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Curly Nikki

Tigi’s Tauri Talks About Transitioning

By January 27th, 202115 Comments
by Michelle Breyer of

Women cite numerous reasons for going natural. For Tauri Laws-Phillips, Tigi Haircare’s media and public relations manager, transitioning to natural hair after 16 years of relaxers was prompted by her upcoming wedding.

Her blonde, blue-eyed fiancé looked much different than her, and she realized her children were probably going to have hair that wasn’t like hers. She thought about her own biases about her kinky hair, and how they had come from her mother’s views about her own hair. She wanted her children to grow up with a more positive attitude about their hair, whether it be wavy, curly or kinky.

Tigi's Tauri Talks About Transitioningpre-transitioning

“I have a family where in which we have the full range of color and texture of hair you have in the African-American culture represented. I remember my family’s negative feelings about their natural hair texture. Such an importance was put on having straighter hair. All of us were relaxed so young—subscribing to what other’s views of beauty was. If I couldn’t embrace who I was, how could I teach my children to accept themselves? If I’m changing things about me, how can I help them accept who they are, exactly how they were made?

I embarked on the journey to see who I was and started transitioning immediately. I made the decision I wasn’t going to do another relaxer—did the deep dive. I wished my hair would grow and be healthy, but I bleached, straightened everything. It wouldn’t grow past my shoulders.

‘Okay, we’re going to try this,’ I thought. That’s when I started to fall in love with what it could look like. A lot of CurlyNikki and YouTube brought me to that realization.

So, I wore braids and roller sets for a year. Then, for a friend’s wedding, I let a friend straighten my transitioning hair. Afterwards, I was pulling out masses of hair. When I got home, I made decision it was all over. Sitting at my desk on a Tuesday, after work, I got out the spray bottle and I cut the front first. Then, I cut all of my hair. I took a picture of my now husband as he came through the door.

‘It’s beautiful,’ he exclaimed.

Tigi's Tauri Talks About TransitioningBig Chopped! Aug 2009

Now he loves it. It’s so funny. He knows everything possible about black hair. He helped me take out my braids. He can tell anybody what I’m using on any given day. It was really good for us because he went on the journey with me. It was important for him to understand what I was doing and why it was culturally important. Important especially for him to help understand how to support his children in the same way. We all went out to see the movie “Good Hair” so he could ask all of his questions about African American hair.

For the most part, my family is supportive. When I was getting married, mom asked if I was getting a relaxer for the wedding.

‘Are you getting a straightener,’ she said.

‘I did not go through all this just to put in a relaxer in Jamaica,’ I told her.

For the wedding, I wore it in a twist-out puff. It ended up raining the entire day so I though there was no reason to try to fight nature. I looked like me.”

For most of her life, though, Laws-Phillips thought going natural was something other people did.

“I thought ‘I can’t do that,’” she says. “I thought there was no way I could look presentable. I thought I would look terrible.”

Today, Laws-Phillips is celebrating her 2-year anniversary, and has no regrets.

Laws-Phillips says transitioning to natural hair is both emotional and physical. It’s about changing your views, confronting your bias and getting up close and personal with the idea of how you’re going to look with natural hair.

“It’s about getting comfortable in your own skin,” Laws-Phillips says. ‘As your hair is growing out, it’s a great time to look at pictures and re-pattern all the thoughts you have about your hair.”

For so many years, she says her natural roots were the “big bad wolf” – signaling another trip to the stylist for a relaxer.

“When you’re transitioning to natural hair, you come to think about the new growth as something exciting,” she says. “It’s exciting to see whether you’re going to be a 3c or a 4a or a 4b. It’s kind of like the birthing process.”

Laws-Phillips joined Tigi in March, and is loving the opportunity to discover new product combinations.

“There’s no better job for a product junkie,” Laws-Phillips says.

Tigi's Tauri Talks About TransitioningMarch 2011

Tauri’s Tips for Transitioning to Natural Hair

1. Stay away from heat! “If you must, protect your hair.”

Tauri admits that in the weeks before she did her big chop, she broke down and let a hair stylist hot comb her hair for a friend’s wedding. “Big mistake! When I cut my hair, I had damage and ended up a bit shorter than I had hoped.”

