Wednesday, 15 June 2016

My Natural Hair Journey #3: The Transitioner's Tag

Hello everyone 
It's been a while since I last gave an update on my natural hair journey so I decided to do this tag to celebrate me going 1 whole year without a relaxer (or chemically straightening my hair).
 I will be a answering a few questions below which will tell you guys all about how my journey has been going so far.
This might be a bit of a wordy post so you can grab a cup of tea or something.

My curls popping after applying shampoo

  1. Why did you decide to go natural?

There is a bit of a story to why I decided to grow out my natural hair. My hair has been chemically straightened for almost all my life. While growing up in Cameroon, the only time I cut it was for school and when I came back during the holidays, my mum would relax it for me and then cut it again before I went back to school. We normally had low cuts at school and so once our hair got a little chance to grow, we would be asked to cut it again. In other words I only ever dealt with my natural hair while it was very short and it was very manageable.

When I came to the UK, I had the opportunity to finally let my hair grow and for the first 4 years, it did grow indeed but I did get regular relaxers. The longest it ever got before I decided to transition was armpit length. I started my hair journey in September 2014 mainly because I just wanted to have healthier hair. Before this, my mum had been taking care of  my hair and she did a brilliant job. However, I wanted to learn how to take care of it myself and she gladly let me. It went really well for a few months until I started over manipulating it and ended up experiencing lots of breakage especially at my edges and my nape. I was quite disheartened by how unhealthy my hair had become so I decided to grow it out again by just wearing protective styles like braids.

About the same time, I had been watching lots of natural hair videos on YouTube and I always told myself "natural hair wasn't for me". I had started considering going natural after I saw how healthy and long black natural hair could actually be. Then I saw my mum's natural curl pattern before she got her last relaxer because she had gone without one for a long time and she had loads of new growth. That was the turning point for me. I decided to go natural because I want to know what my natural hair is like when it's long. I want to have a fresh start and grow long, and most importantly, healthy hair. I also want to have an experience with and learn how to take care of the the kinky coils God has blessed me with.

More of my curls.

2. How long have you been transitioning?
June 13th 2016 marked 1 year since I had my last relaxer,

3. What has been the most difficult thing with your transitioning so far?
The most difficult thing for me has been wash days. It was easier to wash my hair when there was only about an inch of new growth but as the natural hair grew longer it became a challenge for me to detangle my hair without breaking everything off. I have however found an easier way that works for me which is finger detangling. I have ditched the comb and I just use my fingers to rake through my hair. This is what has helped me for the past couple of wash days.

4. Have you had to change anything from your relaxed regimen to better care for your transitioning hair?
Most definitely yes.
I now pre poo before shampooing my hair. A pre poo is when you use a conditioner or oil on your hair before you wash it just to help detangling a lot easier. I mostly use my conditioner rather than the oil and this helps me so much with detangling.
I also always work in small sections now. I never worked in sections with my relaxed but sectioning does make everything really easy.
I also use the LOC method which is a leave in conditioner, oil and cream to moisturise my transitioning hair and I have been wearing lots of protective styles too. I would say I have learnt to better take care of my hair since I started transitioning.

I tried hair chalk on my hair. I decided to go for pink and I also tried purple. In this photo, you can just about see the purple colour still in my hair after I applied the shampoo.

5. What are your go-to hairstyles?
My go to protective hairstyles are crochet braids, weaves or twists and when I wear my hair out, I love wearing bantu knot outs, flat twist outs, roller sets and perm rod sets on my hair.
For the next year, I am going to try not to wear braids or twists too often because I have found out they ruin my edges.

6. How do your friends, family, co-workers or classmates feel about your transition? *not that their opinion matters*
It took me a while to tell my family just because I didn't know how they were going to react but they actually took it really well when I told them and they support me. A lot of my friends are natural so it has been a really good booster for me as they have been really supportive in my journey.

7. Will you be a long term transitioner or will you big chop?
My goal is to transition for 2 years and then cut off the relaxed ends. I really don't plan on doing the big chop any time soon.

8. If you have any, who are your favourite YouTube naturals or hair crushes?
I have so many favourite YouTube naturalistas but just to mention a few; MoKnowsHair, CentricSista, NaturallyPhilo, Millicent Swift, Westafricanbaby, Chevysway, NaturallySheray, Judith's Natural Hair, Iamsonotmyhair, Max Elizabeth and so many others. These ladies have been such an inspiration to me during my hair journey and I am so glad I found their channels.



A quick length check.
If you remember from my last natural hair post, my natural hair was just below my ear. It has been 6 months and it is now almost at the base of my mandible.
If you want to read my previous posts about my natural hair journey, click here.

Thanks for stopping by
God bless.