I’ve made about my hair in years. I am once again become confident with my hair (I was probably most comfortable when it was all cut off). Now, I love the puzzled looks as I rock my twist-n-curl!!!
I, like so many sisters, had the fear of being in the corporate world and conforming our natural selves to the ‘system’. Now, I am embracing my hair’s beauty and the new freedom of doing so!
I like the style in the 3rd pic! 🙂 ~KF519
Diva Smooth is a deep conditioner that softens the hair. When heat is applied, the hair becomes straight, not from the product but because of the heat (flat iron). You can check it out at www.DivaSmooth.com
what is Diva Smooth?
OK so now I got more to research…I have never heard of Diva Smooth. I am 3 months post and my hair was in a short pixie cut when I started my transition. This definitely sounds like it may be something I might like. Thanks so much I learn something new everyday on this site.
It made me happy to read that your 13 year decided she no longer wanted to relax. I love seeing children with natural hair and it makes it all the more precious that it was her decision.