CN:Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a long term transitioner of 22 months, with my last relaxer being July 17,2008. I have had long hair all of my life and did not feel I could work with short hair having a round face. I will say that transitioning is definitely not for the faint at heart. At times I felt unattractive and could not get my hair to work as I wanted.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I actually performed mini chops monthly throughout my transition, however on May 28, 2010 I received the final chop revealing my natural hair. I went to a stylist for the final chop, which she did while wet (she wanted to blow dry it prior to cutting). It was cut in layers and shorter than it has ever been, however I had prepared myself mentally for this and was quite excited. Because KCCC mixed with Proclaim styling gel was used, I did not like the results. It was crunchy, sticky and just yucky!!! I came home and immediately washed my hair, lol!
CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Family and friends reactions have been mixed. The majority of my family members and friends have been very supportive, others have not made a comment one way or another. I have received compliments from strangers and have even encouraged a long time friend to transition. My response has been gracious to all compliments and if I get the side eye, I hold my head in confidence and keep going.
CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
I pre-pooed w/ oil (Amla, HV Vatika Frosting, Coconut oil) shampooed weekly with Lisa Akbari’s Cleansing, Clarifying and Balance Shampoo, Cream of Nature (old formula), condition rinsed with Suave Naturals Coconut or VO 5 Moisture Milks (detanged w/ Jilbere shower comb), deep conditioned with (Karen Body Beautiful, Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose, Kenra), Leave-in Elucence Moisture Balance and HV Cocoasta Shikaki Oil (Denman used to style), Henna (2 X monthly). Yes I am a PJ. 🙂 I have started using Amla, Maka and Brahmi mixtures now.
CN:What was your staple hair style during the transition?
My hair styles varied between 4 to 6 braids gathered in hairzing or hair clamp, bun, or braidout.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I moisturized with Karens Body Beautiful Hair Milk, Cream, Butter and Afro Detangler. Also used Qhemet’s Amla & Olive Heavy Cream and Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I had some horrible hair experiences with stylists, the worst being almost bald at the crown due to a relaxer being on too long. Although I did not transition after that experience until over a year later, I changed stylists and began to space out my relaxers from 6-8 weeks to 12 weeks. I also ventured into a healthier lifestyle. My eating habits changed, I began to exercise more and I realized my hair could maintain more health and vibrance being natural. I also realized even at spacing my relaxers to 4 times a year, my previously relaxed hair was exposed to the chemicals during the rinse out and was becoming thinner. My oldest daughter went through the transitioning to natural journey and although I chickened out while she went through it, this was the right time for me.
I do not regret going natural and appreciate the support from sites like Curlynikki and individuals willing to reach out Zhara, Frizzcurls, Iris, Maria, Nikole, Kai and you (so many, I can’t name them all). I thank God for giving me strength and continually guiding me in this journey. I love the health and vibrance my hair has maintained since becoming natural. Although I know I have a ways to go as a newbie, I look forward to continually learning my hair and supporting others as I have been.