The Big Chop: Alicia’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Graceful, kind, loyal, authentic, eclectic, versatile, 29.5 years old, beautiful, intelligent, smart, professional, bright, wise beyond my years (according to everyone), delightful, momma, daddy, grandma, auntie and uncle’s girl. Nice to meet you. I am Alicia. May I ask your name please? Lol!

When did you receive your first relaxer?
If I remember correctly, I was about 7-8 years old. Young, huh? But you couldn’t tell me ANYTHING then. I was the “business” in my head! My hair was long and breaking off as the relaxer touched my scalp, I believe. Lol!

Weave fanatic

Why did you choose to go natural?
One word. Eczema. On my scalp. A serious scalp condition that made my head sooo tender and thin. My dermatologist told me, “NO more relaxers, NO color, NO excessive heat.” Isn’t it amazing that things work out for the good of those who trust the universe? I’m grateful for that experience because it made me look at my overall health condition and the harmful things I was doing to my body that we incorporate into our everyday routine :).

Were you a long-term or short-term transitioner and why?
Short term. 3 months. Not that I didn’t try before. But, of course, that was short lived (only because my money wasn’t right for a couple weeks). Lol! As of now, it’s been 4 months since doing my final and last ends cut. Chop! Chop!

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
“I’m going to be bald.” I couldn’t see the light. I honestly thought my hair would be a TWA (teeny weeny afro) for the remainder of my life. And it was teeeeeeeny. Like a little longer than a boy cut. I was sooo ashamed. That’s why I don’t have pictures. I have a great texture of hair (as I believe that all textures are good textures. Some just easier to manage than most, but great all the same.) My visit to the dermatologist left me very afraid. I didn’t know what to do with it at all.

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
They were mostly questioning what I was doing with my hair. Some thought I was dreading or locs. It was different for most, but accepting in the same liking. God and my mom blessed me with a nice versatile face to walk around and look crazy for a minute. I tend to be very conservative and dress nicely, so they sort of knew that I wouldn’t be walking around looking too crazy. *lol*

What is your routine?
For now, until I absolutely learn my hair and make sure I properly take care of my scalp, I wash and co-wash every other week. My hair loves Shea Moisture products. They make a product specifically for eczema and other scalp conditions. I wash with their shampoo and conditioner and moisturize with their Coconut and Hibiscus Hair Milk. I use their Coconut Smoothie and finally seal with shea butter. During the week, I use shea butter and natural oils to keep my hair moisturized. And thank you Spirit Master, I have a little length.

What is your staple hairstyle?
For now, until I achieve my length goal (my hair is a little longer than a teeny weeny afro), I’m consistent with flat twists, twist out and twist out pin-ups (that is what I call them).

Pin up bun ... my faaavorite!

What techniques/products did you use to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair?
I did a lot of top buns and used anything, bad and good, until I did some research on how to best take care of my hair. During the final transition, I blended with twist outs, flat irons and hats.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how did you overcome or cope with it?
The most challenging part for me was my ends breaking off. My hair was growing really fast at that time, so my relaxed ends broke off very quickly. That was scary. My hair was very thin and I had eczema really bad in one spot in my head, so my hair was very thin in that area. As you can see, my self-esteem went through a lot of changes. I’m so grateful for spiritual grounding. I was feeling really “ugly.”

Transition flat iron before final chop.

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
Well, apparently, I’m sexier with natural hair? Ummm, huh? Lol! But I agree with the guys. I love what it does for my features. My “guy” friend told me, “I love what you’re doing with your hair.” Family and friend support helps. I’m also very creative with styling. Transitioning made me value the consumption of water. I try to drink at least 60 ounces of water a day and I cannot WAIT to henna.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Corrine Bailey Ray. Drives me hair nuts.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
I stay on top of Curly Nikki and NaturallyCurly. Curly Nikki just does it for me though. Whooo! Loving on her! She is soo helpful and encouraging. And we are both petite, so I feel pretty okay about my hair if it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And did I mention? … BIGGER!

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural hair journey?
Just as you are patient when waiting at the post office, coffee shops for your favorite latte, or patient with falling in love, be just as patient with your hair. We tend to want to obtain overnight results, but even trees have to plant their roots strong. You are beautiful. Make-up or no make-up. Petite or thick. Short hair or long hair. Perfectly natural curly hair or relaxed. Regardless of what decision you make, ensure that you are comfortable with you. Thank you for letting me share my story. I hope to come back in 6 months with more length. Love you guys.

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