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Curly Nikki

On the Couch with Danielle

By January 27th, 202115 Comments

On the Couch with Danielle

5 Things I’ve Noticed Since Transitioning Out of a Relaxer
by Danielle of The Fashion Bomb Blog

After about a gazillion false starts over the past five years, it was this July when I finally joined the hundreds of thousands of Black women foregoing relaxers. I said buh-bye to my Phytorelaxer Index 2 and hello to a world I’ve never really known since I was in elementary school.

Though I’m only three months in, here’s five things I’ve noticed so far…

1. I’m not anti-straight hair or anti-relaxer. It happens once in a while when I mention I’m giving up relaxing; a friend or an associate starts to slowly defend their reasoning for their every-six-weeks touch-up even though all I said was I wasn’t perming any more.

Just because I decided to go natural doesn’t mean I’m going to picket in front of Dudley’s headquarters protesting perms. Nor will I be on Jamaica Ave (Queens, stand up) grabbing hostages to convert them. My reasons for going natural aren’t after some big profound self-reflection about European or African standards of beauty. I just wanted kinks. And one day maybe I’ll get a weave.

2. People look me in my hair during conversation instead of in the eyes. I’ve got these great big ole eyes that on any given day are adorned with volumizing mascara and a hint of color framed by some really nice brows (thanks, Rajni), but now that my kinks are showing all the attention goes there. It’s actually pretty hilarious when I see someone’s eyes slowly go to my hair when they’re talking to me. Like I know they’re thinking “OHHHH EMMM GEEEE”. Cracks me up every time.

3. Your hair does start to break off at the decarmation line. I’ve been reading up on natural hair for years now and I knew that the relaxed part of your hair could break off in some spots. I just had it in my head it wouldn’t happen to me. Like I had some special super powers or something. I do not. Oh, and if you ever see random hair tumbling down the street, that used to be my bangs.

4. My mom’s not as anti-natural as I thought. When I was like five or six my mama slapped a perm in my head. Not sure what her reasoning was back then, but since she used to hit me with the comb for moving my head as she braided my hair, I guess I know why. During my “maybe I want to go natural/maybe not” stage, she often would tell me my hair would fall out without perms or make the “ewww” face. But not too long ago she said one of my braidouts looked cute and on another occasion suggested I just cut all my hair off like Janet Jackson. Uh, thanks, mom but I don’t have a Janet Jackson head. Remember you had me by c-section? Yeah.

5. Transitioning ain’t easy, but I don’t care what people think. When I was 25 and under anything deemed somewhat negative that was said about my appearance would have sent me into a sobbing, spiraling mess with a 9 A.M. next day appointment to a therapist. But one of the main benefits of getting older is you become much more secure with yourself and often tend to not give a ratty shoe about what people think. There are days during this transition when my hair looks really bad. Between my five day a week workouts and my knack for putting the snooze on repeat, my hair can look pretty hurt. But for all I need to cram into a 24 hour day, I can’t get put into a straight jacket because someone dissed my hair. Besides, some of the jokes/comments are funny…lol. I’m only three months in, can’t buckle down now. *puts on combat boots*

And that’s that. I wonder how any of this will change six months or even a year from now…

Ever been in my shoes? Even if you didn’t go natural, I’m sure at some point you tried a new hairstyle with mixed reaction. Spill your experience in the comments 🙂


Republished with Permission from The Fashion Bomb Blog


  • Anonymous says:

    This was a great article. I am in my seventh month of transition, and I must agree that I am definitely having some suspect hair days. I even called several of my girlfriends for encouragement after a colleague asked why was wearing my hair so "curly." Confidence is a must. I get the "OHHHH EMMMM GEEEE" stares all of the time, but I tell myself that they are admiring my hair…even if they are not!

  • Rayna says:

    I've been transitioning since January, and I've experienced a lot of breakage. Like you, I've also noticed that "people look me in my hair during conversation instead of in the eyes." Sometimes I wonder if it is an “OHHHH EMMM GEEEE” thing, like you said, or if they're admiring my hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes to Jamaica Ave. Linden Blvd is home for me!!!LOL

  • Anonymous says:

    Great post home girl. Greetings from Queens, NY too (Hillside Ave.) I can definitely relate to the eye to hair comment. I wish that I could guide their eyes, but I have to be polite now!

