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Monday, April 26, 2010

Freedom After The BC

Big Chop
Big Chop or BC means to cut or shave your hair off to get rid of the relaxed ends. It's kind like an eraser. It's to start all over from scratch so that all you see that grows is your natural hair. It's kinda hard for some people to take care of two hair textures-the relaxed and natural. So BCing is kind of the only option. Some people transition and wait for their new growth to get just long enough to have a manageable TWA (teenie weenie afro). Then they proceed to cut off the relaxed ends.

My Big Chop
So I cut my hair down to the new growth. I have about 2 to 2.5 inches of hair on the sides and about 4 to 5 inches on top. I didn't cut too much off the top because when it has retained it curl pattern and was not damaged like the other parts of my head due to my enemy, the "Dominican Blowout." LOL! I just had to do, I wanted to erase those pesky relaxed ends. They just looked like weird outliers in the equation and I didn't want to deal with it. When I deep conditioned my hair the other day, it looked a mess because of pesky relaxed ends that don't want to curl up because I've chemically altered it's curly pattern. Ahhhhh!
It made me so mad to see those things, I just started cutting, cutting some more, cutting, cutting and cutting. I was like in a trance until I awoke and I saw that my hair was shoooooort. It was quite shocking and I couldn't believe I'd do something like that. The old me would have ran out to go buy some weave to cover it up.

Freedom After the Big Chip
Don't get me wrong, I'm nervous about this whole thing, this whole hair journey. I do feel a slight urge to go buy a wig or get some weave to cover this up. I just won't do it because going natural is an incredibly important commitment that I made. I plan to stick to it whole heartedly. I've read in many natural hair forums that many felt a sense of freedom after BCing. They felt they've exposed their inner soul to the world. I do feel very vulnerable and somewhat unsure at this. I, too, feel exposed, as if people are seeing the real me. I can't say that I feel entirely free, though. I feel liberated from the confinement of sew in weaves, crochet braids and water. Yeah, water, water, water! Water and my relaxed hair did not go together. Now, I can wash my hair everyday if I wanted. I could play in the rain if I wanted. My hair would love it because natural hair loves moisture. I definitely feel free because of that aspect. I do feel like I've done something very brave because I know a lot girls out there especially where I live don't have natural hair. I'm pretty nervous because of possible reactions to the fro and other styles I will don as it grows.

They've issued a dress code at my hospital and out of the normal hairstyles and coloring are prohibited. Would they count things like bantu knots or comb twists or a twist out 'fro or other unique but beautiful styles that go along with having natural hair? I'm not sure because I have never seen these styles or girl wearing natural hair at my hospital before so I guess we'll cross that bridge when it comes. It's sad to have to worry about those things, but maybe I shouldn't be so worried. Maybe people will embrace my new and future hairstyles. Maybe I would inspire others out there to go natural. That's the plan anyways. My goal is work my TWA out, try out more hairstyles and be more self-confident in my endeavors of going natural.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Cut It!

Holy Shiite Muslims! I cut it.


I cut my hair. I had been itching to do it and I did it. I had to because I my hair, when I washed it, had a lot straight looking pieces. Those pieces are definitely not part of my natural hair journey. The heat that was applied to my hair really straightened my hair and I've lost my curl pattern. Inspired by all the big chops and my desire to truly go natural I cut my hair.

Now, I'm not completely going bald, but I did trim off a lot. Yeah, call me a chicken. Mostly the sides and back of my hair. I cut those parts really short. The top of my hair actually looks fine and has retained it's curl pattern so I left that alone. I know my hair will be growing at different lengths, but I don't care. I'll try to make it work. I cut my hair at line of demarcation (see previous posts) wherever I could see it. This was after I co-washed my hair and deep conditioned it.

