Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Conversion: From Straight to Curly

The conversion from chemically treated relaxed hair to natural curls is a BIG DEAL for most women.  How the conversion or transition happens depends highly on your comfort level.  I didn't feel comfortable chopping off all my hair so I let my perm grow out, then cut it off.  During my conversion I wore braids and had my new growth straightened.  I finally cut off the perm when I had about 4-5 inches of new growth and I haven't turned back.  That was about 12 years ago!

Based on the survey results many of you guys did the same thing I did. 
  • 11% - always had natural hair
  • 22% - had a rough transition
  • 67% - let the perm grow out first
  • 11% - did the big chop (BC)
  • 22% - did something else (other)

The conversion or transition is always a sensitive, life altering experience....why?  Because you are TOTALLY changing your overall look,  your hair styles (which could add time to your morning routine), and creating a totally new hair care regime (which can take time to establish).  Natural hair can be tricky and finding the right look can be overwhelming. It takes time and patience to land the right products and techniques to get the look you are satisfied with.  I saw a friend today who just did the big chop! She looked gorgeous to me...but still felt unsure about how to handle her new curls.  I will also mention, some men are not in favor of natural hair (especially the big chop)...so getting your man on board may be an issue as well. 

The following is a real life account of a beautiful woman named Taraja who has been converted and fully transitioned into a naturalista.  Enjoy!

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TARAJA'S STORY (in her own words):
All my life I was exposed to beating my hair into submission with a hot comb and then the creamy crack.  That's all I knew.  With my thick unruly hair I always turned to straightening my hair.  I struggled with combing through my extremely thick hair, so the only solution I saw was to chemically straighten my hair.
 
Relaxed days


WHAT CHANGED....
Knowledge is power.  That statement was what started my natural hair journey.  After realizing that I've been trying to manage my hair all wrong and that my hair could actually be combed through in no time, there was no turning back!  With the birth my first child, I also wanted to show her by example to love her natural curls, not naps.
 
Faux natural

Cut short

Transitioning

BC DAY...
First off it didn't start off as a full Big Chop.  I just wanted to cut off my relaxed hair.  So I took advantage of a trip to Maryland and made an appointment at a Natural Hair Salon!  My friend came with me and documented the entire process.  It was an exhilarating experience, I had no fear, just shear joy.  During the whole time I was either smiling or laughing.  Once my relaxed hair was cut, I could only see an afro puff. To make the styling process easier for myself I decided right then and there to just cut it all off!!! 
 

Hair before the big chop (BC)


Hair during the big chop (BC)

All off!!! I'm a new woman!
TODAY...
I feel like I'm seeing my hair for the first time.  The versatility, the richness, the possibilities are endless and it hasn't even been 1 full year after my BC!  Not only am I in love with loving my curls, but I'm exploring home made products...shea butter, raw black soap, essence oils, etc, are among my current arsenal.  Oh! I'm also teaching myself to flat twist.  All that I am learning on myself, will be applied to my precious daughter <3
First twists


Exploring natural styles

Great coiling method

Great example for daughter

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I'm sure Taraja's story has resonated with most of you like it has with me!  The conversion process is exciting and the new hair adventure you accept along with the process is EMPOWERING!  I think the choice Taraja made is indeed an excellent example for her daughter!  I'm looking forward to seeing her progress!

I want to give a HUGE thanks to Taraja for being so candid and sharing her hair journey with us!!!!!

What was your conversion/transition process like?

Peace and blessings!