HairStory-Chenetra M.

1. How long have you been natural? Last relaxer: Oct/Nov 2009; BC 3/20/2010

2. Why and how did you go natural? (Did you transition? What products and styles did you use?) I had just had my 2nd baby (2 girls, they were 7 years apart) and was just ready for some type of change…something that I could control. I was adjusting to being a mom again and wanted to do something that would totally get me out of my slump. I also had really bad shedding that began not too long after I had my oldest in 2003. It only got worse as the years rolled by. The shedding was very annoying and embarrassing. My husband could tell where I did my hair for the day because there would be strands of it in the bedroom or the bathroom. I would purposely shake my hair just to see how many strands would come out. It was to the point where I was beginning to think maybe I had some type of health issue. The only thing that reassured me was that my hair was not thinning and I was not getting any bald spots, but it had begun to break very bad. So I began my transition period sometime in October/November of 2009. I had these really great big Con-Air curling irons that could just about straighten anything. So I began to flat iron & wrap my hair, pin curl sets (loved this the most), and roller sets. I was using Pantene Pro V products (even when I had a perm): moisturizing shampoo, moisturizing conditioner (made my hair REALLY soft! Loved it), setting lotion, and moisturizing lotion of the Relaxed & Naturals line.

3. Did you transition long term or do the big chop? Why? I did my big chop only 5 months into transitioning. My original plan was to go as long as I could through my transition period, but as the months went on, the harder it was getting to work with both textures. So I changed my plan to 6 months of transitioning. I fought through the 4th month. I was barely in my 5th month when I decided to BC…I tried to wait, I really did, but I was so darn ready to do it. I didn’t even think about it, I just did it. My lil one was sleep and I saw the opportunity. My husband didn’t think I was serious until I showed him my first cut…the back of my ‘kitchen’ was completely gone. He got up really quick to go to the nearest beauty supply store to get some guards for his clippers. By the time he got back, my hair was GONE!

4. Tell us about your hair regimen. What products and techniques you use? How do you keep your hair moisturized? I clean my hair at least once a month with Teressentials Mud Wash. After cleaning, I use Cantu Shea Butter leave-in conditioner along with a homemade shea butter smoothie. To keep my hair moisturized, every 2 days I spritz my hair with a combination of water and the following oils: olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and lemon grass essential oil for the fragrance. About twice a month, I apply the leave-in conditioner to my entire head and seal the ends with either jojoba or olive oil and sleep overnight in a plastic cap. I prefer my hair to be dry before the application so the product gets more absorbed into my hair. My most favorite protective style is wearing 2 strand twists, large and small, wet or dry with the shea butter smoothie mixture to coat the hair, and Cantu Shea Butter Pomade to seal and finger twist my ends. The twists usually last me 1week. In my second week I spritz the twists with oil & water or shea butter & water to take the twists down. This creates my 2nd week style, the infamous twist out. During this week I would use hair clips or pins to create a variety of styles with my twist out. I change up my regimen as I learn more about the products and techniques that work for my hair. I am finding that since most of the products I currently use are natural, I don’t have as many processes as other naturals have.
5. How would you describe this experience? Exciting and sometimes frustrating. I say this because I get a little intimidated by all of the Do’s and Don’ts, products and regimens of being a natural. So I’m pretty much still trying to find what works for me, whether my products are all natural ingredients or if I’m using ‘fates’, ‘cones’, or that other ‘bad’ stuff.

6. What was others response to your napturality? I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from the family. It’s been the outsiders that have not been as pleasant. Of course, they don’t know me and they don’t understand what having natural hair is all about. I’m not going to hold ‘not knowing’ against anyone that has no understanding of what it is to being natural…that used to be me at one time.

7. Who was your biggest influence/support? How did they provide support during your natural hair transition? My family has been very supportive, especially my husband. He does prefer for me to keep my hair short, and I loved my short hair, too! I really enjoyed the times when my husband would cut my hair when I wore it short after I BC’d. It was our special time together. Awhhh! Other great supporters were my sister-in-law and a number of co-workers that had gone natural before I did. One supporter, in particular stood out to me, one of my co-workers. When she first did her BC I was shocked. At this time, I had no thought of having natural hair. As I saw her hair grow, I got curious and my curiosity got the best of me!

8. What have you learned since being natural (about yourself, your hair and other people)? I have learned that if I knew, beforehand, how much effort and hard work it took to educate myself about having natural hair, I may not have done it. With that being said, I do not regret doing my BC without thought because I am definitely, and still is, enjoying this experience. I have learned a lot of people stereotype women & men that are natural. We have all made our own decision for our own reasons to have natural hair…don’t knock it ‘til you try it, I sure did!

9. What advice would you give to those transitioning or considering natural? There is so much more information on having natural hair…research it! My most informative source of research has been Google and YouTube. From these sources, I have found blog spots and so many more websites, pictures, and videos on how to take care of your natural hair. If someone mentions a word, phrase, product, style, etc…on one of these sites, I will Google or YouTube it to find out more information. If there is a particular issue about your hair that you are concerned or have questions about…Google it or YouTube it! And last, if you see another person that’s natural and you like their hairstyle, scarf, make-up, tee shirt, or earrings, ask them about it and where they get it from. I’ve had quite a few people ask me things about my hair or make-up and I was more than happy to share what I have learned so far.


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