A: Good morning, good afternoon or good evening! I was born and raised in South Louisiana. In my opinion, even though there are naturals around my area, black women are mostly reluctant to where their natural hair. I feel this way, since I often encounter women who compliment my hair, while admitting that they believe they don’t have what it takes to refrain from relaxers and or flat irons.
A: The last time I phyto-relaxed my hair was March 28, 2010. Immediately following, I decided that this would be my final relaxer. Not only was this the beginning of a transitional phase for my hair, but it was a transitional phase for my life. I moved into my very first, brand new home just a week later! Having my own home, my own space, might have allowed me to embrace a healthier lifestyle more smoothly. My transitional experience was revealing and well worth the process. There were points where I didn’t want to look at myself because I believed that having multiple textures of hair (kinky, relaxed, stringy, frizzy, thick, etc.) and breakage made me less attractive. Thus somehow took away from my personality and spiritual being (which was untrue but this is what believed for a short while).
From that point, I sought motivation from natural hair websites, blogs, vlogs and YouTube videos. Transitioning allowed me to get creative with hair styling and maintenance. I must admit, I was resistant! Initally I was too afraid to do the big chop for quite some time. For the most part, I relied on straightening my hair while transitioning as a way of masking the fear of not knowing how my natural tresses would affect my outward appearance. Although I would only straighten once every week, I eventually ended up with heat damage. I was committed to living a healthier lifestyle and heat damage was a clear indication that I was stunting my hair health, growth and viability.
While transitioning, I was also forced to deal with my self esteem and self worth demons. I dealt with these demons by looking at myself in the mirror every day, consciously, in the beginning twice a day, repeating simple confirmations while staring into my own eyes! I would even write “I love you”, with lipstick, on my mirrors! The writings on the mirrors were such pleasant sights! When the writings on the mirrors would become oblivious to me, I would clean and write something else.
Transitioning from relaxed to natural, I would trim my hair every 8 – 10 weeks, until I decided to wholeheartedly embrace my natural hair in December 2010. I trimmed off all of the relaxed ends and the love story between my hair and I has continued to build ever since! I experienced an identity crisis when transitioning but by God, I made it through transitioning with so much more than I bargained for!
A. I received oodles of support from one of my line sisters, who was already natural. Although her hair is much finer than mine, she was a huge encouragement! She introduced me to some blogs, vlogs, youtube videos and websites to help me transition smoothly. Upon initially mentioning to close friends, family members and line sisters, they were against the process. They were use to having and seeing me with straight hair and didn’t see any reason why they or I would ever want to change. Of course I got the typical, “Oh no, I would lose my mind going without a perm!” “I don’t think you should do this, are you sure you want to do this!” Eventually, all of my loved ones who were initially against my desire to no longer relax my hair, came around.
A: I love taking care of my hair now! Also, considering that I have a better understanding of healthy hair regimens, I can better take care of my daughter’s natural hair and show her how to care for her natural tresses! I love that if she has any gripes about her kinky tresses at all, I can reference my hair, lead by example and help her love and nurture hers! Once, in kindergarten, she wore her hair to school in two pigtails. A schoolmate teased her about having puffy hair and it hurt her feelings. She came home and told me about it and I exclaimed to her that: I love her hair so much, that I decided to wear my hair natural and beautifully kinky just like hers! I told her mommy’s hair gets puffy just like hers but I am still proud of her natural hair and mine! She wore the biggest smile on her face and immediately showed excitement and pride in mommy and Yahna’s kinky hair! She has not griped about being teased about or changing her hair since then and although I am aware that there will come many times when she will twice about embracing and nurturing her natural hair, but I sure am happy that she loves her hair NOW!
A: I have had negative experiences while wearing my hair natural. I have had friends suggest that I “do something with it.” I have been told “I like your hair better straight.: I’ve been told “comb your hair!” The event that stings the most is when my relationship ended due to my hair. Although my hair was kinky and natural when we began dating, my significant other, who had known me when my hair was relaxed, wasn’t use to dating anyone with natural kinky hair and made the biggest fuss about it. He suggested that I change it by “Doing something with it..” “comb it more” or “relax it… that’s just something black women have to deal with.” Considering that I loved and still love my hair dearly, this took a toll on me. I ended the relationship and went back to being natural. It was business as usual minus being badgered about changing my hair! Later he admitted that he just wanted me to take better care of myself better and was frustrated because I wasn’t responding to it the way he thought I should. With this he let the my hair get the best of him. ::shrugs::
A: Currently, I shampoo weekly with Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo and condition once or twice a month with Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner. I spritz my hair with water when it needs moisture, which is a few mornings a week.
A: Gather as much information as you can to empower yourself to take the plunge into the natural world. The Internet provides a broad spectrum of helpful advice, style ideas, product reviews and communities for naturals to thrive in. Get My hair care routine is pretty simple! I live in Louisiana, where it’s mostly hot and humid, so I add glycerin to my water bottle (except on cold, dry days). In the morning I spritz with water/glycerine mixture, insert Kinky Curly leave-in conditioner, apply shea moisture deep treatment masque, next I apply extra virgin olive oil (every 2 days or so) and sometimes (to add a little pep to my curls) I apply curl milk from Carol’s Daughter or Curl Enhancer by Shea Moisture. Ideally, I would love to deep condition once a week but I definitely do it at leas twice a month. I wash every weekend. I co-wash and go after I’ve worked out or sweated profusely for whatever reason, or even if I wake up and my hair seems a bit dry (especially on cold days). I comb, (using an actual comb), at least once a week. Normally, I use my fingers to comb through my hair.
Also, at least once a month, my pre-poo regimen includes warm raw honey (sometimes I add an egg or milk). I warm the raw honey and milk/egg mixture for about 20-30 seconds. Then I liberally apply from root to ends. I either put on a plastic cap and let it sit anywhere from an hour to a couple hours, depending on what I have planned or I put on a plastic cap and sit under the dryer for 15 – 20 minutes, then rinse. After rinsing I shampoo and condition then style.
A: If you are interested in going natural, there is a large community of naturalistas ready and willing to assist you with all of your hair care needs, questions and concerns. You have a plethora of support and you are most beautifully you and when you are naturally you! Also, be gentle with yourself when transitioning from relaxed to natural!
A: Contrary to the beliefs of popular culture, natural hair is beautiful. It’s usually as vibrant and unique as the sis rockin’ it! And although it seems difficult to manage, keep it moisturized, let it do it’s thing and falling in love with your hair, consistently, over and over, will surely be inevitable!