Category Archives: Transitioning

Tales of a Transitioner: My Henna Transitioning Story

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hennatransitionstory

Usually, when we refer to transitioning, we are talking about gradually growing out a relaxer. Sometimes we are talking about heat damage. Well, for me, it was growing out henna-loosened* curls.

If you have followed Hairscapades for a while or have read my Henna and Me HairStory, you know that I experienced SIGNIFICANT curl loosening from henna. I was doing frequent, full strength, whole head applications from June-December 2010. In January 2011, I started to do roots only, full strength applications and a henna gloss (i.e. more conditioner than henna) on my length to keep the color and conditioning benefits of henna without the excessive loosening of my curls. When I say roots only, I mean that I apply henna to the first 3 inches of my hair to gradually get about 3 full strength applications on new growth (so, I overlap previously treated hair for 2 applications as I tend to henna once every 4-8 weeks and my hair grows about 1/2 an inch a month. See my full henna/indigo process here.).

Collage

Top Left: Several years prior to using henna (2005, I believe). My hair is frizzy, but you can get an idea of the curl pattern, which is a mix of 3b/3c.

Top Right: August 2010, after several months of frequent, whole head, full strength henna treatments. This pic was taken the day after I did a treatment and following a haircut/styling session with Tameeka aka Jaded Tresses. This is when I realized that I needed to stop doing so many treatments as my curls had completely changed.

Bottom Left: February 2012, after a little over a year of roots only henna applications. You can see that the top half of my hair is curlier than bottom half.

Bottom Right: Yesterday, January 27, 2013, after 2 years of roots only, full strength henna applications. Though my curls are still a little looser than they were pre-henna, the full length of my hair has now been restored to a more normal curl pattern. I do think that my looser curl pattern is a combo of henna AND hormonal/age-related texture changes, because my nape is straight now and I don’t apply henna to it. It was not straight and actually was curly 5 years ago, though it was always looser than my crown.

So, I essentially transitioned over the last two years. However, rather than transitioning out a relaxer or heat damage, I transitioned out henna loosening.

*Henna does not loosen all natural hair textures. It is more common among those with fine strands and S-wave curls.

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Have you transitioned out of something other than a relaxer during your natural hair journey?

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Tales of a Transitioner: Nancy’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Nancy and I go by NancyM when I comment on Hairscapdes and other blogs. I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I have a wonderful husband and 2 great kids. I love to spend time with family and friends.

When did you receive your first relaxer?
After begging my mom for a year, I got my first relaxer when I was 13 years old. I loved it and at the time, it helped me fit in with the other girls at my school, who all had relaxers years before me.

Why did you choose to go natural?
Several reasons; I really can’t point to one. My relaxed hair was well maintained and reached past mid-back length. I just wanted a change. Long relaxed hair just hangs there and really doesn’t do much (AND the longer my hair grew, the thinner it looked). I wanted something different. I also wanted more fullness in my hair, which was impossible for me with long, straight hair. Also, salon visits for me took HOURS because of the length of my hair. I was exhausted. LOL!

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
I’m a long-term transitioner. As of August 2012, I am at 18 months of transitioning. My original plan was to go for 24 months of transitioning, but now that I have more new growth than relaxed ends, the urge to chop is strong. I’m not sure that I’ll make it past this fall, but we’ll see … . My reason for a long-term transition is the same as many others: I didn’t know how I would look with short hair and I wasn’t ready to find out. At this point, however, my new growth is down to my shoulders, so that’s why I may chop earlier than 24 months. My transition has not been as hard as I’d thought it would be, but I credit that to all of the info that can be found online with quality sites like Hairscapades.com, CurlyNikki.com, and others.

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
First off, I really like it. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was going to get since I hadn’t seen my natural hair since I was 13. My initial reaction was surprise at the different textures that I’m finding on my head. So far, I’ve found looser coily hair in the front and nape and kinky-coily hair in the middle/crown. Also, I notice that my new growth can be dry and needs more moisture than my relaxed hair does.

