The Real Reason Why I Haven’t  ”Big Chopped” 
If I lived 3000 miles away, my hair would be three inches long, curly, and free.  I hate short hair, but I love my natural curls more. I have continued to transition from relaxed to natural because of my family’s reaction.  They love my healthy hair with big textured styles. But, I realized that my family is obsessed with long hair and believe it’s a woman’s right to retain it—-even if it’s thin, relaxed and unwanted by me.
How hypocritical!  People in my family love Halle Berry and Nia Long with their cropped coif styles, but not on me.  At the age of 12, my father berated me for getting a razor cut style. As an adult woman, my older brother expressed anger and disgust at my second attempt to “big chop.”
 I suffered another “tangled and webbed” setback after a major product build up from a conditioner wash with honey.  I live in an incredibly humid city in the summer, and a deep condition with honey can cause a frizzed and tangled result in my “transitioning hair.”   Of course, the tangles were in the relaxed areas, and they were worse than my first “40 knot” debacle in May, but centralized in one area.
This gave me the opportunity to “test cut” areas of my head.  I had no fear of cutting it all off and not looking back.  But after echoes of my angry brother, scared sister, crazy cousin, and mother’s workplace fear,  I cut the “tangled” areas that couldn’t be removed and twisted the rest of my hair.
Although I love “Diana Ross” big hair, I know that I am over the “big hair” era.  It plays no part in my transition anymore.  My transition has taught me how to care for my natural hair and reject the “dead weight” of my former relaxed friend.  
I am keeping my relaxed hair for my family.  I will slowly cut until there’s no point of return, but at least they’ll have time to absorb the truth.  I’ve had two “almost” big chops!  Maybe the third time’s a charm!
Transitioning Links and Series
Transitioning Hair Challenges
Transitioning Hair: This of That (Part 1 of 4)
Transitioning Hair : No TWA Please! (Part 2 of 4)
Transitioning Hair: Does It Prepare For Natural Hair (Part 3 of 4)
Transitioning Hair: Monolithic Hair? We Transition For Different Reasons Too (Part 4)

The Real Reason Why I Haven’t  ”Big Chopped”
 

If I lived 3000 miles away, my hair would be three inches long, curly, and free.  I hate short hair, but I love my natural curls more. I have continued to transition from relaxed to natural because of my family’s reaction.  They love my healthy hair with big textured styles. But, I realized that my family is obsessed with long hair and believe it’s a woman’s right to retain it—-even if it’s thin, relaxed and unwanted by me.

How hypocritical!  People in my family love Halle Berry and Nia Long with their cropped coif styles, but not on me.  At the age of 12, my father berated me for getting a razor cut style. As an adult woman, my older brother expressed anger and disgust at my second attempt to “big chop.”

 I suffered another “tangled and webbed” setback after a major product build up from a conditioner wash with honey.  I live in an incredibly humid city in the summer, and a deep condition with honey can cause a frizzed and tangled result in my “transitioning hair.”   Of course, the tangles were in the relaxed areas, and they were worse than my first “40 knot” debacle in May, but centralized in one area.

This gave me the opportunity to “test cut” areas of my head.  I had no fear of cutting it all off and not looking back.  But after echoes of my angry brother, scared sister, crazy cousin, and mother’s workplace fear,  I cut the “tangled” areas that couldn’t be removed and twisted the rest of my hair.

Although I love “Diana Ross” big hair, I know that I am over the “big hair” era.  It plays no part in my transition anymore.  My transition has taught me how to care for my natural hair and reject the “dead weight” of my former relaxed friend.  

I am keeping my relaxed hair for my family.  I will slowly cut until there’s no point of return, but at least they’ll have time to absorb the truth.  I’ve had two “almost” big chops!  Maybe the third time’s a charm!


Transitioning Links and Series

Flashback: One Month Into Transitioning Hair Journey

Today, my hair is in better quality than last month.  It’s softer with a natural shine; my new growth is tamed with defined curls.  So far, my current styles have trained both textures to love one another—-and I hope it stays that way.   

As a visual person, I created a natural hair inspiration file with photos of styles to help me cope with transitioning, since 88%  of my hair is still in relaxed form.  Things I discovered:

  • I noticed from my photo collection, I am huge "hair fan" of Yaya Dacosta from America’s Next Top Model!
  •  I’m also happy to add  Esperanza Spalding  to my photo collection, who won the Best New Artist Grammy, and showed her kinky curls to the world.  
  • The Youtube ladies have restored my hope: ChimeKim LoveNina PruittKayKay10001NikkiMae2003MSMIKKO100 and more!

