CN:Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
B:I was planning on transitioning for the long term, but it became very exhausting and hard to deal with the two textures. I decided to cut it 8 months into it because my hair was getting annoying. I also felt sick of trying to hide my hair and constantly worrying about it. I’ve always been a fan of long hair, but I had to come to the realization that I couldn’t keep juggling the two textures any longer.
CN:When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
B: I did the big chop February 12,2011. I just turned 18 and decided that this was the right time. When I went to the hair stylist, she told me how damaged and useless my relaxed ends were. As she snipped off the last bits, I felt as if all the pressure of society was lifted off of me. I felt better about myself, and discovered that for all these years I had very nice hair under the damaged ends. I was not only happy, but I could finally see ME.
CN:How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
B:My mother is Japanese and is a fan of straight, long hair. So when she saw my hair, she was very upset and did not like how it looked on me. A little bit of time went by and she finally accepted my hair and thinks it is cute! On the other hand my grandmother, who is African American hated my hair. She told me that I should be ashamed of myself for cutting all my hair off and making it “nappy”. I just ignored her and didn’t really care for her opinion. My friends really loved it, especially my white and Asian friends, but the saddest thing was that most of my black friends hated it. I was pretty shocked, but I just ignored their rude remarks.
CN:What was your transition routine?
B: I used L’Oreal Ever Strong Shampoo and Infusium 23 conditioner. I also used Cantu Leave in Conditioning Repair Cream and olive oil. I braided my hair and would sleep with the braids in a hair wrap and then unbraided my hair in the morning. It was an extremely annoying process to say the least.
CN:What was your staple hair style during the transition?
B:My staple hairstyle was a bun with a head band. I have a lot of head bands so I began to use them almost all the time. I really liked the hair style but my hair just looked really dry and unhealthy, so I didn’t want to do these hair styles anymore, because it showed how weak my hair was.
CN:How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
B:My relaxed ends kept breaking off and I honestly did not do a good job of keeping my hair moisturized. My stylist told me that my new growth was very dry, and I honestly believed that I took good care of it, but I guess I didn’t. I didn’t have a good method of keeping my hair moisturized because no one ever taught me how to properly take care of my hair. The stylists I have been to have only taught me how to take care of my hair in its relaxed state.
CN:Why did you choose to go natural?
B:Every morning I looked in the mirror and felt as if I was hiding myself from the world. Relaxed hair protected me from all the criticism and bullying. I remember being bullied so harshly because of my naturally curly hair back when I lived in Japan, and even in America, I was made fun of for having big, kinky hair. I cried for hours and always believed that straight hair was the best hair. The last time I got a relaxer, it burned so badly that I decided enough was enough. My hair kept breaking off, getting dry, and I started getting dandruff. I look at my pictures from when I was way younger and I ask myself, ‘why didn’t I love the hair God had given me?’ I really did have good hair. I told myself that people’s opinions don’t matter, even my family’s opinions. I thought about how free I would become. I always believed that a visit to the stylist had to be painful and exhausting, but ever since my big chop, my head feels unharmed, good, and happy. I honestly chose to go natural because I want to be healthy and be a good example for not only my children in the future, but African American women, especially bi-racial African American women.