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Most of my family and friends didn’t notice that I was transitioning until I told them. However, I’ve received only positive responses. As my husband says, “Whatever makes you happy makes me happy.” :)

What is your transition routine?
My regimen is pretty simple:

  • Daily: Moisturize and seal (yes, I put some form of moisture and/or oil in my hair everyday); Sleep with a satin scarf AND on a satin pillowcase – this is a habit from my relaxed days that I will never change.
  • Weekly: Pre-poo with an oil and sometimes conditioner; shampoo wash; condition; apply leave-in; then roller or rod set ( I also use a hooded dryer at times to speed the drying process when I can’t air dry).
  • Monthly: Henna gloss; deep condition; then roller or rod set; Protein treatment (sometimes I do this quarterly); I also trim my relaxed ends as needed.

What is your staple transition hair style?
My staple transition style is definitely a bun or ponytail; however, I do the occasional braid out or half up/half down style as well.

What techniques/products do you to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair? 
I manage the two textures by keeping my hair well moisturized. As I mentioned, I moisturize every day. I was a product junkie for the first 6 months of my transition, but these products have stood the test of time:

  • Shampoo: One ‘n Only Argan Oil Moisturizing Shampoo; Suave Naturals Almond + Shea Shampoo; Aussie Moist Shampoo; Tresemmé Naturals Moisture Shampoo
  • Conditioners: One ‘n Only Argan Oil Moisturizing Conditioner; Suave Naturals Almond + Shea Conditioner; Aussie Moist Conditioner; Tresemmé Naturals Moisture Conditioner or Moisture Rich Conditioner
  • Leave-ins: One ‘n Only Styling Cream; Infusium 23; Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine; Herbal Essences Long-Term Relationship
  • Moisturizers: Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Olive Oil Moisturizer; Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in
  • Oils: Coconut oil (must have this oil on hand at all times); argan oil; olive oil; sweet almond oil; grapeseed oil
  • Henna: Jamila henna; I use the same method that CurlyNikki has posted on her site under Henna Gloss.
  • Protein: I use the ApHogee 2 Minute Reconstructor

Of course, I know that these some of these products may change once I’m fully natural.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
The most challenging part of transitioning was making the decision to do it. I had been considering going natural for years before I actually did it. I think that the wealth of info on the internet and sites like this one really helped me conduct the research I needed to move forward with this decision … and I haven’t regretted it at all.

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
I LOVE HENNA! This has been the single best thing I’ve done to my hair! I would have never even tried it had I not read your story and Nikki’s story on CurlyNikki.com. Since I’ve started to henna back in August 2011, my dandruff has disappeared, breakage has minimized significantly, and my hair feels great. Also, I know this is going to sound weird, but my scalp looks so healthy when I part my hair. Oh, and the subtle auburn color is the bomb!

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Sure! Well of course there’s you, CurllyNikki, Naptural 85, and Jennell of KinkyCurlyKoilyMe, just to name a few.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
Same as above and many others… The list is far too long. :)

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
My advice would be to do your research, then go for it! For me, having the knowledge gave me the power to make the decision.

Transitioning Buddies

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by Sawah of Discovering Natural

When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, you need all the support you can get to make the process an easier one. It is difficult enough figuring out how to handle your two textures. Sometimes, people that we think will be supportive of our decisions to go natural might let us down. We struggle with what to do to our hair. Many of us fail during the process and go back to the relaxer because we did not have the support we need.

This is why having a Transitioning Buddy early in the process can help make the process easier. As someone that plans to do a long term transition (2 or more years), I depend on my transitioning buddies to keep me in check. Yes, I do have more than one transitioning buddy. Pictured above is one of them.

Now, you might be wondering, none of my friends are natural … no one in my family is supportive of my decision … how am I going to get a transitioning buddy? Well, there are several online hair forums that have threads dedicated to Transitioning Buddies. CurlyNikki.com has a good support forum for Transitioning to Natural and there is a thread in there for Transitioning Buddies. This was where I found my online transitioning buddy, Uninibile. Check out her hair blog.

So, go online and get yourself a buddy! You can finally have someone to discuss natural hair information, rants and raves.

