I’m always getting questions about my hair journey, especially about my transitioning process. Here’s a look down memory lane on how my hair has changed over the past four years.
The Time Line:
November/December 2013 – Got first weave installed; began transition.
While in college, I participated in a pageant and wanted to add some inches to my shoulder length relaxed hair, so I got my first weave installed. I really liked the look and hung on to it for as long as I could, so when I took it down, I had a lot of new growth. I was already suffering from breakage and bald spots, and my hair refused to grow past my shoulders. The amount of new growth that I had really encouraged me to start transitioning my hair back to its natural state.
Over the transitioning period, I had protective styles, length checks, and a bunch of failed braid/twist-outs. I really had some bad hair days, y’all. Seriously, terrible. I dug deep for these pictures! They cover my hair changes from November 2013 to July 2015.
I tried braid outs, twist outs, bantu knot outs, and perm rod sets. My go-to style that I felt mixed my two textures well enough at the time, and was quick and easy for me to do, was bantu knot-outs.
I only tried perm rod sets a few times towards the end of my transition. I wish I’d tried them sooner – I liked them alot!
As far as products go, I didn’t use anything special during my transitioning period until towards the end when most of my hair was natural. My go-to product for bantu knots, however, was ORS Smoot-n-Hold Pudding. While I had a lot of relaxed ends, I continued using the products I’d use on my relaxed hair, but I made sure to be deep conditioning as often as possible.
I had three length checks while transitioning, with one of them being professionally done.
My favorite protective styles were the Senegalese twists and the box braid bob. The bob was the last protective style I had.
July 19, 2015 – Chopped the remaining straight ends.
When I took the braided bob down and saw how much growth I’d had, I finally chopped the remaining straight pieces of my hair after a year and seven months of transitioning. I transitioned for so long that I felt so relieved when I finally let go of those bits of relaxed ends.
My hair was a little uneven because it grows faster on one side than the other, but I still rocked it and was super excited to finally be a Naturalista!
My first style on my curlies was a failed bantu knot out. I hated it. I tried again with a wash-n-go, and didn’t like it either.
It was all about the process of finding which products worked best for my hair. Once I figured out some that worked for me, I realized a wash-n-go was (and still is) my favorite style, and started playing with the different ways I could wear it.
January 2016 – First length check fully natural.
After six months of focusing on the health of my curls, I wanted to start the new year with a length check. It’d been almost a full year since the last time I’d straightened it. I was in disbelief with how long it was!!
March 2016 – Caught my hair on fire; transition begins again.
You read that right. I caught my hair on fire. Literally a tragic Hollywood scene. I was soaking in a bubble bath, surrounded by candles. I fell asleep vibing to Erykah Badu, and at some point during my dreams, I heard “sizzle sizzle”. I jumped up so fast I almost slipped and drowned. All I could do was slap water into my head. My hair was falling into the bath water like a pile of ashes. TRAGIC.
Thankfully my girl Lee (s/o Lee!) rushed over with my God Child in tow and helped put me back together. She assured me it was savable. I had my hair in a pineapple, and part of it is was cooked away in the candle. When I took my hair down, I had a very short patch of hair on the top of the back of my head. It was easy to disguise, but it was still very noticeable to me. There was no way I was going to cut the rest of my hair to match the shortest length, so I knew I would have to be very gentle with my hair while the burnt section grew back out.
I had to style my hair to try to disguise the short area, and there were some sections that completely lost their curl. I noticed my hair was also having issues holding moisture. Check it out below:
I still wore wash-n-go’s, but was very gentle when styling my hair. Pulling my hair up or back helped hide the short spot, and having a protective style for a month also helped my hair grow.
October 2016 – Second length check; cut hair into layers to better disguise burn spot.
After nursing my hair for some months, I was comfortable with getting a length check and cutting my hair into layers to better disguise the short spot.
I was really impressed with how much my hair had grown and how thick it’d gotten! All those DIY deep conditioners definitely helped me out.
After washing my hair, I noticed that while my hair had a better shape to it, the heat didn’t help the areas of my hair which had lost some of its natural curl pattern. I started trying out different styles to help curl those areas. One of those styles was a flat twist out that didn’t go well at all. The product used caused my hair to shed:
I kept pushing through with lots of deep condition treatments, and sticking to simple wash-n-go’s. In the pictures below, you can kind of see how my hair texture was off and lacked moisture.
May 2017 – First time cutting own hair (issa mini chop!)
From October 2016 – May 2017, I was battling getting my hair in the burn spot area to curl like normal, as well as tangling issues. I think my hair was so stressed from everything it had been through over the past year that some of my curls were completely over it. I realized that my ends were tangling so bad because I needed another hair trim. I was initially going to get my usual length check, but decided to take a chance at cutting my own hair using no heat to give my hair the break it needed (and still needs) from heat.
I love how it turned out!
After cutting it, my hair began to flourish again and started growing thick and healthy. In a month’s time, my hair was already back to nearly reaching my shoulders:
Today (2 Year “Natural-versary”) – Full head of popping curls!
I’m really happy with how my hair has bounced back from all that it’s been through. I love the shape of my hair, too. I didn’t do too bad with giving myself a hair cut.
I always get asked why I transitioned for so long. At the time, my reasoning was because I felt some attachment to the length of my hair (…and felt my head was too big for that big chop business LOL…). However, looking back I realize it meant way more too me than just holding on to dead hair. It was about growth – about glowing up and learning to love myself at every stage. It was about not being genuinely happy for so long, and finally growing to a point that I let go, not just of those straight ends, but gradually every crappy thing that made me feel less than my best. I transitioned for nearly two years, only to set my hair on fire during a period of mourning and sulking, and then wake up a year later and decide to just chop half my hair off because I felt like it needed a trim.
And love it.
And it was freeing, and happiness, and embracing every piece of me.
Current Hair Goals:
Today I’m happy that my curls are full, bouncy, healthy, and moisturized. My goals over the next year are to fight hair shedding, continue growing stronger, healthier hair, and to continue inspiring fellow curlies to embrace every low and high of their natural hair journey.
My hair has been my story. It still is my story. History.. Hairstory.. Herstory.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Lots of Love,