Tales of a Transitioner: Maina’s HairStory


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.


4 responses »

  1. – also do you wash the senegalese twists and how often? please email me with more info! I’ve been natural for 9 months now and I’m thinking of using these twists for 3 months and then taking and breather on and off for about a year.


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