Daily Archives: October 19, 2011

Tales of a Transitioner: Monieke’s HairStory

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It’s our first transition HairStory, but not our last! Meet the beautiful Monieke!!

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Describe yourself in 20 words or less.
My name is Monieke and I’m a mother to a SUPER cute 16 month old little girl. I’m a full-time student pursuing a degree in elementary education. 

When did you receive your first relaxer?
I received my first relaxer around the age of 12. Before then I got my hair pressed with the old school pressing comb. YIKES!   I’m talking, hold your ears because the steam burns! My mother said she put a relaxer on my hair out of pure laziness. She got tired of dealing with my hair.

How long have you been transitioning and why did you choose to go natural?
I’ve been transitioning for about 7 months. I was the person who went to the salon faithfully, every week, for a number of years. I always wondered why my hair was not growing or very healthy since I was getting “professional” care. After I had my daughter, I was still getting relaxers and just one day decided I would never make my daughter go through the relaxing process. I got on the internet and “googled” natural hair to learn how to take care of her hair and, in the process, learned that I was damaging my hair more and more each day. After weeks and weeks of reading all the blogs, I decided I needed to take care of my hair and start the natural hair journey. I haven’t looked back.

How do you manage the two textures?
Managing the two texture is the make or break part of transitioning. It gets overwhelming dealing with the two, but I manage by finger detangling and snipping away relaxed ends monthly. Also, LOTS OF MOISTURE helps in dealing with the two textures. The more new growth I see, the happier I get!

Are you planning on being a long-term or short-term transitioner?
I hope to big chop at the beginning of 2012. I said hope! LOL! I’m still leery about cutting all my hair, but I’m getting better as time goes on. I originally wanted to wait a year before I BC’d, but I’m falling in love with my hair daily. So, who knows how I’ll feel tomorrow!

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
Before I started my natural hair journey, I wore a straight hair wrap every day. Even in high school I wore the straight wrap.  As time went on, I kept thinking that I needed to change my style. Never knew what to do with my bone straight hair, but since I’ve been transitioning, I’m way more adventurous with my hair. I even had some of my relaxed friends stealing my hairstyles! LOL!

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you began transitioning?
I’m still experimenting with products; I’ll try anything someone brags about. Currently, I’m shampooing twice a month. I co-wash at least twice a week, deep condition once a week and henna once a month. My regimen has definitely changed since the start of my journey and I’m sure it’ll keep changing because I like to try new things.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
My holy grail and staple products are pure shea butter, jojoba oil, castor oil and Shea Moisture products. I love the Shea Moisture Organic Yucca & Baobab thickening shampoo. I use that for my daughter’s hair too. I mix castor oil in my shampoos and conditioners. I use Suave Professionals Almond and Shea Butter for my co-wash during the week. I also use a leave-in mixture of vitamin E, vegetable glycerin, castor oil and water.

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
I usually 2-strand twist my hair all over and use perm rods on the ends to give it a curlThen I pin it different ways or simply pull it all to the top of my head for a curly puff. I try to stay out of my hair, but since I have about 3 inches of new growth, I can’t keep my hands out of it. But, as far as styles, I usually have it pinned up some kind of way. So I guess I wear low manipulation styles.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
I do! I have many, but I’ll just name a few: You, Curly Nikki, Tracie Ellis Ross and Lisa Arrindell Anderson.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
Too many to name, but Hairscapades, Curly Nikki, NaturallyMeAshley, MsDanti (both on Tumblr).

Where can we find you online?
I’m not a blogger (YET), but follow me on Twitter @Moebutterflies!

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
GO FOR IT! It’s more than just a hair journey, it’s a personal growth within and it’s definitely worth it! There will be negative comments made, but doing what’s best for you is what’s important. So IGNORE THEM!

September Update: Viv

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Cutie pie Viv of the Fifth Wave gives us an update with a fancy photo montage;)!!

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These past three months during the challenge have been especially fun for me in regard to my hair. At 13 months post BC, one would think that my hair care regimen would be set. Not so. Every month my hair presents new challenges and new discoveries requiring me to re-examine what I did before.

When I first started this challenge, my greatest concern was the single strand knots, which seemed to have popped up from nowhere overnight. They plagued me and seriously caused me angst as it meant to me that the meticulous care I had been applying to my hair was amiss. So, during these past few months I have been on a mission to eradicate them.

I received some helpful advice from various women here on Hairscapades who suggested ACV and oil rinsing. I purchased a bottle of ACV, mixed up a batch and brought it into the shower to rinse my hair during my weekly wash session. Mind you, I was gagging the entire time from the odor. When I say I tried to put that stinky concoction in my hair, I mean I really, really tried. But, I just couldn’t do it. My nosh is super sensitive, and I love having my husband cuddle with his face in my neck at night. I was not about to relegate him to the couch because of my hair!

