How long have you been natural?
I transitioned for 4 months and my big chop was on May 9, 2004.
What was the factor(s) that made you stop relaxing your hair?
In a nutshell, I tried to transition 2 times before I actually got the courage to do so. I never really cared about getting touch-ups; I saw my new growth the majority of the time. To me, there was no need to hide it, yet people thought otherwise. Eventually, I became tired of the attitude from “our people” about my hair and I realized that even though I liked my new growth I was still hiding it.
Everyone that I spoke to tried to discourage me. So one night, I looked online in pursuit of healthy hair care and found your site and links. It was like, “Wow! There are so many women here who are not ashamed.” That is how I wanted to be! At that moment, I booked mark all of the sites and promised myself that I would commit to “going natural”. I stayed up many nights researching natural hair…that is how committed I was.
How do you maintain and take care of your hair?
My routine is very simple. In the summer, I usually wear wash-n-go puffs/ head wraps. On puff day I rinse with water or conditioner wash; once a week I use the CWC method. My Conditioner- Wash-Conditioner method consist of the following:
1) White Rain/Suave conditioners (mixed with oil or melted shea butter to assist with detangling).
3) Suave 2-minute Recovery Deep Conditioner.
In the winter, I just use the CWC once a week. Sometimes I add oil to my hair to protect it from the cold. Then I style it or wear head wrap/hat.
My favorite style is the wash-n-go puff. It is simple, quick, everyone can do it and it displays your natural texture without manipulation.
I swear by Suave 2-minute Recovery Deep Conditioner. I love the fragrance and how it makes my hair feel.
Where have you received the most support for going natural?
I did receive support from a few family members, my brother in particular. When I called him to announce my big chop, he went to the barbershop and cut his hair off. I mean “baby bottom smooth,” which was his first time cutting his hair completely off. Since then we have been growing our hair together.
The majority of my support comes from online sites/forums, such as Motowngirl.com, Roshini.net, Hairboutique.com and Nappturality.com. These sites discuss and display natural hair in various aspects, such as emotional support, physical acceptance, and spiritual growth. Each faucet pertained to my natural hair journey therefore inspiring me to see the beauty within myself.
I recommend the book No Lye by Tulani Kinard and a magazine on head wrapping; you can view the information on Bilaldesigns.com. The author is Aisha Bilal and the magazine is titled The Art of Head Wrapping.
How did you friends/family/co-workers react to your natural hair initially?
Some of my family members thought that I would not like my hair because it was tightly coiled. I started my job after my big chop, so my co-workers had never known me with relaxed hair. There were a few friends who tried to convince me that my hair would never grow back. Recently, I headed down south to see family members, the first time since my big chop. Many of my southern relatives thought my hair was either fake, or wanted to straighten it because it was “too nappy”.
Have you experienced any negativity while wearing your natural hair?
Yes, recently a young man decided to make a song with the lyrics, “ She needs a perm. Not just a perm, but a perm perm.” It did hurt me. Nonetheless, I like the way I am; yes I had to give myself a pep talk. My hair is the way I like it, the way the Creator said it was good (as all of his creations are good) and that is all that matters.
Do you have any plans to change your hair in the near future?
I do plan on big chopping again within the next 3 years. The growing process amazes me. My TWA days were very liberating and the some of the styles that I wore then would not look good on my hair at this length.
What made you start your hair website/ hair journal and how long have had it?
Initially I was interning in Hawaii and wanted my family/friends in Michigan to view my life there (calling was difficult because of time difference). I kept coming up with hairstyle ideas, none that I have seen in the majority of online albums, so I kept adding more pictures to my URL and writing “how- to” instructions along with them. I’ve had my album for almost 2 years now.
Would you like to share any advice for newbies?
Don’t depend on others to be supportive; you have to be your own support system.
Do remember transitioning is a mental process, as well as physical.
Do go to company sites that offer FREE product samples. You can also email companies with hair concerns and request product samples.