In January, I purchased a lot of products (natural, oils, & essential oils), and  noticed:

  • I paid more, but used less products with the natural ingredients.  
  • I began to create  a variety oil mixes,  venturing outside of coconut and olive oil.

Speaking of oil mixes, I recently created two mixes:  Castor/Peppermint  and Jojoba/Almond.  Jojoba  is my recent favorite oil, and I’ve always loved sweet almond for fragrance (De La Cruz brand).  I learned about sweet almond for fragrance eight years ago, when I read an Ayurvedic  beauty book targeted towards westerners.  (We like to smell good!)

How did I finance my product junkie-ism?


In February, I started a hair barter service with family and friends to pay for  ”trial-and-error” products.  So far, my Kinky Curly Knot Today leave in and Come Clean shampoo got paid for with these funds!  I also embraced my inner frugalista by walking away from unnecessary product purchases (Giovanni!).  If the urge comes, I’ll use barter services for products or  buy samples or travel sizes.  I’ve always been a “sample” buyer.

Other things I did in February:

  • I tried the Hair One cleansing conditioner  (Olive Oil for Dry and Damage Hair), and it left my hair soft, clean, and moisturized—-a must purchase!
  • I tried my first co-wash ever with Yes To Carrots  Pampering Mud Conditioner.  I purchased this in February and loved the results.
  • tested the Two Oil  Method for five days in response to a Youtuber’s video (3:48) on maintaining a simple regimen.    She mentioned we only need two oils—-castor and coconut oil: castor for roots and coconut for hair & ends.  I’ll say its an economical way to seal moisture and stimulate growth.

I learned something new:

  •  I always used thick paper towels to remove the water weight after washing.  According to Deva Curl, this is a better method, since towels create frizz.
  • My mind was blown when I learned how to make natural gel with flaxseeds.  I will definitely try this with oils and aloe when my hair is 50% natural.

- Ann Noire

Transitioning Hair Challenges

During my research on transitioning to natural hair, I heard many stories about managing two hair textures and protecting the line of demarcation (the meeting of your relaxed and natural textures).  But, I was not prepared for the tangles and knots that came with it.

Once I reached two inches of new growth, I began to see my relaxed hair take on a textured wave and began to knot up three inches down!  This wasn’t the line of demarcation at two inches, but a ball of tangles at three or four inches.

Chicoro, author of the book Grow It, suggests that you look for the root of the problem.

  • Could it have been my hair styles (braid outs, twist outs)?  
  • Was it product build up (Giovanni Direct Leave In, etc.)?
  • Did I have poor detangling methods?
  • Was it a disagreement of products?

It’s all of the above!  I asked natural salon owner, Athena Laster from the Circle of Peace salon in Houston for help.  She said the relaxed hair was becoming weaker and my stronger natural hair would affect the relaxed texture——which explained the waves I had at three inches.

I was so frustrated, I wanted to big chop.  ”Transitioners” tend to big chop or return back to the relaxer at this point.  But, I gave myself six weeks to master the art of detangling my hair, and getting rid of the knots.

Let’s revisit my former questions:

Could it have been my hair styles (braid outs, twist outs)?  

Yes.  I was improperly taking down my twists from tip to root, not root to tip. Note: You detangle from tip to root, but you don’t take down twists that way. 

Was it product build up (Giovanni Direct Leave In, etc.)?

Yes. I clarified my hair with Kinky Curl Come Clean shampoo—-an organic shampoo with no stripping ingredients.  My Giovanni Direct leave in conditioner did not agree with my moisturizing shampoos and conditioners.  I swapped my leave in conditioner for one that lacked glycerin. Glycerin can leave your hair crunchy in cooler seasons.

Did I have poor detangling methods?

Yes.  I tried oil rinsing after my shampoos or used a slip conditioner for detangling.  I decided to finger detangle my wet hair in sections from tip to root.  I also used aloe juice as a hair “detangler.”  (detangle: tip to root; twist out take down: root to tip)

Was it a disagreement of products?

Yes.  On my hair, Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention shampoo doesn’t agree with Aubrey Organics deep conditioners.  And, if layered with Giovanni Direct leave in, it’s a horror show for protective styles.

- Ann Noire


Transitioning Links and Series

Transitioning Hair Story

1. Why did you decided to go natural? 

Mentally, I’ve been natural for 6 months. That’s how long I’ve transitioned to natural.


2. What was your process?

I’m a visual person. I decided to take the plunge, once I discovered fabulous natural styles on Youtube and hair communities. I never liked relaxers anyway, but didn’t know where to start in my natural hair journey. I started off using Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo; Elasta QP DPR-11 Moisture Conditioner and Giovanni Leave-In conditioners. I participated in hair journeys in the past, so I was familar with moisture, oil sealing, and moisture/protein balanced.

