I have been natural for good since 2004. I initially made the decision to be relaxer free in 2002. However, 8 months into my journey, I punked out. Perhaps it is not that deep, but it is how I felt. I just wasn’t ready to make the lifestyle change. And make no mistake, it is a lifestyle change. My stylist, who introduced me to the idea of letting my relaxer grow out in the first place, had done her best to convince me to stay in the fight. However, after listening to my complaining and witnessing my struggle, she finally gave in and I was once again trapped into the life a relaxed girl. Why was that life so important to me? Why was I so unwilling to let it go? I often make relationship analogies when it comes to my hair because it seems that most people can relate. You know that relationship that you’ve been in for so long that you can’t see your life outside of it, even though you know you should probably move on? You’ve been together so long that you have become complacent and comfortable. Yes it comes with some strife but not so much that you can’t deal with it. You rationalize it by saying “all long term relationships have challenges, this is normal”. That is kind of how things were between my relaxed hair and I. We had been lifelong partners (since I was in elementary school) and even though I knew my hair would be much better off without the relaxer, I just kept doing what I knew best.
|2003 Maid Of Honor in my best friend's wedding|
|2003 - flat ironed|
2003 – The Break Up
In late 2003, I had had it! The relaxer and I finally broke up for good! It was indeed traumatic; you know “yesterday I cried, etc etc”. We had a tumultuous relationship to say the least. Although I had made the decision to be relaxer free, I still wanted to wear my hair straight. Go figure! Embracing my curls did not come until much later. It would be years before I finally decided to forego all the flat ironing and heat and simply let my curls do what they naturally wanted to do…be curly!
2003 – 2004 The Transition
I opted for weathering the storm of the transition vs doing the big chop. Not because I was afraid of short hair because I had worn my hair extremely short before, but I simply wanted my hair to grow as long as it could. I would get a few inches cut off every month or so until eventually all of the relaxer was gone. Throughout my transition I rocked the following straight styles:
- A high messy bun
- Roller sets
- Micros for 2 weeks (hated them!)
- Random weaves
|2004 - flat ironed|
I chose to wear my hair curly during the summer only! I would not advise anyone to transition the way that I did. My hair was exposed to so much heat it didn’t get a chance to reach its full length potential. My biggest obstacle was my inability to commit to the new curls in my life. I wasn’t ready to let go of the “straight” look. I was constantly in search of achieving the straight look of a relaxer without actually getting a relaxer.
|2008 - Look at m pregnant nose! Wash and GO - my style during the summer|
|2009 My Birthday - Roller Set|
|Summer 2009 - Cruise - Wash and GO|
|That's me in the middle - 2010 My Birthday|
Fast forward to 2011
I still get my hair flat ironed 2x per year, but I must confess, every time, I am disappointed. It’s cute on day 1 but by day 2 I am longing for my curls. My hair and I are soul mates. I don’t really believe in the idea of a soul mate when it comes to love but I do believe in timing. I think the timing was perfect for me and my hair to bond, get to know each other and respect each other’s existence. I have never been more happy with my hair. I finally know what it is to truly love my hair! Of course everyday is not great – somedays I just want to bun it and keep it moving. My favorite hairstyle of late is the braid out. I will share my current routine, which pretty much has remained stagnant but as far as products go, I am a self proclaimed product junkie and I pretty much change my products every week!
So my hair week is Saturday – Saturday, much like a retail calendar week.
*Disclaimer – subject to change based on special events
Dry detangle (using Vatika Oil)
Deep condition (leave in overnight)
Co wash or shampoo
Separate my hair into 4 sections
Apply Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In/Detangler (as far as my hair and I are concerned, this is the best detangler out there)
Apply whatever styler/twist cream I am using for the week. Lately I’ve been applying the Kinky Curly Custard in addition to the Kinky Curly Spritz. I distribute them evenly throughout my four sections and then braid into four huge braids.
Pour oil in my hands (lately the oil of choice has been olive oil) and release the braids.
Apply oil on loose hair.
I do minimal separation and viola! I have large waves that are bouncy, free of flake or stiffness and are cottony soft.
I do rebraid my slightly water and oil misted hair every night while applying a small amount of the spritz and each day it gets better and better. Usually by Thursday, I put it in a bun or a huge puff…just to switch it up a bit.
|February 2011 - you've seen this photo before but it's all I have for 2011!|