Where are you from?
Originally Chicago, IL but I’m living in the metro Detroit area for law school.
How long did you transition?
I did the BC on October 13, 2009.
Tell us your hair story. Why did you decide to go natural?
I used to keep my hair short. Always. And then my BFF decided she was getting married so in true maid-of-honor fashion, I was growing my hair out so she could have some versatility with the styling. So for over a year, I grew out my hair and kept relaxing it. The result was longer but weak hair that was not healthy. It was thin and stress was causing it to break off even more.
August 2009, the wedding got called off and I didn’t go in for my touch up. I was tired of my hair breaking off and shedding every morning. So since I didn’t have to grow it out for the wedding, I decided that instead of having long hair, I wanted to have healthy hair. I went to a salon for a consultation (Transitions Salon, aptly named) and the owner took the time to walk me through what I’d expect over the next year as far as the stages my hair would go through and what styles I’d be able to wear. The salon carried natural hair products (Carol’s Daughter and Miss Jessie’s) so I wouldn’t have to go searching for products to use in my hair. She carried smaller, sample sizes of everything so I could buy it and try it before committing to one outright. My experience at the consultation appointment went so well that I made my actual appointment for a week later and on October 13, 2009, I did the BC.
What have you discovered so far in your natural hair journey?
I have discovered a few things in my short natural hair journey. One, relaxed women are living vicariously through me. They always are commenting that they wish they could do what I did. Two, natural women welcome me with open arms and giving me tips on how they tackled their journey. Three, white women say my hair is ‘sassy’ which I found to be an interesting word to describe my hair. Sassy? Natural hair is sassy? Ok, I’ll buy that.
But most importantly, I have discovered how much self-esteem and confidence I REALLY have! When I first did the BC, I thought I had made a HUGE mistake. I told myself that I shouldn’t have been so rushed to cut off the relaxer. I was going to look like a boy or a cancer patient. The drive home, I kept thinking about my boyfriend’s reaction. Is he gonna be attracted to me still? Will people mistake me for his little brother? I had all kinds of insane thoughts!
But when the dust settled on the third or fourth glance in the mirror, I realized that my beauty was coming from within. I know that is so cliche but it is SO true! I took the time out in the morning to fluff my TWA and to put on makeup and to pick out accessories that would compliment my hair. And it showed. I get people telling me that I look healthy and that my skin is glowing. A stranger in the grocery store even commented that he liked my hair natural.
My journey thus far has also proven to me that natural hair can be professional. In a law school setting where I’m constantly networking and competing, I’m able to portray myself and I think my hair now matches my personality.
What technique has helped you the most?
In this initial grow phase, deep moisturizing has been imperative. I never knew what cowashing was until I did the BC. Now I live by it and will cowash once or twice a week. I use a carrot oil for extra moisture and I’ve fallen in love with Miss Jessie’s Buttercreme. I don’t plan on using heat until I’ve gotten six inches of growth.
Your advice to the readers:
Going natural is not a step but a lifestyle. It takes a commitment to something bigger than just kicking your ‘creamy crack’ habit. By going natural, you’re going to have a better understanding of who you are and that can only be great for your personal growth. As for your hair, condition & moisturize, condition & moisturize!