A Transitioning Tale: Amber's Story
Today's transitioning tale is that of a beautiful diva named Amber. Amber's tale is quite inspirational, as she didn't simply decide to transition because of styling options. Instead, her decision to go natural was driven by her desire to protect her hair from harsh chemical relaxers, which only exascerbated the hair loss she suffered as a result of her battle with lupus. Without further ado, here is Amber's transitioning tale, as told to PYCAG:
PYCAG: How long were you relaxed?
Amber: I was relaxed for over 11 years and decided to transition the summer before grad school.
PYCAG: What inspired you to transition?
Amber: I had been thinking about it for a while, ever since my senior year of high school when I was diagnosed with lupus. I lost handfuls of hair while combing it, but it eventually grew back. Before my freshman year of college, I had to have chemotherapy, which resulted in more hair loss. Finally, I became comfortable wearing wigs and half wigs. For three years I continued to relax my hair, but thought about going natural. I saw your videos on YouTube and admired your hair. I got my last perm in the summer of 2010.
PYCAG: Why did you opt to slowly transition versus do the BC?
Amber: I wasn’t that brave. Cutting my crown and glory scared me. I didn’t know how to style my hair with two textures so I wore wigs and half wigs for nine months. My new short curly afro had to grow on me but I rock it!
PYCAG: You mentioned that you were diagnosed with lupus, which is an autoimmune disease that often results in hair loss. How are you able to maintain a healthy head of hair despite your illness? Do you feel that going natural has assisted in hair retention and or the ability to maintain a healthy mane?
Amber: God has truly taken care of me and my hair. Using perms was too harsh on my hair so going natural was the best thing I did for it. Now, I barely comb my hair, and when I do, it is wet with water and leave-in conditioner or a moisturizer. I use my fingers to detangle my hair when it is wet and I let my hair air dry. I've only flat ironed my hair once since the chop.
Amber: This is my regimen:
• I wash and condition every two weeks
• I do a co-wash one week after the wash
• I am not consistent but I like to perform a deep
conditioning treatment once a month
As for styles, my most common are:
• High bun with Marley braiding hair
• Flat twist out with one flat twist in the front
• Banding method at night
PYCAG: What products are you currently using?
• For cleansing--Silk Elements shampoo and conditioner
• As a leave-in conditioner--Cantu Shea butter and Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine
• Moisturizers--Curl Enhancing Smoothie by Shea Moisture and Palmer’s Hair Milk
• Stylers--Eco Styler gel
PYCAG: What are your hair care goals?
Amber: My goal is to have healthy hair and to obtain a length that passes my shoulders when curly.
Thank you, Amber, for sharing your transitioning tale with PYCAG. We wish you much success on your hair care journey!
To learn more about lupus, visit Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.