I have recently learned about the best way to co-wash natural and deep condition it. I am going to start a regimen and see how it works for me. Here is what I did:

I used a spray bottle to spritz my hair with water (I made sure I had a towel over my shoulders) and applied a large dollop of Hello Hydration by Herbal Essence. This conditioner I've heard rave reviews about even though it has 'cones (silicones which can be drying to hair and cause buildup). My resolution to long term side-effects of Hello Hydration to shampoo once every two weeks to rid of buildup. I'm just going to see how it works for me and I'll report the results when I can. I massaged the Hello Hydration in my hair for several minutes making sure I'm massaging my scalp and getting ever section of my hair coated with conditioner. Then, I went into the shower to wash up and wash my hair. After, the rinse out, I did NOT use a towel because terry cloth towels can soak up oils and make curly hair frizzy. I used an old T-shirt instead to light drain of excess water. Next, I used Carol's Daughter Hair Smoothie mixed with regular clover honey in my hair. Honey is a humectant and helps your hair to be soft. It also helps seal edges to prevent breakage. This is my deep conditioner treatment that I will do once a week. I used the moments apply the smoothie and honey to detangle my hair using my fingers and very minimally a wide tooth shower comb. I placed my hair in a plastic cap and I put on my head a heated conditioning cap. I sat with the heated conditioning cap for 30 minutes and rinse out the conditioner with lukewarm water. I shook my hair in the shower to get my curls (the ones I have on the top of my head to spring out). I again used a T-shirt to lightly dry off the excess water. I applied the smoothie again and Carol's Daughter Tui Jojoba and Shea Butter Sheen. I actually put on a little too much smoothie because I could see it my hair, but later on it absorbed in my hair. I know better next time. I also spritz on CD's Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner. I think it turned out good. I put some EVOO on my sides. I rarely used a comb and I didn't use a brush, so my sides and edges look a bit rough. I'm not gonna use brush because I was reading it could cause breakage.

I know I'll get better with time in taking care my hair. My hair and I are dating right now and trying to get to know each to what each other likes and dislikes. Hopefully, in the future, we'll learn to stay committed to each other and live harmoniously and happily together forever.

I also might add, the sides of my hairline are filling in quite nicely and it's only been two months.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Dominican Blowout"

So I went back to that Dominican hairstylist to get a deep condition because I love the Dominican products she uses and love the way she massages my scalp. It's kind of like going to a spa for your hair. Dominican hair products really make my hair soft. I always try to find out what she's using, but she kinda just changes the subject or tells what it's supposed to do for my hair. She never tells be the product name. I guess she's witholding information to make me come back again and again. Well, it worked cause I was back. Anyways, I didn't want the straight style like she did before, but I guess I didn't realize until later that Dominican hair stylists do blow outs only one way. They use high heat and want your hair super straight. All I wanted was a my hair blow dried into an afro. She gave me a 'fro all right-a bone straight 'fro. She didn't even blow it out in a workable style. It was because I said 'fro, she just blew it out in a way that my hair was standing up straight. I looked like Einstein. It was baaaaad! You would have to see it to believe it, but I will spare you pictures. I guess I should have been more specific, but like I said before, most Dominican hairstylists like doing these blowouts and actually are very skilled in doing them. If you go on YouTube and enter Dominican blowout in the search field you'll see what I'm talking about. I can't put their videos on this blog.

So later, I went back to my natural hair websites for advice and more information. I came across the term "Dominican blowout." Apparently, Dominican hairstylists have a reputation of taming unruly natural hair to a bone straight texture that resembles the look of relaxed hair. The results are pretty amazing. The downside is the high heat can cause breakage and actually break your curl pattern. Especially if you do it like every 2-3 weeks. Getting the Dominican blowout in moderation, like every 6 months or so, would probably be best to prevent damage if you want to get a straight look. I should have done this research before I went to her last week. I am so naive in taking care of my hair, but I am definitely learning from my mistakes. This happened last Friday and I haven't washed my hair yet. I've been so busy with work and school!! I haven't had time to, but I will wash it Saturday evening and we shall she what happens. I will update on the results. If I see that my curly pattern is lost, I'm contemplating doing the big chop...

We shall see...stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What I've Learned and Done So Far.

Research
So far I've been doing tons of research on tips to effectively transition my hair to natural. I'm not gonna do the BC (big chop) because I think my hair is short enough as it is. I have to thank the styles I've subjected my hair to as a teen for the breakage and short length. I even found out the thinning around the edges of my hair was due to tension alopecia and not heredity. Here is a pic of the thinning edges on 4/9/10. I'm still very self-conscious about it, but I do notice they are filling in. More pics to come of them about the progress of my edges.

