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!

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