I then figured I would straighten my hair for my one year anniversary and get a simultaneous trim instead. After all, that’s what many naturals do, right? Well, after I made my appointment with a stylist, I started experiencing random moments of anxiety from a fear of heat damage. Nothing but heart palpitations right and left. It all came to a head the night before my appointment after I had a sweat-inducing, frightful dream. I’m sure many of you have heard of naturals having the dreaded “relaxer dream.” My dream was a little different in that I had a “hair shedding” dream. I dreamt that tennis ball sized clumps of my hair were falling out of my head until I was nearly bald! I woke up from that dream clutching at my hair and babbling exclamations of gratitude because it was still intact. (I don’t need to tell you I never made that appointment, do I? Nor that my husband thinks I’m out of my freaking mind!)

In the end, the solution was quite simple … I dusted my ends myself while in twists and it made a WORLD of difference. I tried oil rinsing as well, which was also very helpful, and I no longer do wash n go’s, which contributed greatly to tangling and knots. I find it’s easier to keep my hair moisturized in stretched styles like twist-outs and braid-outs. So I think the key to reducing SSKs is to dust more frequently, reduce tangling and to moisturize my ends nightly with love and tenderness.

What have I learned? Slapping on some oil haphazardly just won’t do. Nor is it wise to fear the scissors for the sake of a little unhealthy  length retention.

During my next update, I’ll tell you about some shocking revelations my hair revealed to me that made me come to terms with what I have on my head. (She and I were on the outs for a minute.)

As far as my exercise routine … yeah, that was a fail. I hang my head down in shame. I must, and I shall do better for the next update.

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Can’t wait to read what else you’ve learned Viv! And, you and your hair both look fab!! I’ve done an ACV rinse or two with Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. It didn’t bother my nose (by I’m not too smell sensitive), but I found that it was drying to my hair even highly diluted with distilled water. However, many experience great results with ACV rinses and I’m not entirely opposed to trying one again on hair that needs a little clarifying.

Have you tried or do you use ACV rinses? What kind of results did you expect and receive?

“Let’s Talk About Hair”

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Did you watch “Reed Between the Lines” last night? The episode was called, “Let’s Talk About Hair!” It was all about the daughter contemplating relaxing her natural, curly hair (that she indicated she loved and gave her individuality) to attract a boy. I sooo want to learn how that episode came to the screen (wonder if I can get an exclusive;))!! I think that may be the first time I’ve even seen the topic of relaxed versus natural hair addressed in a sitcom! The one thing that bothered me was the way Tracee was flat ironing the girl’s hair though! It was like those TypeFAIL videos!! The girl’s hair was curly, she passed the flat iron over the section she was doing multiple times and pulled out a fine tooth comb!! I really enjoyed the premise of the show, but I watched that moment like, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”  LOL!!

Did you watch the episode? If you did, what did you think of it?

I Knew It!!

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Okay, if you’ve been around here a while, you know that I have repeatedly indicated that my hair used to be denser and curlier and I think that it has changed a lot. I think it began changing in my mid-thirties and the henna really pushed the loosening over the edge and amla caused crazy shedding (which I’m still not sure is totally under control). Well, I finally have the proof. My sister Shana dug up some old pictures from a couple of years after my BC. She used to have a hair journal on Geocities (remember that?!?) called blakgirl’s nappy journal. She decided to include me in her blogging by creating something she called skill’s mini nappy journal. Well, as you may know, Geocities “foreclosed” many, many moons ago and my sister thought her journals were lost to world wide web purgatory. But yesterday, she pulled them from the void and sent me a link to the archived blog!! It included pics and some pretty funny comments about me being uncooperative with taking pics and helping her document my journey. This is pretty hilarious in light of my obsession now!! Well, without further ado, here are pics of my hair from August 2002, when I was 30 and two years after my BC (I had about 6 inches of hair when I chopped, I guess).

I frickin' had waves back then! And a puff!! A puff y'all!! Seriously, this hurts my feelings.

Twisting my hair. Do you see how full they are and how thick the other side is?

My hair was all twisted. This illustrates the difference in my curl pattern and shrinkage rates. It also illustrates that I was not trying to take pics.

Twist out. Shana said I was being uncooperative and probably watching Friends.

She takes credit for introducing me to the twist out. But, I was doing braid 'n curls in college on relaxed hair.

This was an early style experiment. I made big coils on my damp/wet hair with CD's Healthy Hair Butter and maybe some gel?

Once dry, I began separating the sections into smaller sections, recoiling those sections of hair.

This was the final result. Do you SEE how curly my hair was back then? *sigh* I also was growing out damaging highlights. I tried them on relaxed hair, they were a no go. I tried them on natural hair, still a no go.

I think my curls were very similar to Cree Summers back then and I loved them.

Now, just so you can compare. This pic is from 2008. See how much my curls have loosened? This is 2 years prior to henna, so that has nothing to do with it.

After seeing these pics, I made the following comment on Rece’s blog.

It really makes me a little ill to see how much my hair has changed:(. I know that everyone just sees loose waves and long hair, but I know that my hair was thicker and curlier and seeing the change just forebodes more thinning and straightening:(. I really want to have a child, so my only hope is that the pregnancy hormones might make my hair curly again … but then, the post-partum shedding will probably make me bald!! Ughhh, I fear that I’ll look like the Crypt Keeper!!! You know, this guy!!

*sigh*