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Do you have a Transitioning Buddy?

 

Tales of a Transitioner: Maina’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m a young soul, nineteen to be exact. An island child of Haitian descent, I love to spend my free time doing arts and crafts and drawing. I’m all about positivity, shedding light on everything that I come across. I’m totally nuts about natural hair care! I thank God every day that he’s made me open my eyes and pushed me to living a more healthy lifestyle and to share this knowledge with friends, family and even complete strangers!

When did you receive your first relaxer?
I received my first relaxer when I turned fourteen years old.

Why did you choose to go natural?
I chose to go natural because, as time went on, I started to see the long term effects of the chemicals on my hair and scalp. The breakage and dandruff were heartbreaking. My hair became so dry and unpredictable … not to mention fried! It also cost so much money to maintain … money that neither I nor my parents had! Besides, I missed my voluminous mane of hair and regretted wanting to be like all the other girls at school.

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner and, if so, why?
Long-term. I started transitioning a few days after graduating from high school, June 15th of 2011. I am gradually cutting off my permed ends, about ½ an inch every month. I’m scared of scissors!

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
“Awww look at the little waves!”

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Well there’s always positive and negative comments. It was 50/50 response on both sides. As with anything, I embraced the good feedback and just shrugged off the negative.

What is your transition routine?
Well, every month I get my hair done in a protective style, mainly box braids or twists. While having these in, I have a “protective style” hair routine. It’s just washing and deep conditioning my hair every two weeks and keeping my hair moisturized with a leave-in conditioner and essential oil mix (usually vitamin E oil mixed with coconut oil, it smells like heaven!). I also have a “breather” period between styles where I just wear my real hair with no added extensions for about two and a half weeks. My hair routine then is the same as when I have plaits or twists in, it’s just repeated more frequently.

What is your staple transition hair style?
Senegalese twists, and when out, a Bantu knot-out.

What techniques/products do you to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair?
Well looking at the two textures when my hair is wet is SUPER annoying, but I bear with it as best as I can. I try not to manipulate my hair too much with brushes and combs. Keeping my hair moisturized and sealed also helps a great deal.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
The fact that since my mom did my hair up until I turned about twelve, I never really knew how to manage my real hair texture, so washing and maintaining takes FOREVER. I usually end up losing sleep over it because I’m up so late! Despite this, it only gets easier with time and practice so I’ve learned to cope.

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
Watching these waves and kinks sprout out of my head! I’ve always had thick hair, but the hair growing in naturally is even thicker! I also love the fact that it’s actually serving as a type of “guideline” on how diligently I should be taking care of my body with the most natural methods possible.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Yesss I do! Erykah Badu, Raven Symone, Tracee Ellis Ross, Esperanza Spalding <3.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
I currently follow Curly Nikki, you (obviously hee hee) and Kimmaytube. You all give such great advice!!!

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Do it! If you really want to change your life and live more naturally, shoot for the moon. Things may get a little tangled and frustrating, but remember, anything that is good for your body should be worth the time. And, by learning and paying attention to your hair, things will get easier.

Tales of a Transitioner: Melisa’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Let’s see, I’m loyal, brutally honest and love having fun. I’m a psychology major with a minor in Biology. I want to complete two graduate programs: M.S. Counseling and DPT. I want to open my own wellness center one day and work specifically with kids with developmental issues.

When did you receive your first relaxer?
3rd or 4th grade. I wanted to be like my sister and mom and have straight hair. People constantly made me feel like my hair was “wrong” when I was little and I wanted to fit in. So, when I went to my God Aunt to get my hair styled for school, I was given my first relaxer. My paternal grandmother is Native American (Croatan and Cherokee) and she raised hell when I came home and argued with my mother about messing up my hair. I was told over the years by my mother that Granny didn’t know what she was talking about, but lo and behold, she did. I wished I had listened to her 5 years earlier than I had and I may have been able to save my texture; but *sigh* hindsight is 20/20.