Once I began to transition, I started a product trial and error phase, but many of my new products were natural—-such as aloe gel, glycerin, distilled water, wheat germ oil, castor oil, olive oil and peppermint oil. I eventually started to make my own creamy leave-in, after becoming inspired by Youtubers like KimmayTube and Naptural85. I shop less at traditional beauty supply stores, and more at health food and drug stores. I wear textured transitioning styles such as braid outs and twist outs. If I didn’t love big hair, I’d big chop sooner.


3. You’ve transitioned. How long?

I plan to transition for 18 more months—-a total of 23 months. I will big chop on December 11, 2012. [ I lasted 7 months, and BC’d on August 7, 2011.]


4. What products do you use in your hair journey? How do you maintain moisture?

I followed the advice of treating all of my hair as natural. So, I am a moisture girl. I wash and deep condition weekly. I alternate between co-wash conditioners and gentle shampoos (Shea Moisture, Hair One, Kinky Curly, or Elasta QP ) . I always deep condition with an Aubrey Organics conditioners mixed with teaspoons of olive, coconut oil, and drops of peppermint.

For daily moisture, I use a spritz of aloe and distilled water. Occasionally, I’ll use a creamy leave-ins to moisturize after I wash or spritz. I always seal my moisturizers with oil mixes (olive, sweat almond, wheat germ, castor, etc.).


5. Tell me about your experience.

Natural hair isn’t hard to manage at all, once you become familiar with caring for curls. I thoroughly researched through natural hair communities (Hairlista, Kiss, Natural Sunshine), Youtube (Hair Crush, Naptural85), and books (Curly Like Me by Teri Laflesh, Cathy Howse). I also followed the advice of treating all of my hair as natural, and it’s been a breeze. I’ve had more problems with my relaxed hair tangling.  

6. How did others respond to your going natural?

I think I’ve inspired my family members. My mother thought I’d have a problem managing my natural hair because I got a relaxer at the age of six. But now, she chose to transition. After discussing her afro-styled hair in the 70’s, she told me, "I can’t believe I didn’t let you become familiar with your natural hair."

 
7. Who was your biggest support?

My support group were the ladies on Hairlista. I also keep a natural hair inspiration file with hundreds of pictures on my computer. I’m a visual person, and I’d look at these pictures daily to keep me going. Yaya Dacosta and Chime (Hair Crush) from Youtube were my favorites!

 
8. What have you learned since being natural (about yourself, your hair and other people)?

I learned that people embrace natural hair more than I expected. I wasn’t as observant of naturals before I chose to transition, but they are everywhere. People are fascinated and inspired by the versatility of our hair. If you approach natural hair from a relaxed or straight mindset, you’ll question if it’s manageable or “hard to deal with.” But, I’m glad I was trained to approach my hair from a mindset of curly/coily maintenance. It’s a breeze! Shrinkage, thirsty curls, and all! I’ve learned it’s all about experience and perception.

 
9. What advice would you give to those transitioning or concerning natural?

Learn as much as you can about natural or transitioning experiences from friends, Youtube, and natural hair communities. Take your time. Don’t get discouraged. And un-train your relaxed brain! It’s the only way to tackle your natural journey.

http://www.twitter.com/annnoire

 Ann Noire

 


Transitioning Links and Series

How to go natural without causing breakage to relaxed hair?

  • Start treating your hair as if it’s natural from the jump. Learn all the transitioning and natural styles and processes.
  • Deep condition weekly.
  • At  your three-month post-relaxer mark, consider adding co-washing into your shampoo schedule. Watch out for build up on relaxed hair.
  • Please master detangling early on.  At two inches of new growth (4 months post-relaxer), your relaxed hair can begin to tangle.  Use your fingers, wide tooth combs, or moisturizing detanglers like: aloe juice or Kinky Curly Knot Today.  Watch out for silicone detanglers; they are effective, yet coating.
  • Your relaxed hair will love ceramide oils (wheat germ, hemp, sunflower), but your roots will need heavier oils (castor), and all of your hair will need cuticle penetrating oils (avocado, coconut, olive).
  • To keep your natural hair from breaking, wear protective styles or low manipulation styles (braids, braid outs, twist outs).  Sleep on satin pillows.
  • Take your time.  If you’re truly going natural, you’ll rejoice in your new growth, and care for your relaxed ends until your transition leads to a big chop.
  • Your natural hair loves water.  Use an aloe/water spritz as a moisturizer with your favorite oil or creamy leave-ins.  Castor oil is excellent for softening new growth.  

Hope that helps!

Ann Noire


Transitioning Links and Series

Transitioning Hair Under Attack?