A Transitioning Tale: Michelle's Story
|Michelle's natural hair straightened|
Michelle: I think my mom gave me a relaxer around the age of 12. I can't say for certain when I began relaxing, but I used to get touch-ups like every eight weeks or so. When I got in my 30s, I would touch-up every four months or so. About six years ago, I decided to put an end to it all.
PYCAG: What inspired you to transition?
Michelle: I have been natural for about six years and my reason for going natural was fear. Yes, I was afraid of going bald. I didn’t have any signs of balding, but after reading Cathy Howse’s book, Thinning Edges, I thought it high time I stop relaxing. Plus, whenever I’d go to the Dominican salons, they would tell me I shouldn’t relax my hair because I didn’t need to. So, why was I putting all those chemicals in my hair? I just like it straight.
PYCAG: Why did you opt to slowly transition versus do the BC?
Michelle: I never big chopped. It’s just not for me. I like longer hair. I transitioned for about nine months and when I had about three inches of relaxer left, I had it cut out.
PYCAG: How are you caring for your natural hair?
Michelle: After going natural, I did not know how to take care of my hair. I just kept doing the same things I did when I was relaxed: Deep conditioned, moisturized AND flat ironed. Well, the flat ironing part ruined it for me. My hair broke off something terrible at the crown. Fast forward to around May of 2011. That's when I discovered Kim Coles' Grow Out Challenge. I joined and started learning so much about how to care for my hair. Here are some things I’ve learned and do on a regular basis:
- Wash my hair once a week, and co-wash mid week.
- Seal my hair’s moisture in with oil.
- Deep condition weekly.
- Henna applications every 3 weeks – Helps strengthen my hair and covers my greys wonderfully!
- Low manipulation and protective styles (I still struggle with this because while I do protective styles almost daily, I am always playing in my hair! I always have to try the latest hairstyle *sigh*).
- Never comb my hair unless it’s loaded with conditioner. So, I never comb it dry. I finger detangle with oils.
- Brush? What’s that. I no longer use any kind of brush on my hair. My go to styles are typically some kind of twisted or braided area in the front of my hair along with a bun that I do with a banana clip or satin scrunchie.
Michelle: I’m a little bit of a product junkie at times but have cut down a lot. I am currently using:
|Michelle's natural tresses|
- Shea Moisture’s Hair Thickening Shampoo (about to also start using As I Am Naturally Cleansing Pudding. I got a sample and loved it!)
- Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, Herbal Essence Totally Twisted or Cantu Shea Butter Rinse Out Conditioner (for co-washes)
- One of 4 leave in conditioners: Kimmaytube, Ghiovanni Direct Leave In, As I Am Naturally Leave In, or Salerm 21
- One of 4 deep conditioners: Shea Moisture Hair Treatment Masque with Honey added to it, As I Am Naturally Hydration Elation, Ultra Black Hair Conditioner and Aphogee for times when I need a boost in protein.
- Styling Creams: Shea Moisture Styling and Conditioning Milk, Jane Carter Nourish & Shine
- Gels: Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel, 100% Aloe Vera Gel
- Henna: Henna for African Hair or Rajasthani Twilight. Both can be obtained at mehandi.com
- Sealing: Jojoba oil for the length of the strands and Jamaican Black Castor Oil on my ends
- I recently discovered another ayurvedic hair care product: Zizyphus. I share some before and after pics of my using Zizyphus. It is helping to greatly thicken my hair and restore my curl pattern which loosens with henna after each use
- For detangling on dry hair: I love Lisa’s Hair Elixir by Carol’s Daughter or Burt’s Bee’s Baby Oil (no mineral oil or any other suspect ingredients here!)
- I’m also starting a new pre-poo regimen with Vatika Oil when it arrives (we’ll see how that goes)
Michelle: My goal is to obtain bust length hair all around by the end of 2011. I’m almost there at the back but my crown and sides still have a little ways to go.
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing your natural hair tale with PYCAG. It's been a little while since you submitted your story, so we hope you've reached your goal of bust length. For those of you who wish to learn more about Michelle and her journey, you can hit her up on her facebook page or on Twitter (@RadBrownBeauty). You can also check out her E-store: Freshradiantskin.com.
Happy hair growing!