Why did you choose to go natural?
Well, my hair used to be the texture of Teyana Taylor’s. Years of perming and flat-irons and blow dryers make my natural texture more of a Tracy Ellis-Ross texture, as well as made the front of my hair (about a 3-4 inch section from my front hair-line and inward) basically permanently straight. It would curl up naturally when wet, but the minute I combed it, it would be straight. Basically, I realized my hair was ruined and I needed to fix it.

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
Long-term. I stopped relaxing my hair completely in October 2006, but continued to visit Dominican salons periodically. And, if I couldn’t go, I’d blow dry and flat-iron my hair myself. Beginning in July 2011, when I was out of work and home all day, I stopped straightening my hair all together. I’ve only flat-ironed it 3 or 4 times since then and I noticed that I could straighten my hair on lower heat settings than I used to (I use to have to turn the ceramic flat-iron to its highest setting to get my desired results).

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
I’ve had long hair the majority of my life sans the 5th grade pool damage and a bob cut I did my 1st semester in college. Overall, I was disappointed because it seems like I will never get my original waves and curls back, but I notice the more I wore my hair natural and not straightened, it’s getting better with every wash, very slowly but surely.

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Everyone loves my hair better curly. Funny thing is, a lot of my family forgot my hair was naturally curly and thought I had a wet set aka TnC.

What is your transition routine?
I’ve been using lots of olive oil, jojoba oil and Tea Tree products for 10 years. I completely stopped using hair grease 6 years ago and use oils only. Normally, I wash and go every 3-5 days and wear buns in between. I wear braids every now and then. I have the Diana Ross thing going on and don’t have the patience to spend hours and hours braiding my hair like I did in high school. My hair does not respond well to roller sets with flexi rods (I’ll have a strong case of “poodle hair” and it’s not aesthetically pleasing to me and never has been) and, since the texture of my hair is totally different from when I was a child, I can no longer curl my hair around my finger or pencils and voilà! So, normally, I’ll hot curl it and put it in rollers or pin curls for a better result.

What is your staple transition hair style?
Wet and Go all the way! I’m too lazy to braid, it cramps my hands and I don’t want to develop carpal tunnel like so many of my relatives. Also, I was never taught to style my natural hair outside of braiding, wet and go, buns or, my least favorite, the “bush ball/ puff ball.” But now I’m learning new styles and I’m going to try them.

What techniques/products do you use to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair? 
My relaxed hair has completely grown out as of a year ago, as well as the blonde dye that was in my hair. Before coloring my hair, my hair was naturally dark brown/black and my pony tail would be a reddish auburn in the sunlight. My hair no longer does the reddish hues and is now brown/black.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
Getting over how much my hair texture has changed. The total absence of the natural moisture it use to have and realizing I may have to do a BC if I ever want to see the original texture again. I’m trying to find ways to get it back without chopping it off. It took 5 years to get it back past my shoulders and the in between time drove me crazy. Also, having white co-workers tell me they like my hair better straightened or “done” *grrr*. I also hate the “good hair” references from people of color. It’s annoying. Healthy hair is good hair.

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
WnGs *lol* … Low maintenance, no hair dryers, no more paying $60 for someone else to do it. And realizing that, whenever I straightened my hair for a job interview, I never got the job. Every interview I went on with my WnG, I got offered the job, ironically. My hair made me stand out.

I also like the fact that me, my sister and brother-in-law are standing a united front when it comes to my niece never getting a relaxer. I actually included a picture of both of us with blow outs below. That was her first one.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Tracey Ellis Ross, Maia Campbell, Amel Larrieux, Elle Varner, Teyana Taylor.
My newest hair crushes are : Shelli of Hairscapades, CurlyNikki and Nicole from Black Girl with Long Hair.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
So far: Hairscapades, CurlyNikki, Black Girl with Long Hair and blackwomennaturalhairstyles.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Do it anyway! I had a hard time watching my new growth growing out and dealing with it. But, over time, it will be worth it. Most importantly, find someone with a similar hair texture that is a veteran and seek advice. I found that the hair products that worked for them usually gave me the same results.

