CN: Were you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
R: My intention was to be a long-term transitioner, but my hair wasn’t having it! When I was 7 months post, I got up one Saturday and did my weekly wash and steam treatment. However, when I went to rinse my hair, to my horror, it was matted terribly at the demarcation line. I’m sure I came out of the bathroom using every swear word I knew. My husband looked at me and said, “You’re going to cut your hair aren’t you?” I said, “No, I’m just going to dump some conditioner on it and try to detangle.” That didn’t happen! I couldn’t even put a comb through the knot in the middle of my head. It was horrible. I looked at my husband and said, “Are you sure you don’t mind if I cut it off?” He went into my drawer, got my hair shears, and said, “Let’s do this.” I called my mom before I started cutting and told her that I had already done it just to get her reaction. At first she said, “Why would you do that?!” Then, she told me to send her pictures. So I started cutting! After the first cut, my husband’s eyes doubled in size. It was as if he couldn’t believe I actually did it! He pulled out his camera and started snapping pictures.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
R: December 4th is when I started the BC. I had cut my hair all different lengths trying to get as close to my new growth as possible, but I couldn’t do it alone. I drove to my mom’s house and asked her to help me. On top of that, I had a dinner party to attend within 2 hours! After a while, we had to stop so I could get ready. It turned out to be a semi-BC. The next day I woke up and panicked. I never had hair that short, and I had no idea what to do with it. A week later, I got kinky twists and kept them in for 3 months. As soon as I removed the braids, I called the natural hair salon and asked for the BC special! They fit me in that day. The official BC day was March 5th, 2011, and I am in love with my natural hair! I feel like I have a shiny new toy!
CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
R: My mother couldn’t believe I actually did it, but the funniest reaction came from my sister. She called it a crime scene. She was just distraught. The funny thing about it is that she’s been short and natural for years! I went straight to her house after I finished with the chop, and the first thing she said was, “I don’t like it.” I just burst out laughing. I was a little apprehensive my first day at work as a natural. I actually bought a wig because I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be seen with such a dramatic change. I walked around my house for a couple of hours with it on, and I just felt uncomfortable. I thought, “Why cut off all of my hair only to turn around and wear a wig.” So I put the wig up and went into the office rocking my own hair. All of the reactions have been extremely positive. The first thing people said was, “You cut off all that hair?” Then they follow it up with, “I love it!” There is one guy in the office that lives for snarky remarks and snide comments. When he said he liked it, I felt really good.
CN: What was your transition routine?
R: I don’t think I really had a routine for transitioning. I washed and deep conditioned my hair religiously and kept it in a bun 99.9% of the time even before I decided to go natural. I was a product junky. I used everything at least once. I like to make my own hair oils and butters, but when I’m feeling lazy, I’ll go pick up Oyin’s Whipped Shea Butter. I like most of their products, and since I live in Maryland, they’re easy for me to obtain. My other staple products were Joico products, VO5 Moisture Milks, Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor, LTR and Vatika Oil, and coconut oil or wheat germ oil.
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
R: Bunning. I only wore my hair down if I was going someplace special or after I got a trim, which meant I had to get my hair flat ironed. Other than that, my hair stayed in an air-dried bun.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
R: I kept a spray bottle of water mixed with VO5, some type of oil, and some essential oils. I would spray that on my hair every other day and follow up with LTR and Vatika Oil. I also deep conditioned every week and tried to steam my hair at least twice a month.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
R: I’ve wanted to go natural for a while but always found myself relaxing my hair after about 6 months afterward because I just couldn’t deal with the different textures and the length at the same time. I had honestly never considered a BC, but I hated getting perms. Back in 2006, I actually got a perm that sent me to the doctor with 2nd degree burns on my scalp. The doctor, a white male, looked at me and said, “Is this really the price of beauty?” That should have been my wake-up call, but going natural never crossed my mind at that time. That didn’t happen until probably 3 years later. Since that incident, I was always scared of getting a new relaxer. I would spread them out so far that it made the process so difficult that I couldn’t do it myself, and the salon easily charged me $180! After my last relaxer in May 2010, I decided to do it no more! I had intended to transition for a year, but my hair getting tangled that day, pushed me over the edge. I’m glad it did. I honestly don’t know why I wanted to wait so long. Words can’t describe how I feel about rocking my natural hair. I feel like a new woman. I know I’ll never go back!