I have been natural for five years. Prior to doing my big chop, I transitioned for seven months.
What motivated you to transition?
I decided to go natural because my hair was damaged. I grew up getting my hair pressed at beauty salons, faithfully, every two weeks. I did not even know what my natural texture was like. I got my first perm during my senior year of high school at 17. When I got the perm, I had long, thick hair that was bra-strap length. After getting the perm, I immediately noticed a difference in the thickness of my hair. My hair became thin and damaged. I had to get haircuts at the salon regularly to remove the damaged ends. Beauticians also treated my hair with protein treatments, advising that they would help repair the damage. However, nothing worked and my hair continued to break off. After having a perm for three years, I decided that going natural was the only way I could return to my thick, healthy hair. I transitioned from August 2008 to March 2009 using roller sets. I used this style because I am prone to having a dry, itchy scalp, so braids and weaves were never practical for me. I also liked it because it made it easy to hide the new growth of my natural hair. I big chopped after seven months of transitioning.
How would you describe your hair?
I have a kinky, curly hair texture in the 4A/4B category that is moderately thick.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love that my hair is BIG! I absolutely love the big hair look that I am able to achieve with my own natural hair texture. I think big hair is beautiful and fierce!
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?! The most memorable part of my journey was the beginning when I was learning how to style and care for my hair. Every time I found a new product or tried a new hairstyle (that actually turned out right), it was like a milestone achievement to me. The most difficult part of my journey was learning to be more confident in myself and who I was inside and to not place my self-worth on the hair on my head. I was so used to being the girl with long straight hair that having a small afro was a huge change for me. After building myself up from the inside, I finally became comfortable in my own skin with my natural, God-given hair texture.
What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
My favorite transitioning style was a roller set because I styled it to look like a curly fro. It gave me a preview of what my hair was going to look like once I did the big chop.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
In the beginning, some of my family members and a few male friends had negative reactions to me going natural. My dad and grandmother would always tell me I needed to “get my hair done” and would offer to pay for it. (That still makes me laugh out loud.) Some of my male friends would ask what was wrong with my hair. Keep in mind that this was back in 2009 when the natural hair movement was just beginning to gain momentum, so they were not used to seeing many women with short natural hair. Despite the criticism, I had hair goals in mind, so I ignored their comments, and stuck to my plan to obtain thick, healthy hair.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I complete my wash routine every two weeks. I used to do it every week, but that got tiring and too time consuming as my hair grew. I wash it thoroughly in four sections, detangle it section by section, and then deep condition it under the dryer. I usually style my hair using twist-outs or rod roller sets. On special occasions, I’ll curl hair that has been stretched with a twists using a curling wand. My favorite product line for washing/conditioning is the Carol’s Daughter Manoi Collection. My favorite products for styling are the Entwine Couture Butter Crème Hydrator and the Crème Jelly Styler and As I Am Naturally Twist Defining Cream.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My favorite natural hair YouTubers are Kimmaytube, Ms. Vaughn TV, Meechy Monroe, and My NaturalSistas. My favorite natural hair blogs are CurlyNikki.com and Black Girl Long Hair.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Do not become discouraged during your natural hair journey. Your journey will be filled with many lessons and ups and downs. Through it all, just remember your hair goals and do not allow negativity from others to bring you down. Seek out support when needed through friends or online blogs and forums. There’s a community of women with natural hair on the web who are beautiful on the inside and outside. Be confident in and stand strong in the truth of who you are!
Where can people find you for more information?
I have a blog called Queen Life that covers the topics of fashion, beauty, natural hair, health, and happiness. The link is www.queenlifeblog.com. I can also be found on Instagram and Twitter @queenlifeblog. My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/queenlifeblog1.