Tales of a Transitioner: Raven’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Hey blog world, I’m Raven. I love God, music, food, the World Wide Web and, of course, natural hair!

When did you receive your first relaxer?
I actually didn’t get my first relaxer until my sophomore year of college. No matter how much I begged my mom growing up, she would not let me get a relaxer. Kinda proves the saying that, MOTHERS DO KNOW BEST.

Why did you choose to go natural?
I actually never chose to go “natural.” I currently attend college on the East Coast, but am originally from the West Coast. I only got touch-ups from my beautician back home. After my last touch-up last year, I decided to stop getting relaxers (since I was only getting them 1-2x a year anyway) and go back to press-n-curls. It wasn’t until I discovered YouTube and blogs like yours and BGLHonline.com that I decided to put the flatiron down and go NATURAL.

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
I’m a long-term transitioner, currently 16-months post relaxer. I am using this time to get to know my hair in its natural state and master certain hairstyles. I also would like to get my hair to a certain length before cutting off all my relaxed ends. My goal is to transition for 24 months total.

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
When I first began my healthy hair journey, my new growth frustrated me. I wanted those waves and curls to STAY DOWN AND STAY PUT. Little did I know that I would grow to love them…

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
For the most part, I’ve had amazing responses from the people around me. A lot of my friends like the natural hairstyles I try on my transitioning hair and say that it’s a refreshing change from the straight hair that I used to rock in the past.

What is your transition routine?
Once a week, usually on a Saturday, I deep condition my hair prior to washing with my olive oil/honey/deep conditioner mix. I wash and condition my hair in four sections. Once out of the shower, I dry my hair with an old t-shirt and apply my leave-in conditioner, moisturizer and sealant to each section. I then use my wide-tooth comb to detangle each section from the ends to the roots. Throughout the week, I’ll moisturize my hair and seal it with olive oil or my shea butter mix.

What is your staple transition hair style?
Right now, it would definitely be my “big bun.” It’s so easy to do and is the perfect hairstyle for a night on the town or working out. (Check out Raven’s big bun tutorial here.)

What techniques/products do you to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair?
I never detangle on dry hair. If my hair is super tangled and dry, I heat up some extra virgin olive oil, dampen hair and begin to finger detangle. I also wear my hair in some sort of updo 95% of the time to protect my ends.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
The beginning of my healthy hair/transitioning journey was extremely difficult. Let’s just say I was late to A LOT of things and often ended up wearing a beanie as a last resort. However, as I’ve gotten to know my natural hair texture and learned how to do different hairstyles (updos, bantu knot-outs, etc.), I’ve grown to love my transitioning hair, despite the 2+ textures. In fact, I’m a bit worried what I will do when I have just one texture of natural hair!

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
THE NATURAL HAIR COMMUNITY-hands down. Since transitioning, it seems that I notice naturals everywhere, whether it be at church, on campus or at home. I love talking to people about hair, especially those contemplating going natural. Whenever my friends and I get together, we’re always discussing hair. Actually, we discussed it so much that on November 2011, we started our college’s first natural hair and beauty organization on campus called B.A.N.T.U (Beautifully and Naturally Tangled Up).

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
I love the hair of IvyCharlaine from YouTube. Her curls are just gorgeous. If you watch her videos, you’ll see that her hair has done a 180 since recovering from heat damage and coloring. It gives me hope that, one day, my hair can be fully healthy and restored to its childhood curls.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
Maybe the question for me should be, “Who don’t I follow online?” LOL. I definitely enjoy reading the blogs AsiliGlam, UrbanBushBabes, and Kurly Kichana – thenaturalgirlsguidetobeauty.blogspot.com. On YouTube, I love watching Taren916 of course, 007newnew, and FusionofCultures. On Tumblr, I’m an avid follower of HeyFranHey, LeCoil, and NaturalHairEverything.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural hair?
As Nike would say, “Just do it!” With practice makes perfect—so take the leap! Nowadays, there are so many resources out there for transitioners and naturals alike. Going natural is deeper than just hair; it changes your thinking, lifestyle, and more. Ask me how I know? Because it did for me!

