CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
Initially, I had planned to transition for 2 years. However, it only ended up being 11 months, which is still a long term transition in my opinion. My last relaxer was in August 2010. My reason for the long term transition was simply that I was used to having long hair. After having lengthy hair all my life, I couldn’t fathom having short hair and I didn’t feel I had the courage to do a big chop sooner than 2 years. As time went on and I got more comfortable with the idea, I was open to big chopping sooner, which is what happened.
CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I big chopped on July 20, 2011. The Sunday before that Wednesday was wash day and after washing and detangling my hair, I noticed that I was experiencing more breakage as my transition went on and I wasn’t sure if I would have much hair by the time I reached 2 years post relaxer. I went in the room and told my boyfriend I wanted to cut the relaxed hair off and he said go for it. So that Tuesday, I set up the appointment and went the next day for my big chop. My reaction was actually more mild than I expected. I guess I was already used to having natural hair because I did natural hair styles regularly as I transitioned. Also, because I had transitioned for 11 months, I had about 5 inches of natural hair under my relaxed hair. I’m very satisfied with my decision and I feel rejuvenated.
CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My friends had been supportive since day one so it didn’t surprise me when they were enthused about my big chop. They all love it and understand why I decided to take that route. My family, on the other hand, did not take it lightly; specifically my mother. Since the beginning, she hasn’t liked the idea of me going natural so big chopping made it no better. Her response was harsh but we soon came to terms and she told me she supported my decision after I expressed to her my reasoning for my journey. I think it’s just surprising because I had long hair and I cut it off by choice, not because I had to.
CN: What was your transition routine?
My transition routine was not too technical. I washed my hair once a week and did mid-week co-washes when I did braid outs. I got acquainted with one of KimmayTube’s protective styles and started wearing it regularly. Occasionally, I did something different like a flexi-rod set or straightening. The products I used included Giovanni’s Smooth as Silk shampoo and conditioner as well as Giovanni’s Direct Leave-in. I used an oil blend by Jessicurl containing avocado oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil to seal in moisture regularly and shea butter along with Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie for my braid outs.
CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
My staple hair styles were braid outs and a protective style that allowed for all my ends to be tucked. These styles came to me over time but when I first started transitioning, I straightened my hair regularly. This is when I knew nothing about natural hair care and the flat iron was all I knew. About 4 months into my transition, I got acquainted with the YouTube gurus and I learned a great deal about natural hair care. That is when I started taking a more protective approach to my hair.
CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
To keep my hair hydrated, I washed regularly making sure I didn’t any chemicals in my hair that needed sulfates to remove. I stuck to sulfate free shampoos to make sure my hair was never stripped of its natural oils. I immediately saw a difference when I stopped using sulfate shampoos and started using less harsh products in my hair. I tried to stick with organic products and that also contributed to my hair being easier to manage. When I did my braid outs, I used shea butter and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to keep my hair moisturized so it wouldn’t be brittle. I also deep conditioned once a week using a water based, silicone free conditioner and this really contributed to keeping my hair moisturized. Breakage is what ultimately caused me to big chop, though. I never found out if the breakage I was experiencing was normal for transitioners, it just seemed like it was increasing so I decided to be proactive.
CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I choose to go natural because I couldn’t figure out why my hair stopped growing and why it wasn’t as thick as I liked. Also, my best friend has been natural for about 3-4 years now and she always told me that I didnt need a relaxer. Because I was so accustomed to long, straight hair, I always thought she was nuts. One day, I decided to do some research and what I saw on YouTube and through my searches on Google made me want to take that giant leap.over to the natural hair community. I had never seen so many people with healthy, gorgeous, textured hair and it made me want to having long, textured hair myself.