by Pamela Staver of Pamela Going Natural

I am a 43 year old curly transitioning to natural hair. I began my journey back in December of 2009 when I noticed that my hair was changing due to chemical relaxers, neglect, heredity and age. My hair, on the sides near the front, was beginning to thin. This really upset me! So, I decided, no more relaxing and that I was going to learn everything that I could about maximizing my hair’s health and taking care of it myself.

I began studying sites like Curlynikki and others online to get tips on how to care for my hair. I loved these sites but became really discouraged and disheartened to learn that because of my unique hair challenges, I’m not always able to achieve the styles and looks that I see on others. At first I was so tempted to big chop, but, because my hair had begun to thin and seemed to be growing considerably slower than when I was younger, I was afraid that if I chopped all my hair down to a TWA, that it would remain that way forever! You hear people talk about how they did the big chop thinking, “Hey, it’s just hair…it’ll grow back”. Well, I wasn’t so confident that mine WOULD grow back! So, I decided to do a long, slow transition.

I learned about protective styling, half-wigs and keeping my hair moisturized as well as handling it gently. To my delight, it does seem to be thriving and growing! Once I began to see some progress, I did start slowly trimming the relaxed ends off a little at a time. Now, about 14 months later, the back and sides of my hair are completely natural and I only have a little bit of relaxed hair left on the top. My natural hair is about 5.5 – 6 inches long in most spots on my head, when stretched. The hair at my temples doesn’t seem to be as thin anymore…at least it’s not getting any thinner – LOL! My initial goal was to grow out my natural hair to the point where it was about the same length as the relaxed hair was when I began my transition. I think I’ve reached that goal! Now, I’m aiming for shoulder length. I’ve also joined Kim Coles’ Grow Out Challenge on NaturallyCurly.com, so when the challenge ends in July, I plan to trim off the remainder of my relaxed ends…that is if I’ve reached my goal by then ;0) Check out my new Youtube channel for updates on my journey.

What struggles have you faced as an older curly and what solutions can you share with others?