A Transitioning Tale: Ashley's Story
Relaxed to natural
Protecting Your Crown & Glory (PYCAG) would like to feature the transitioning tale of one of its most faithful subbies, Ashley. Ashley has been a true diva, consistently commenting and staying connected, which is why it is imperative that she take center stage today. Ashley originally submitted her transitioning tale to PYCAG two years ago, and her story somehow got lost in the sauce! This fabulous diva is now 100% natural, and we are catching up with her today to get the deets on her journey.
PYCAG: When you first submitted your transitioning tale in 2009, you were just two months into your transition. How long have you been natural?
Ashley: I have been completely natural since January 31, 2010.
PYCAG: How long were you relaxed?
Ashley: I was relaxed from the age of 11 to the age of 30, so 19 years. I remember begging my mom, 'Please let me get a perm,' because my hair was so tightly coiled that whenever water touched it, no matter how long it was, it would draw up so tightly that we couldn't even get a comb through it. There weren't many hairstyles that I could do unless my mom straightened it with a hot comb, and that of course was like torture.
PYCAG: What inspired you to go natural?
Ashley: I decided to go natural because my hair was shedding a lot, my edges were starting to thin and my hair was just out of control when it came to being dry. My hair had always been really healthy, but when I became pregnant toward the end of 2005, my head began to burn around the edges, for no reason. I'm not talking about when I would get a relaxer, I mean just on a regular basis. I wasn't using any different products, wasn't braiding my hair, or pulling it into ponytails. I told my stylist and she just said it was probably due to my hormones changing from being pregnant.
I also spoke with my OB/GYN at the time, a Black woman, about my hair, and she suggested that I cut back on the frequency with which I got touch ups. I eventually started to think it was the type of relaxer my stylist was putting in my hair. I didn't know she had changed up the relaxer she was putting in my hair. I decided to cut my hair off that summer and add some color. Bleaching my already fragile hair only sped up the thinning process...side note, if I don't like my hair for any reason or get bored with my hair, I am quick to cut it off, so after cutting my hair I decided to only let my stylist wash and style my hair, as I began applying sensitive to mild relaxers myself at home. Doing so actually saved me a ton of money, but that didn't slow down the thinning and breakage I was suffering. The doctor said it could have been the three epidural shots they had to give me during labor that started it, then the blood pressure meds I ended up on from being pregnant. Needless to say, I had tons of reasons to leave the creamy crack alone. Don't get me wrong, my hair didn't look that bad, but I knew it wasn't reaching its full potential.
PYCAG: Did you opt to transition slowly, or did you do the BC?
Ashley: I transitioned from April 2009 until January 31, 2010, and decided that day to cut my hair off. I just washed my hair, got my scissors while me and the hubby were watching the Oscars and started chopping off my hair. I admit I was shocked that I actually did this. My husband thought I was insane because I hadn't planned this at all, but I'm totally glad I did it. It's only hair and it grows back beautifully and healthy and strong without any chemicals.
While I was transitioning I wore a sew-in, left a bit of hair out in front and around the edges so I could style my hair any way I pleased. That lasted for about the first three months, then I started experimenting with twist outs rolled up on perm rods.
PYCAG: What products are you currently using?
Ashley: I used a lot of different things at the beginning of my journey, as I was trying to figure out what worked best for my hair. I was a bit of a product junkie, and truth be told, I probably still am just a tad bit ;-). Below is a list of the products I use.
- Black soap
- Hello Hydration by (when I need to remove a lot of product build up)
- Moisture Retention Shampoo by Shea Moisture
- Hello Hydration by Herbal Essences (the one in the turquoise bottle has lots of moisture)
- Deep Treatment Masque by Shea Moisture
- I make my own shea butter for my hair (check youtube for the many recipes and how to vids) Jane Carter Solution mango hair butter
- Curl Enhancing smoothie by Shea Moisture
- Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel
- Hair Milk by Mizani
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil (I don't use all of these things at once but I do try to switch things up so that my hair doesn't get used to any one product. I use a lot of these styling products to achieve my two strand twist outs, bantu knot outs, wash n' go puffs and on days when I my hair. Currently I am laying off the heat for the summer so I'm not sure yet if I will get braids as a protective style or not. I'm really digging these two strand twist and flexi rod out styles)
Ashley: My hair goal is to maintain this strong and healthy hair that is full of shine and bounce. I know my hair can continue to stay like this if I stay the course. I would like for my hair to eventually be past my shoulders while straightened and while in it's natural state I would like for it to be at least to my shoulders. I've noticed as I near towards the end of this pregnancy that my edges are starting to thin again, so I think the thinning is just something my body goes through during pregnancy. Other than that, my hair is very healthy and thick everywhere else and grows just fine.
PYCAG: Is there anything else you wish to share with the ladies?
Ashley: I will continue to get trims as needed and do my weekly deep conditioning treatments. I also forgot to mention that I am a huge fan of co-washes. Shampooing your hair strips too much of your hair's natural oils so if you don't have too much product build up in your hair opt for a co-wash instead. You will definitely notice a big difference in maintaining moisture in your hair.
Thank you so much Ashley for sharing your transitioning story with PYCAG. We wish you much success as you continue your journey to strong, healthy, natural hair. Blessings to you and your family!