Transitioning Tale: Maya's Story
A beautiful diva named Maya submitted her transitioning tale to Protecting Your Crown & Glory (PYCAG) in May of this year. Having been relaxed for several years, Maya once thought the natural route was not for her. Now fully natural, Maya is loving her luscious locks and wishes to share the details of her journey in hopes that it will inspire other women to embrace their natural hair. Without further ado, here is Maya's transitioning tale, as told to PYCAG.
PYCAG: How long were you relaxed?
Maya: I was relaxed from the age of 12 to 27, so 14 years. I grew out my perm briefly in college and was once chemical free for about a year, but I applied a texturizer for more manageability, so I don’t really consider that period as being chemical free.
PYCAG: What inspired you to transition?
Maya: Several things inspired me to transition: various blogs (including Protecting Your Crown and Glory), and a lot of YouTube channels, but above all, it was the desire to have HEALTHIER HAIR!! During the last few years of wearing a relaxer, my hair had gotten to a point where it wouldn’t retain length, and it wasn't taking a perm well. My hair just looked bad all the time and behaved badly, so I was literally sick of it. I had had pretty healthy and long hair in high school but during and after college I moved around to several different cities and was going to various hairstylists, which I think led to major damage. Even though I would voice my concerns and preference for certain relaxers, I believe the combination of different products, chemicals, relaxers, and inconsistent treatment was making my hair fall out.
I tried to do what I could for my hair at home and would go in for the salon's 'special' deep conditioning treatments, but nothing seemed to help. I started doing my own perms at home for a while but never felt comfortable doing so, which is why I called it quits in October of 2009. I remember thinking 'I don’t know what I’m gonna do because I don’t really want to be au naturale but I can’t keep doing this because I’m gonna end up baldheaded!' So I started transitioning without really having a plan. I just knew I had to stop putting chemicals in my hair. I didn’t feel like I had the courage to go natural, but was desperate for a change. I knew I’d rather be natural than baldheaded [laughs].
PYCAG: Why did you opt to slowly transition versus do the BC?
Maya: When I was in college, I tried the BC and did not like that look on me! So this time my game plan was to slowly cut out the relaxer. I honestly was not as well informed as I should have been before going natural, so I just stuck with my regular hair care regimen and products and tried to make my hair manageable. I didn’t know at that time about twists outs, braid outs, etc. After about 8 months of being natural, I rocked a sew-in weave for about another 8 months and that helped me achieve a lot of growth, which made my hair more manageable.
PYCAG: How do you care for your natural hair?
Maya: I currently wear my hair in a lot of pony puffs and protective styles; I seldom wear it all out. I have not straightened it since I’ve gone natural mainly because I don’t want to become obsessive about how long it is and how fast it's growing. I did dye my bangs last November, so that is the only chemical I have in my hair.
My current regimen is to wash and deep condition weekly. I apply coconut oil, shea butter, and protective cream (in that order) after I wash my hair, and during the week as needed. I also apply some type of water-based spray, such as Infusium Leave-in Treatment, just about every day, and seal it with the coconut oil. I have to say I love the fact that I am able to add water to my hair without worrying about reversion. I’m so happy to be free from that!
PYCAG: What products are you currently using?
Maya: Right now my staples are:
- Infusuium Leave-in Treatment
- Shea Moisture Shea Butter
- Profectiv Anti-Thinning Stimulant
- Coconut Oil
- Aubrey Organics Swimmer Shampoo and Conditioner
- Kinky Curly Come Clean
- Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner
- Kinky Curly Curling Custard
- Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair Butter
- Let’s Jam Conditioning Gel
- Aphogee Protein Treatments
- Murray's Superior Hair Dressing Pomade
- Rasta Locks Jamaican Mango and Lime Gro Spray
Maya: To have healthy hair, although I believe I've already achieved that, Amen! I guess my goal now is to maintain the health of my hair. I also want long hair--as long as it will grow, but I’d be happy with shoulder length.
PYCAG: Is there anything else you'd like to share with the readers of PYCAG?
Maya: I have to say I never would have thought I would be a black woman rocking natural hair all day everyday! I have found it to be very liberating! I just feel free to be me! When my natural friends and I are out I swear people don’t know what to think, and we get so many compliments! Protecting Your Crown and Glory was the first blog I remember stumbling upon when I was looking for healthy hair care. I followed your blog for months without really thinking I could ever go natural. I just figured it wasn’t for me and I wouldn’t be bold enough to try it. I was wrong and am so glad I did.
I was shocked to find that natural hair is more versatile than I could have ever imagined, and I do way more now with it than I ever did all those years I was relaxed. I used to think the only way you could wear you hair when natural was in a 'fro and that seemed so boring to me, but that has been proven to be false. There are so many talented sistahs displaying their crafts on YouTube and teaching others, and I am so thankful for them because I've learned about most of the styles I rock by watching them. Sometimes I think about all the money I spent on stylists that did not listen to my desires and concerns, and simply did not care about my hair. I now look at how I have been blessed by my fellow natural beauties on YouTube for free and am amazed. But then again, God said he would more than repay what was stolen from us! Thanks DPrincess28 for all the tips, tricks, and the inspiration! Ciao!
And thank you, Maya, for sharing your natural hair tale with PYCAG. We wish you continued success on your hair care journey!
Maya is a writer for Examiner.com. Her focus is on business issues that impact women. "My goal is to help women succeed and thrive in the business world," states Maya. Check her out at Santa Ana Women's Business Examiner.