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Check out Raven’s blog, Mind of a Nomad, and YouTube Channel, ALifeofPeculiarity, to learn more about her transitioning journey, styles and regimen!

Tales of a Transitioner: Tya’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am a vibrant, 32 yr old engineer and fitness instructor. My passions are reading and discussing the Bible, spending quality time with family/friends and serving others in various ways. I also love to dance and workout! I’m all about healthy living – emotionally and physically. I also love live music, especially jazz and R&B. My personality is versatile … fun-loving but responsible and no-nonsense.

When did you receive your first relaxer?
On Halloween at 13 years old – eery!

Why did you choose to go natural?
My hair goes thru cycles – long and flowy, then back to stringy with breakage. I went natural in graduate school. I couldn’t think of anything to do with my hair other than wear an afro. I did everything wrong, including texturizing very often, picking/raking while dry, sulfate shampoos, never deep conditioning, etc.

This time, I have done my research and am learning more each day. I HATE spending entire days at the salon. I also work out religiously and we all know that perms + sweat = a hot mess! I want to prove to myself and others that there is nothing wrong with or bad about my natural hair. Besides that, I’m in love with the versatility I see.

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?
I plan to transition long-term – 1.5 years. I am currently a little over 6 months in!

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
 Hmmm…soft and delicious!

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Reactions vary. Some people think I’m crazy. Others are very supportive and can’t wait to see the new me. I don’t really put too much stock into what people think. It’s not about what they think about me. It’s what I think about me!

What is your transition routine?
Truthfully, I am wearing braids and weaves often. I wash weekly with Kinky Curly or Shea Moisture shampoo. I deep condition weekly with my own homemade mix (mayo, egg, condish, EVOO). I moisturize with Cantu Shea Butter Cream and always seal with EVOO and pure shea butter. I did an ACV rinse a couple of weeks ago and saw an immediate shine. I have never used henna, but would like to try it.

What is your staple transition hair style?
Kinky Twists, Wet N Wavy Sew-Ins, Twist Outs and Flexi Rod Sets.

What techniques/products do you to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair?
Just deep condition. It is probably time for a deep trim.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?
If I am wearing my real hair out, I have to constantly do my hair over each night (i.e., re-braiding, twisting, rolling). I want to be able to wash ‘n go!

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
Experimenting with different hair styles. I love being able to not sit at the salon for 4 hours, although I have a wonderful stylist :)!


Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Lisa Arindell Anderson and Jill Scott.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
Hairscapades, CurlyNikki, NaturalChica (NikkiMae), Glamazini (Roshini) and NapturallyCurly.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Good things come to those who wait. Be patient. Also, don’t expect for your hair to turn out like another persons. Just like we all have different personalities and faces, we all have various tresses. Accept your own texture/curls and work with it. Do you!

Tales of a Transitioner: Courtney’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m 33 and I work in IT. I’m funny, sensitive, smart and enjoy meeting new people.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I noticed my hair was lacking body and shine. It was always the same length. It wasn’t as thick as I remembered it and it was … just blah.

How long did you transition?
In college (back in the late 90s), I tried going natural 2 or 3 times … each time, only lasting a semester or two. My hairdresser didn’t encourage transitioning; either BC or relax, so I would give in and relax. Eventually I changed hairdressers, but kept getting perms. In 2007 I started getting a light relaxer; putting the perm on, but not working it through. By September 2008, I decided to stop all together. It took 11 months to fully transition.

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
My initial reaction was “Wow! Look at those waves.” Then I was like, “ummmm …  soooo now what?”

