CN: Were you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
A: I was short-term transitioner, but it felt like forever. I transitioned for 3 short months before I couldn’t stand the different textures anymore and cut off all of the permed hair.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
A: I did my final BC just this past weekend! I say final because I did a series of chops where I would have a layer of permed hair cut off every month.
CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
A: When I told my family what I planned to do, they were all against it. They thought I would look like a boy with extremely short hair. My hair was already short. So I don’t know why they freaked. I think it was because, like me, they didn’t know what to expect outside of my permed hair. I honestly did care about their reactions but not enough to not do it. I wanted my daughter to embrace her natural kinky curly hair, and that was my motivation.
CN: What was your transition routine?
A: When I first started, I didn’t know how to take care of my hair. I wasn’t very good at it before. My hair progressively became shorter and shorter every year. It went from being right above my butt as a child to right below my ears as an adult. I never did any intentional cuts to make my hair shorter. It was just so damaged all of the time, between all of the trims and breakage, it just ended up that length. I watched a ton of natural journey stories. I just followed what everyone did and used products they used until I was comfortable with the products I am using now. I would wash my hair with swimming shampoo, regular shampoo, and conditioner every other night. Then, I would roll the permed hair in small straws. It was beyond annoying having to do this every other day, but because I swim that often for training, I had to. I would take extra measures to put a heavy layer of conditioner in my hair before I swam. It was difficult because I never found anyone with a natural hair story that swam as much as I did. I used Giavonni Leave-In Conditioner, shea moisture, and olive oil in my hair. I went to the shop and had it deep conditioned every 2 to 3 weeks.
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
A: TWA. I really couldn’t do anything else. I would Mohawk it back as much as I could. I thought this was cute, especially when I had permed hair.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
A: I would put leave-in conditioner in my hair, shea moisture, and olive oil on it either every night or every other night. I’m still learning how to take care of it to be honest. Any suggestions are appreciated.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
A: I decided to go natural because my daughter was always asking me to straighten her hair because she wanted to look like the other girls in her class. She is the only African American girl nearly everywhere she goes these days. I absolutely love her hair, and it breaks my heart that she doesn’t think the way God made it is beautiful. I wanted to teach her to embrace her beautiful curls. How could I do that if I didn’t even embrace mine? Teaching her to love herself just the way God made her seemed a little hypocritical when I got a perm every 6 months. I didn’t realize that the journey would be so emotional and spiritual for me. I learned a lot about myself in my transition and journey. Ultimately, I learned to love myself like never before. I saw a natural beauty in me that I couldn’t see before because my beauty was always determined by my hair. When that was gone, I was forced to see my eyes, my lips, my freckles, and my smile. It sounds crazy, but before my journey, I don’t think I ever saw my face for what it was. Stunning!