Back to the research, the natural hair community on YouTube has really helped me understand things like the BC and transitioning. For readers, who don't know. Transitioning is the process of growing out relaxed hair. A person transitioning their hair would have two hair types. The relaxed ends which are straight and the new growth which is curly (our natural hair!). From what I read, it's pretty difficulty to transition because the hair is so weak at the demarcation line which is the point at which the new growth and relaxed hair meet. I think it might be a lot harder for girls with longer hair, but I think mine is short enough to transition without great difficulty. I know it'll be difficult, but not as difficult if I had longer hair. Another bit I realized was that going to the salon and getting my hair blown out so early in this transitioning process was a mistake. My hair was definitely not ready for that. Since that blow out, I've trimmed my hair quite a bit to get rid of damaged ends and breakage. So now it's a bit shorter.
Back to YouTube, they has tons of tutorials about how to style a TWA (teenie-weenie afro). I would classify myself as having a TWA, but with some relaxed ends. I've also found some good websites like napturality.com and coilyhair.com. I mustered enough courage to try my first twist out. I will not show you a pic because it was baaaaad. The pic was also not good quality anyway. I also learned to do some flat twists and here are some pics. Now I remind you, I've never done this before in my life and styling my hair in it's natural state is a new thing for me. This was on 4/9
This style I kept for about 3 days. I would call this a protective style. Which is a term I learned on the natural hair circuit. It means keeping your hair tucked away so you don't have to mess with too much. It kinda protects the hair from the environment, too. A lot of natural hair experts say low manipulation is key because it leads to breakage.
Other Styles I've Attempted

This is the second twist out I atttempted. You could really see my thinning edges in the pics above. You can also see some of the relaxed ends I was talking about. I'm slowly, but steadily trimming them so that all of my hair is purely natural. I kept this style for about 4 days.
These pics are my attempt at flat twists with a twist out in the back.
In my journey to natural, I've found and fell in love with Carol's Daughter all-natural hair products. They smell yummy and my hair loves it. Their website directs you to products that fit your hair type. I've been using these products to achieve my looks. I'll soon do a product review once I've figured out what works best for me. I hope I get better at styling, though. I think practice makes perfect.

It's been about 2 months and counting into the journey and I'm learning more about my hair every day. I still get a little self conscious about how short it is, but I'm getting used to it. I'm trying to be as patient as possible. I'll soon post pics of the length of my hair and an update.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Beginning

I just decided to start this blog to chronicle my journey from relaxed hair to natural hair. I've been relaxing my hair ever since I could remember. I think my mother applied a relaxer to my hair when I was about 3 or 4 years-old. It was around February 2010 when I decided to discard of the weave and go natural. I've done all kinds of styles: braids of types, crochet braids, sewed-in weaves and glued-in weaves. My favorite was crochet braids in which I would crochet curly strands into the cornrows that were on my head. As I got older, going natural was always in the back of my mind, but I never had the guts. It was only now that I have mustered up the moxie to go through with it.

One day, I met a woman at work and her hair looked so smooth and long. I complimented her and she proudly said, "It's natural." I was shocked! She proceed to tell me how she transitioned from relaxed to natural by using all natural ingredients, deeply conditioning her hair and wearing her hair in protective styles. This created a stronger urge for me to go natural even though it was incredibly nerve-racking. My thinking was if I don't have weave in my hair, I would look ugly. Nervousness and scared were words that explained how I felt when I took down the weave knowing it would be the last time I would be putting it in my hair. I kept asking myself, Was I sure if I was ready to show the world what I looked like without weave and relaxed hair?" I thought I looked great with long, straight hair. What was I gonna look like with short, nappy hair? Ahhhh!

After I took down the weave, I went to this Dominican stylist I had researched who was noted for her thorough hair care. She wash and deep conditioned my hair and blew it out. It was a somewhat painful process because the heat was waaay hot on my scalp. The end result looked decent, though. It was straight (as she could get it), still had some roots that were kinda wavy. She curled it into a mushroom bob. It was the best she could do, I guess. I'm not sure her styling skills were on point, though. Her products made my hair look really soft and shiny. I couldn't believe she didn't use a relaxer to get it straight like that! I left the salon somewhat happy. I kept thinking this is just a start.

This was my hair after I went to the salon to get it washed, deep conditioned and blowed out.

It's been about two months and I haven't reverted back to the creamy crack (hair relaxer). I'm so tempted. This blog is to help others and myself get through the relaxed to natural hair journey. I hoping it will help me learn more about myself, my hair and others like me. I will be posting pictures and writing about my experiences.

Until then....