|Some Transition Styles: Senegalese Twists, Sew Ins, Straw Sets, and Flat Ironed.|
My inspiration to go natural? Really, it was my line sisters. A few of them starting going natural after we probated and I saw their transitions and thought, “Hey! I can do that, too.” The more I spoke with them, the more I understood the versatility of natural hair. One line sister in particular has been natural her whole life and her hair was AMazingly well kept. She could twist it up, wear it big, wear it straight… anything. I fell in love.
I always get really bored with my hair… I dye it, cut it, weave it… but I wanted a permanent change.
I loved my hair straight, but I wanted endless possibilities. I knew that with natural hair, I could straighten my hair when I felt like it and I could wear it curly as much as I wanted. I was uncertain of what my true natural texture was (I hadn’t seen it in so long) but that did not stop me from wanting to embrace what God gave me. Relaxers were expensive and although it gave me that “Silky Indian”, I just couldn’t fathom continuing to pay ~$50-$65 for straight hair every 6-8 weeks. In the fall/winter of 2007, I decided to transition to natural, too.
I started researching natural hair on the internet and stumbled across www.nappturality.com. It is a natural hair community that discusses everything including styles, products, thoughts, current events, etc. There were also a couple of YouTubers then that caught my attention, one being that of RusticBeauty. Her hair was truly EVERYTHING. It was well kept, crazy in length and just overall awesome. I watched her videos faithfully. There weren’t many vloggers back then, so I did what I could in terms of research.
So how exactly did I start? It’s simple, I suppose. I stopped visiting my stylist until I knew I was ready to chop off relaxed ends. I couldn’t tempt myself by going to the salon. I asked one of my line sisters, the ultimate stylist for college students on a budget, to flat iron my hair during the time. She introduced me to heat protectant (didn’t use that before), taught me how to properly blow dry my hair since she wouldn’t do it unless it was blown-out correctly, and preached to me to not over-do it with the heat on my hair (thanks Sqwuril)! Following her lead, I tried not to flat iron my hair after that initial flat iron she gave me, but it was hard. My roots would become puffy (especially when it rained) and I was not used to all that volume.
This eventually led me to get a sew-in. Sister Sqwuril did that for me as well and let me TELL YOU how my hair was LAID. I did those for about 2-3 months, faithfully, except I would allow for my hair to breathe a little in between. Eventually, I had to do something different as I was going out of the country and did not want to deal with my hair too much. In came in my other line sister, Meka, who is the expert braider. I had her install Senegalese twists in my hair. Senegalese twists start as a braid, but continues down as a twist. The process was lengthy (no one believes me when I say I have a head full of hair!), but it was worth it. I rocked those for maybe 2.5 months and eventually removed them before they started locking (I know, but at least it didn’t look ratchet).
By now it was summer time and I really wanted let my hair breathe. I still had some relaxed ends on my hair, but not a lot. I had been visiting my stylist and she would give me a cut/trim every time we had an appointment. I attempted bantu knots (epic fail), any twist style that I could (still looked crazy) and whatever I thought transitioners at the time could wear. I ended up either straightening my hair (I became an expert with that, but would advise transitioners to go minimal heat to heatless) or wearing it in a roller set. Near the end of August 2008, I was fed up with the two textures. I felt like I couldn’t properly care for my natural hair with the relaxed ends. Every time I washed my hair, I wanted to scream because of how horrid it looked. It just really made no sense to me, so I did what I normally do – impulse decision to cut it. My stylist asked me if that’s really what I wanted… I only had about 4 inches of new growth. I assured her that this was the best decision for me. So she chopped it. Looking back, I should have done it myself, but that’s neither here nor there. I was completely natural, now.
In comes the next question: What in the world do I do with this hair now?