Marcy’s Story of Transitioning
“Stretched at 9 months, the relaxed ends are completely gone in the back”
What made you decide to go natural? What’s your story?
Frustration and my boyfriend. He would call and say “Didn’t you just get your hair done?” and he was right. I calculated how much money I was spending by going to the salon once a week and decided I would rather have that money in my pocket. I was frustrated that I was spending so much money. My hair was nice and full the first couple of days then flat and boring for the rest of the week. I was frustrated that my hairstyles never lasted as long as I wanted. I usually liked how thick my hair looked was once my new growth started coming in but I couldn’t comb it. I looked through my pictures and I was tired of looking the same. I’ve had the same hair for years; I needed a change and refused to color my hair. I learned my lesson from the last time I got highlights. So I googled natural hair one day and I was hooked. I spent at least 2 months reading blogs and forums before I decided that I wanted to give this it a try, and in May 2009 I said no more relaxers.
Have you told anybody? (friends, spouse, family members) What do they think? Is there any negative feed back?
I’ve told everybody, lol. My dad is a typical Haitian in the sense that he thinks I should have long straight hair. Even if I wanted to cut my relaxed hair he would have a problem with it. My mom doesn’t quite get it. She thinks that I’m going to flat iron and press my hair all the time but I want to stay far away from direct heat except for the rare occasions I chose to straighten it. I haven’t had much negative feedback aside from my little cousin. She laughed at me. It kinda broke my heart to hear her say that we’re not pretty without relaxers. She just started college and at her age I had hoped that she would understand that there is no cookie-cutter definition of beautiful. My biggest supporter is my boyfriend. He’s the one that put the idea in my head in the first place. Since he’s been helping me with the process I want him to cut my hair with me when the time comes.
What styles are you currently using to transition?
I’ve learned how to do kinky twists by on my own (Thanks YouTube!) Instead of going to a shop to get it done and spending a couple hundred, I can buy the hair which is pretty cheap and do it myself. I’ll usually keep them in for a month then take them out wash my hair making sure I clarify and deep condition. I like to give my hair, especially my edges, a break so I will wear a two strand flat twist-out for a week before installing another set of kinky twists. I like them because I moisturize, seal and I’m out the door, I don’t have to worry about how I’m gonna wear my hair.
What products are you using to moisturize your hair while in transition?
Where to start? I think I’ve cured my PJ-ism and found some staples which makes me (and my bank account) very happy. I use Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle conditioner to co-wash. Also the Organic conditioners that I’ve tried (Coconut Milk, Shea Butter and Teatree Mint) are pretty good with the addition of oil for some added slip. I have just recently discovered and fallen in LOVE with Cantu Leave-In. While I was researching natural hair, I saw plenty of talk about it on blogs and forums and decided to give it a try. Best decision I could’ve made. I can’t use too much of it though (my hair turns white) so I alternate with a spritz made up of water, coconut oil and HE Long Term Relationship Leave-In. I can’t just use an oil to seal but have recently across Safi Hair Care’s Avocado Shea Hair Butter and it’s doing wonders to keep the moisture locked in. I am still on a search for the right deep conditioner though.
There are alot of challenges that come with transitioning, what are some of yours?
Definitely dealing with the two textures. I’m not the most patient person when it comes to washing my hair so detangling is the WORST. When I first started I would yank a comb through my hair and then be shocked at all the hair that was coming out but I’ve learned that I need to take it slow and start from the ends and work my way up. Another was learning what my natural hair needs. It sucks up moisture like a sponge so I know now that it needs some sort of leave-in daily. The kinky twists have made it a little less trying than other transitioning stories that I’ve read.
Do you plan to BC? (Big Chop) if so, When?
I decided that I was going to transition for a year before doing the BC. My last relaxer was around the May 20, 2009 so I think I’ve finally settled on doing it right before Memorial Day weekend 2010 and starting the summer season off with a change.
What are your long term goals for your hair?
Health is my ultimate goal. I want my hair to be strong and well moisturized. Length is usually what comes from healthy hair so if that comes along too, I’ll take it lol. What’s most important is that I get to learn more about the hair that I was born with; the hair I always thought was so horrible that as soon as I got some new growth I ran to my Dominican salon to have it either blown straight or relaxed. This process is more about me being comfortable with who I am.
“My shocked expression () to my first successful two strand flat twist-out”