2. Find fun natural styles.

“I transitioned for nine months with mostly braids. When I needed a more polished look, I did a roller set or Bantu knot-outs.”

3. Involve everyone!

“It was such a fun journey to learn about my hair. I dragged my co-workers, friends and family along with me. My blonde German fiancée learned so much. He saw me put braids in and helped me take them out,” says Laws-Phillips.

One big advantage of involving people is that she rarely received mean spirited comments.

“In fact a co-worker and fellow natural did my big chop, and I never felt so loved as the day I debuted my two inches of curls to the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ of fellow co-workers. When presented with the story of an adult taking the journey into self-acceptance and awareness, I find everyone embraces you.”

4. Do research.

Look at different styles. What works for others may not work for you.

5. Be gentle.

Kinky hair can be fragile. “I have stopped over-detangling. One time in the shower is plenty!”

6. Experiment with products.

Find out what your hair likes. “Olive oil is too heavy for me, but I adore jojoba oil,” says Laws-Phillips.

7. Water is your friend.

“My hair is happiest when I co-wash one to two times per week and wash/condition and deep condition it weekly.”

Some of Laws-Phillips’ favorite look and Tigi products include:

– For a super defined curly ‘fro, she mixes Catwalk Curlesque Curls Rock Amplifier with Catwalk Curlesque Defining Serum She shingles the Curls Rock Amplifier through her hair and then when it’s 75% dry, she goes over the ends with the serum, which she emulsifies between her hands.

– For an everyday wash and go look, she applies Sleek Mystique Fast Fixx Style Prep in the shower and then sections her hair and applies a “gumball-sized amount” of Catwalk Session Series Wet Look Gel. “Then I shake, shake, shake and put a t-shirt on my head to catch the drips while get ready. I can’t tell you the joyous squeal I let out when I figured out that I didn’t have to shingle to get definition, and I’m done in about three minutes.”

– For her “best twist and curl to date,” she uses Catwalk Sleek Mystique Blow Out Balm to protect her hair and shorten the blow-dry time. “I do a modified chasing method using my Denman brush and blowing my hair lightly until it’s 80 percent dry to stretch it.” Then she uses S-Factor Spun Satin to define the twists.


  • TIGI says:

    i love straight hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Why are we as race to negative??

    Lovely story Tauri and great reason to go natural and embrace your heritage and beauty!

  • Anonymous says:

    WOW!!! Can we all just get along… This is suppose to be a time of happiness, not negativity.

  • Leslie says:

    love your hair!

  • Anonymous says:

    So non black owned hair companies are now using their black staff to get exposure in the natural hair blogosphere and get themselves some free promotion.
    Sure beats spending millions on print or tv advertising!

    What's next, L'Oreal's sales support assistant shares her natural hair journey? Or maybe Pantene's office manager gives twist out styling tips?

  • Ms. Harmony says:

    Hey Tauri girl!

    I'm loving your locks!!

  • Levone says:

    Great story! Such an inspiration to those transitioning or thinking about it I'm sure.

  • NappyMarge says:

    funny your hubby is german 😉 mine to lol! and he loves my natural hair, he helps me put product on it, put curlformers or twist in. Its encouraging when you have that hubby who supports you. What is your hair type?

  • Anonymous says:

    lmao anon above…yeah…

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok… your fiance is blonde and blued-eyed we get it.

  • Rece says:

    She's gorgeous!!! (Nice eyebrows LOL).

    Very nice post and that's a great reason to transition to natural hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey. This feature speaks volumes on a relationship level. It appears that while some brothers (not all, but some e.g. professional athletes and the like), go to great lengths to pursue straight haired females, some men of other ethnicities are ready to embrace and affirm us.

  • Anonymous says:

    She's so pretty. I enjoyed reading her story. 🙂

  • Christie B. says:

    This is great!!! I'm so happy that I read this. I'm ten months transitioning and I've been a bit frustrated with my hair. I have been thinking about trying braids. Thanks for sharing this story!

  • DFig says:

    This story is beautiful because it reminds me of me and my husband. He cut my hair for my "big chop" (after one year of transitioning). He mailed me products when I was working overseas. He was my biggest champion. He, who is not black and has bone straight hair, has learned so much about me and my culture via my hair.

    Good luck as you start your marriage, your future children will be lucky to have a mama like you (already setting a great example!).

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