My Natural Hair Journey
July 22, 2011 was the day of my last relaxer. I decided I would take my journey to natural hair late August which is now a year ago. I tried to embark on this journey back in 2007. I was not successful at all. At the time I had long hair and I had not done any research on the process of going natural. Let’s just say that was a BIG MISTAKE! About 3 months into the journey the humidity in the south made my hair go whoosh like a big balloon and I ran back to the relaxer. Even though I had succumbed to the temptation of the creamy crack, having natural hair never left my mind. I thought about it for years.
my attempt to transition in 2007
My reasons for wanting to go natural were because the creamy crack always burned the crap out of scalp, my hair dye and relaxer just would not play nicely together, and dandruff wanted to take control and hang out in my hair. I would have relaxers burns, no matter how much of that orange medicated stuff was slathered on my scalp. My hair would break off when I would get my hair dyed, no matter how many deep conditioners and trims I would get. The dandruff seemed to multiply when I turned 30. My subconscious said enough already!
I started researching whether to big chop or transition in August 2011. I decided to transition, since I have always had medium to long hair. This time my hair was cut in an angled bob. It was much shorter than the mane and tail in the picture above. I decided this time I would gradually cut it off. In my mind, this was going to be a piece of cake. If I can style and maintain relaxed hair surely I can do this. Well about 4 months into the transition the new growth was taking over. The body/roller wrap was no longer working. I started getting my hair flat ironed to hide the new growth. That was working out just lovely. Only a few people knew I was transitioning. Meanwhile, I kept doing my research on the internet. I started seeing stuff about hair types, product junkies, natural hair styles. Wait a minute!!! Talk about overwhelmed. I realized I needed to enroll in a Go Natural 101 course. I started asking questions and talking to friends that were natural. One friend finally asked, “What do you want to achieved with natural hair?” She said if you want to have chemical free hair but want the straight look then continue to flat-iron. She went on to say if you ever want to see and develop your natural curl pattern stop flat ironing immediately. She informed me that I must wear styles that will blend the two textures of relaxed and natural. She said try roller sets, rod sets, straw sets, Bantu knots, etc. She also said most people choose to wear sew-ins and braids during the transition. She also suggested products I should try. This was the turning point of my journey. Thank you CJC!!! You know who you are!
I decided I would take my friend’s advice. After that I started reading everything I could find on the internet about natural hair. I pulled out my notebook and took notes. I stumbled across several websites and watched tons of You Tube videos. Among the many websites,Curly Nikki was one of them. A very informative website, thanks Curly Nikki. My first transition style was the Bantu knots. It looked like a straw set because I did them small, nevertheless I liked it. I’m sorry there’s no picture to show. I hated the picture but the hair was cute. I went to work that morning rockin the new hair-do. We had a staff meeting that morning and I was late of course. When I entered everyone just stopped and looked. That made me very nervous. My boss said, “I love the hair!” She then added, “That’s why she’s late, she wanted to make a grand entrance.” I gave my nervous shy smile and found a seat. After the meeting, several people came to me and complimented my hair. I must say I was impressed with the response.
I continued with my journey and trying different styles. The style that worked the most for me during that point of the transition was the twist n curl. I was a twisting and curling sista. I could get at least 2-3 days out of that style. The products that I started using were Giovanni Smooth As Silk Shampoo and Conditioner, Suave Almond & Shea Butter Conditioner for co-washing, and Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Cream. I later added Kinky Curly Knot Today and Curling Custard to the stash.
I started to notice my curl pattern and tried to figure out my hair type based on that. It was too confusing. I don’t think I will ever figure that out. I asked my mom what was my hair like when I was a little girl. She said it was really thick and I had a lot of it! She said some parts were wavy, some were curly, and some were kinky. She said it took a while to wash, press, and style my hair because I had so much hair. I remember those Saturday Sessions by the stove. It was mom and I, the pressing comb, and Blue Magic hair grease. Yikes! My mom was adamant about not putting a relaxer in my hair. I remember I wanted to be like everyone else and get a relaxer. Pam said no!! I got my first relaxer in the 5th or 6th grade against my mom’s wishes. My step-dad got the bright idea to take me to a salon to get a relaxer. When we got home, he got cursed out big time. My mom was pissed. He was in the doghouse for a long time. I’m glad I was just a kid. For some reason in 7th-8th grade I didn’t get a relaxer. My mom took really good care of my hair because I didn’t have breakage. By the time I was in the 9th grade I wanted a relaxer because I wanted my hair in a style. This time my mom said yes.
(Me age 4 or 5 with no relaxer and sandy hair)
My friend Chocolate Trouble insists I was and still is a red-head. Me giving her the **side-eye**
Ok I digress back to the story. During my transition, I deep conditioned my hair weekly and got a trim every six weeks. In May, I decided to do a mini chop. A friend suggested I try the lady that cuts her natural hair. I made my appointment and went to see her. She wanted me to big chop right then. I told her I wasn’t ready. She told me my curl pattern was developing quite nicely and that I should just chop away. The back of my hair was 95% natural but the front still had a little ways to go. She couldn’t convince me to big chop. I just wasn’t ready yet. She decided to let another lady give me a cut. I asked the lady could she cut my hair properly with two textures. She said yes. To make a long story short, she screwed my hair up. My hair was several different lengths. It was a hot azz mess! I was very upset. I couldn’t do anything with my hair. My friend M came to the rescue. She gave me suggestions on what I could do. That’s when I discovered the puff. I had decided I would just cut my hair shorter to get it even and get kinky twists for the summer. Two weeks later, I got my hair cut even. Of course it was short because it had to be even with the shortest part. The guy that cut it said I was probably 85%-95% natural now. He flat ironed it so I could see my length. It was a shorter version of the bob I had when I started going natural. I liked it and it was just a few more steps from being completely natural.
Since then and now I’ve been sporting the curly puff, wash n go, and the twist n curl. There is still a little relaxer in the front. It seems my front left side has the most relaxer. I will be cutting it some more in the near future. Maybe eventually I will get those kinky twist. I must say it has been a journey. I am learning about how to properly take care of my hair. I started out being a product junkie but I took a step back. I’m still learning my hair. Having a lot of products can really confuse things. I do have products that I use for certain things. My biggest challenge is styling my hair and making it last. It’s very hard to do in the south. #heat and humidity
curly puff again
1st attempt at a wash n go
What I have learned during this process is that you must exude confidence. You must be ok with the fact that there will be day when your hair refuses to cooperate and when that happens proudly walk with your head held high. You must know that you are beautiful with or without straight hair. Embrace your kinks, coils, waves, or curls. There will be people who frown upon your natural hair. Don’t let them bother you. If it is your desire to sport your natural hair then just do it. Whether you big chop or transition, they’re both a journey of discovery. I have love for all of my friends whether their hair is relaxed or natural. It is my hope that they display the same kind of love. A lady asked me how long was I going to keep my hair natural. I said more than likely forever. She said why? I told her because it versatile and when I want to have straight hair, I can just flat-iron it. For right now, I am embracing and enjoying my curls. That’s the beauty of natural hair…..versatility!
I would love to hear about your journey to natural hair. Please share 🙂
Posted on August 11, 2012, in For the Love of Natural Hair and tagged bantu knots, black women and natural hair, Blue Magic, curly hair, curly puff, journey to natural hair, Kinky Curly Knot Today, Natural hair, transitioning hair, transitioning without the big chop, twist n curl, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.