Where are you from? I’m from St. Louis, MO. The natural scene here is rapidly growing. I’m seeing an abundance of locs, twists, two-strands, and natural styles. Especially the guys here. It seems like everyone is either starting locs or transitioning. It’s as if my natural guardian angel is making sure I see how beautiful natural hair is.
How long did you transition and how long have you been natural? I transitioned from April ’06 to July ’07. In April ’06 I had a horrible allergic reaction to my last relaxer treatment. I’m talking unbelievable scalp burns, scabs, and a fire red irritation around the entirety of my hairline. My doctor strongly suggested that I stop using relaxers for 6 months. I was thinking more like forever. Like the old proverb goes, “once bitten, twice shy,”. I’d been bitten over and over again, but it took the big bite for me to back off. My goal was to grow my hair to the length it was before I stopped relaxing. Boy, was it a trying time! I was trying sewn-in weaves, various braid styles, new products, you name it! Anything to keep my hair protected and healthy. I have been completely natural for two months.
How you feel about your natural hair in the beginning? In the beginning, I was mainly concerned about restoring my hair’s health. It was in bad shape, ya’ll! I mean, I had to sweep my bathroom floor DAILY to pick up all the hair I was losing. So, once I made the decision to never relax again, I started my research. First by asking friends and fellow naturals I would see, then by searching online. I felt somewhat anxious to see my hair at it’s best. I’d made up my mind to go natural, and no one was going to convince me not to. I never again thought about relaxing it, not even once. It was if I had awakened from a creamy crack nightmare to a healthy curl reality. I couldn’t wait until I could trim off the last inch of relaxed hair.
How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural? I had support from my boyfriend, family, and a few close friends. They saw what I went through and were more than understanding. I like to say I was transitioning “incognito” for about 10 months or so. I’d been keeping my hair in braids or two strand twists, so no one could really tell that I was transitioning.
Has there been any differences in your life from going natural? Absolutely. The difference is in me. Before, I was a person that was running to the drugstore or the salon every few weeks to hide my roots. And that really made me think. Why would I want to hide my roots? Not just the physical roots, but my ethnic roots as well. I can admire my hair’s growth and my personal growth simultaneously. With every inch and every curl, I grow inside as well.
What has been the best thing about being natural? The best thing for me is trying new products. I am a stone-cold product junkie! It is so fun to communicate with my hair. See, we have an understanding-as long as I promise not to do anything to hurt it, it will tell me what products it likes and what products I need to leave on the shelf. It also clued me in on its biggest secret-it loves natural oils, not petroleum or mineral oil. I used to think that the jars of oil that my grandmother used on my hair when I was younger was the only kind of “grease” that was good for our hair. Yeah, right. I had horrible dandruff and the driest, crispiest strands when I used that stuff. But once I reintroduced my hair to water and started using natural oils and shea butter, my hair thanked me with shine and beautiful coils.
How do you take care of and maintain your hair? I co-wash and detangle while I’m showering, and rinse well. I’d never rub a towel on my hair (as seen on TV). Instead, I squeeze my tresses 3 times, with a break and a shake in between each squeeze, while looking up at the ceiling. The breaks and shakes allow the water to flow to the ends of hair. Whatever water is left I use for styling. Once I’m out of the shower, I apply Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Cream or Garnier Leave-In Conditioner ASAP, concentrating on the ends. I smooth the top with either ORS Lock & Twist Gel, Elasta QP Mango Butter, or good ole’ shea butter. After I brush my waves into place, I slip on a headband and I’m good to go! Every two weeks, I deep condition with Elasta QP DPR-11. It’s the truth! After using this conditioner, my hair feels soft, strong, and super coily!
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural? Those who are negative towards your decision are dealing with their own insecurities. If you think about it, for them to go out of their way to say something negative about your hair or your choices is letting you know that seeing you, in your natural beauty, stirred some deep feelings within them. Don’t allow their insecurity and negativity become your own. Oh, and drink water. Don’t ask questions, just do it!
Do you have any last words? Thanks for allowing me to share my experience with you! – BrightTrotter