  • Anonymous says:

    I used to care what other people thought of my hair, that's why I gave in to peer pressure and begged my mom to relax my hair but as a traditional Spanish lady, she refused to allow me to do so until I had fully "developled". Fast-forward to now and I honestly can't tell you when I stopped giving a "ratty shoe" about what other people thought – I just know that I haven't for a long time. Nobody pays my bills but me so I only take seriously my own opinion about my hair. LOL
    I'm 8 month post relaxer now and I have to say that there are definitely days my hair looks lots better than others but ces't la vie 😉
    I've actually been getting a lot of attention and compliments on my hair when I do a flex-style…then if I put it back in a bun because it's not looking so hot on the 2nd or 3rd day, I hear "…she's back to her "real" self". Raised eyebrow. lol

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm starting my seventh month of transitioning and my new growth is seriously fighting my relaxed hair. In fact my relaxed hair is thining however my flexirod sets does wonders so I will continue to do those and braid outs. Like Danielle I don't have the head to big chop. I did that in 2002 and it wasn't a bad look but it wasn't good either. As far a work goes, I've been getting a lot of compliments from coworkers on my hair styles. I've always gotten great compliments on my natural hair, much more than my relaxed look. I'm hoping to make it eighteen months so pray for me family. lol

  • Anonymous says:

    that picture is not danielle. that's aminat from the 13th cycle of antm. great article though

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article! Although my transition was short, I can still relate to things you've noticed. ~KF519

  • Anonymous says:

    Love the pics for this post! …oh, and the post too 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    LOVE Danielle!!!

    I'm 6 months into my transition and I've had plenty "busted days". It's really hard for me because I don't do busted hair LOL, but I have to deal with it. These permed ends start to kill my braid/twist outs after a few days.

    I've definitely gotten some looks of confusion, especially because people are used to seeing my hair straight. Transitioning definitely takes some tough skin, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel so I'm good.

    I'm REALLY tired of people asking why I'm transitioning with the "stank face". I really would like to simply say, "Ummm because that's what I want to do"!

  • redeemed says:

    Great article! I can surely relate to it.I remember someone looking at my hair and could read the expression on her face!She had good self-control though and didn't say anythting! LOL

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm with you on the demarcation line thing. I really thought I could keep my hair at first the first year. I found out pretty quickly that wasn't the case lol. And I thought my hair was breaking off badly with the perm… During that year of transitioning my hair was coming out in clumps. I began to not really care though at the 6 month mark. The way I saw it, I was going to cut it off in 6 months anyway.

    I'm also with you on number 1. Only I don't get women defending their relaxer, but I get women who tried to go natural defending and apologizing for going back. I'm too nice to say: Girl I don't give a damn what you do with your hair! I ain't yo mama! LOL – Domino

  • Anonymous says:

    great write-up!!! Congrats for finding yourself and doing what makes you happy…natural or not 🙂

  • Efe says:

    "People look me in my hair during conversation instead of in the eyes."

    People do this to me all the time! It's weird. I guess it all the funky updos. *shrugs*

  • Marilie says:

    When I went natural it wasn't a long transition. I already had a short cut, but I had a relaxer. I went from relaxer, to texturizer, to natural. But the transition between relaxer to texturizer was a PAIN. I was working out pretty regularly at that time, and my stylist would put in styles trying to camoflage the two textures. I'd sweat it out and it would look like "who did it and what for" no matter how I tried to fix it. I know people were like, "WTH is she doing to her hair?" When it was finally in the texturizer stage, people calmed down.

    I'm sure they had issues when I transitioned from texturizer to natural. Especially since all the lovely websites that we have now, were not out back then (this was in 2003). It was straight trial and error, and I know some days it was a mess. But it was my hair. It was growing, it was healthy, and at that point I didn't care what they thought. 🙂

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