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My immediate family did not like it. They were used to seeing me with nice, neat relaxed hair and couldn’t understand why I was going natural. Initially, I explained that I was trying something new and wanted to see my hair in its natural state. After a while, I stopped trying to explain. Now that I have mastered a few cute hairstyles, they like it. LOL. 
 My friends didn’t care either way. They all have different types of hair, so it wasn’t a big deal. They do send me links to natural hair sites, etc., which is so cute and supportive. 
My ex-girlfriend was very supportive, although there were plenty of jokes when I was learning how to deal with natural hair in August humidity.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
 
I pre-poo/shampoo as needed. When my scalp starts to feel tight or the style looks old, it’s time to wash. I know it’s a no-no, but I shampoo. I use a dye bottle with 1 part Head and Shoulders/1 part water. I apply it directly to my scalp. I pre-poo with EVOO for a day or two. Deep condition with a EVOO/Coconut oil mix or any one of the deep conditioners I have from my permed days. I like the Huetiful Steamer too. I sleep on a satin pillowcase and use a satin scarf. My favorite product is Karen’s Body Beautiful Butter Love. I use it from scalp to ends several times a week. It’s also a really nice hand/foot cream. That and EVOO are my go to products.

What are your favorite styles?
I’ve mastered the cute ponytail and braid-outs. I can stretch a braid-out for up to 2 weeks. I think once I get better control over my edges, I’ll have more updos in my arsenal.

What are your hair plans/goals?
My goals for 2012:

  • Complete The 2012 BGLH “Protect Ya Ends” Challenge.
  • Take a break from braid-outs and learn more styles.
  • Learn how to trim my ends.
  • Grow my hair to APL.
  • Incorporate KimmayTube’s conditioner.
  • Eat better/exercise/lose weight and it’ll reflect from the inside out.

Dry roller set

What was the most challenging part of transitioning?
Whew! Good question. The most challenging part was and still is my edges and kitchen. The texture is totally different than the rest of my hair. It’s just … rough and frizzy, lol. My mom refers to it as my “daddy’s hair.” I’ve learned to work with it. I apply extra conditioner and moisturizer to those areas. My scarf and gel help a lot when I need to lay them down. I also have a (2 inch) section of hair, right in the front that’s bone straight. It took about 6 months post-transition for me to realize that’s how it grows; it is not heat-damaged hair, so I stopped cutting it.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Shelli, from Hairscapades, of course!
Ebony Knots from Mahogany Knots
Taren916
Glamtwinz334
LongHairDontCare

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?

I follow all my “hair crushes” blog/websites and YouTube videos, along with KimmayTube, AfricanExport and BeautifulBrwnBabyDol.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?

Go for it! Find a stylist or learn a few styles to get you through transition or go for the BC! It’s not about long hair; it’s about healthy hair. Remember to moisturize and deep condition often. Everyone’s natural journey is his or her own. Don’t let the opinions of others affect you. It’s your hair :).

Tales of a Transitioner – HairStory Interview Questions

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I realized that I never posted an “official” list of interview questions for Tranisition HairStories! So, here it is. *hint, hint ;)*.

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.

When did you receive your first relaxer?

Why did you choose to go natural?

Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner, and why?

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?

What is your transition routine?

What is your staple transition hair style?

What techniques/products do you to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair? 

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how have you been able to overcome or cope with it?

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?

 

E-mail YOUR “Big Chop” HairStory with 5-6 pictures to hairscapades@gmail.com.

Tales of a Transitioner: Kendall’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 20 words or less.
I’m Kendall. I have some alter egos. They try to co-exist. Young professional, living in NYC until I move again!

When did you receive your first relaxer?
My first relaxer was in elementary school.  I think I must have been about 7 or maybe younger.  I remember going to the salon and when my hair was done I was so amazed at the way it moved and flowed (just like the women on TV-yeah that brainwashing starts early). But I was even more amazed by the way that after she washed my hair I didn’t have any knots or pulling when she detangled my hair!  I was so happy to not have my hairdresser pulling and yanking the knots out of my tender little head that I was addicted to that feeling!  I never wanted to go back to sitting in the chair and crying over how much it hurt to detangle my natural curls.

Why did you choose to go natural?
Mainly I was sick of the damage! The heat and the chemicals just got to be too much and the more I thought about, I had been damaging my hair for most of my life. I didn’t, and in some ways still don’t, know what my hair looks like now. (My texture may have changed from when I was little).  While my hair has retained a good length while I was using chemicals and heat, it wasn’t healthy and my ends were always splitting or breaking off.  I love the idea that I have a head of who know what type of curl that I’m getting to know, embrace and take care of in a healthy way!

Senior prom - relaxed with glue on extensions. GLUE ON!!

Are you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
As of right now, I’m about 7 months post relaxer! But it wasn’t until June of this past summer that I started learning about what it meant to be a “healthy natural.” I’ve been doing my research about the Big Chop and transitioning times and I think I’ve decided to be a long term transitioner.  The shortest I’ve had my hair was a bob-like cut a couple of years ago. I think, like most other transitioners who are long term, it’s about the preference of having a certain length of hair to work with, and I love being able to put my hair up and out of the way so that I can’t play with it. I’m planning to big chop and get rid of all of my relaxed ends after 2 years of new growth … so 2013 (sounds so far away right now but I’m going to make it!).

First time attempting to transition. Flat-ironed through attempt.

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
My reaction to re-discovering my natural hair  is one of excitement and fascination!  The more my natural hair grows out the more I just want to look at it and touch it!  It’s like meeting up with an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long, long time!  I just want to know all about it!  And every time I see a curl I get so excited!!

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
I haven’t experienced any negativity so far, but then again I’m still transitioning. For the most part, when I tell people that’s what I’m doing, everyone has been positive and supportive. I have to admit though that being in New York now has made a huge difference. I feel like if I had tried to go natural while at school in LA, it was a much bigger struggle in terms of the community outside of my closest friends and family. New York seems to be very pro-natural hair and whatever variations it may come in.

What is your transition routine?
I’ve finally got my routine down *pats self on the back*. On the weekends I deep condition my hair with Aubrey Organics GBP conditioner. I usually put it on and then throw on a plastic cap and let it sit for about an hour or so.  Then I shampoo with Giovanni clarifying shampoo, rinse, then shampoo with DevaCurl No Poo. But when I shampoo I only focus on the scalp and just let it cleanse my ends as I rinse it out. I follow up the shampoos with Giovanni 50:50 Balancing conditioner which I don’t rinse out.  I leave the conditioner in and run my head under the water for more slip and then use my denman brush to detangle. I usually put my hair into about 11 twists, braiding for the first inch or so by the roots and seal the ends with argan oil.

What is your staple transition hair style?
I’ve been keeping my hair tucked away, 1. so that I don’t play with it  and 2. to protect my ends from getting dried out. I usually leave my twists or braids in over the weekend and then come Monday will take them down and reapply oil and put them away in either a low or high bun. I keep it pretty simple with the hairstyles, just because I don’t have the patience to try to re-do fancy styles that are only going to last one or two days.

How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I think keeping the conditioner in my hair helps keep it moisturized. But I also apply argan oil to my hairs and edges every other day. I’ve also started using Curly Pudding on the ends and edges to keep the frizzy-ness away. So far I haven’t seen too much breakage, although I know it’s coming as a part of the transition process.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
I love knowing what to do with it! Natural hair can be so overwhelming, which is why when I’ve tried to go natural in the past, I’ve relapsed and gone back to relaxers.  Learning about what was naturally given to me and how to care for it has been my favorite part of this transition so far.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
There’s a young MC named Marz Lovejoy who is friends of some of my college friends who are in the music industry. She has some beautiful curls! And Corinne Bailey Rae! But I think everyone has a crush on her though!

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
I found this site through Curly Nikki, but I also follow Chime “HairCrush” and Longhairdontcare2011 on YouTube. Terri from Tightly Curly has an amazing hairstory! I love looking through her pictures and website to see her transformation and to stay motivated through the transition phase. I actually use Terri’s method of washing and conditioning as the basis of my hair care regimen.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Patience!  This is something I have to remind myself of every time I walk down the street and see a beautiful relaxed head of hair!  I think it’s important to think long term and know that the change you want to see won’t happen over night but it WILL happen! The other thing that I would stress is individuality. Because I’m transitioning, I’m not even really sure what my hair looks like naturally. I see the roots and that gives me an idea, but I’m trying to remember to do what’s right for me.

Transitioning - Pressed