#1 where do you reside (City, Country)? Working or Student? (brief description)
(also: Are you originally from Ottawa, Canada? If applicable)
I reside in Ottawa, Ontario-Canada. I am originally from Ottawa-although spent some of my youth
living in Haiti and Brooklyn, New York.
I work full-time in a professional environment; suits, ties, pencil skirts and all.
#2 why did you choose to return (transition) to your natural hair?
I chose to return to my natural hair for 2 main reasons.
Financially I could no longer afford the salon prices in this city. When my hair was chemically treated, for
quality, I would go to someone who I knew would be the best in Ottawa-but
paying $55-$60 just for a wash and press was getting to be tight, ESPECIALLY
since I was accustomed to my $10-$20 wash-n-set in BK (or the $35 MAX touch-up for perm).
Psychologically my hair was also taking a toll on me because it got to a point of just not growing (or
rather-just breaking). This really affected me when I would hear my close
family and husband say “I remember when you USED to have hair…” It was
frustrating b/c I knew my hair could grow but what I had to realize was the
treatment I was giving my hair would NEVER allow my hair to grow past a certain
length. Bluntly put-I wanted my hair to be long again-I wanted to prove it to myself.
How long has it been since you’ve returned?
I had my last touch-up at the end of November 2009-for the sake of putting a date I’ve chosen to mark
my anniversary of no more touch-ups (perm) as December 1st, 2009. As of Sept
29th, 2010-I chopped off all traces of permed hair. Therefore I am proud to
announce that I am perm-free for 1 year this past Sept 29th, 2011.
#3 how did you return (transition) back to your natural hair?
After my last touch-up in Nov 2009, I went to visit my stylist for advice. My only question was how do
I grow out my hair. She schooled me on a French (or French sounding) hair care
line at Sephora ($$). Once I researched this line-I noticed in the ingredients
were essential oils with name of items I can find in my kitchen or at a health
food store. I did more research online, found my go-to websites for natural
hair (Curlynikki.com and bglhonline.com) and off I went. I actually came across
bglh when I tried to google black girls with long natural hair. I put in some
kinky twists using Marley braids for about 2 months-then I cut some of my
permed ends in the back just to see what I was working with. For the next 3-4
months I tried to “play” with my hair by doing some twist-outs,
bantu-knot-outs, buns and ponytails. This “play” time frustrated me
b/c of the 2 textures I was trying to handle. I read some more stories from
ladies who bc’d (big chopped) right away and decided that if I am gonna put
more extensions it won’t matter how short my hair is. So in the summer of 2010
I cut off some more hair then added braided extensions. Sept 2010 came around
and it was time-I was too tired of trying to hold on to a portion of hair I did
not want anyway. Sept 29th-got out of the shower, saw some skraggly hairs
sticking straight up and cut them off with no turning back. I started cutting
in the front so I had to continue. My transition was less than 1 year.
Has it affected you in any way?
It has affected me profoundly. I went through something within me that forced me to accept me
(#@$#@ I know). I am in full acceptance of me. I know what I look like as it
were meant to be. I am aware that I can alter my appearance, and I often do.
What I am altering is only superficial and within a moments desire I can wipe
away all that is superficial and just be. I am more confident b/c I am working
with something genuine-me. I am more tolerable of ignorant comments. Knowing
who I am and accepting allows me to see my downs and ups, my good and
not-so-great-and accept it. Realizing my humaness forces me not to judge others
for being themselves. I’ve always admired that girl/guy on the dance floor
taking too many steps per beat. Although she may not have rhythm-she has
confidence-and that is something admirable. It’s an amazing thing when you are you-always.
What have you learned?
I’ve learned a lot regarding media and marketing, self-esteem and acceptance and of course my
hair. I’ve noticed how difficult it may be for those of African descent to
“see themselves” in our North American society. I’ve learned that my
hair is an amazing creation that I was not accepting. My sense of my image has
changed. I can no longer picture myself with flat hair ever-I see what I am supposed
to look like and I love it. I’ve learned that my hair can do
anything-literally. It can be bone straight, it can posses springy curls, it
can appear short in the am, but be long and voluminous in the pm. My hair can
do anything and look like anything in a matter of 1-2 hours-I don’t think I would
give this up for 1 look.
#4 Describe your hair?
My hair is coarse but has softer textures at the very front of my head. As far as hair typing it
would fall under 4b/4c. My hair is not as thick as I used to think. My strands
are fine-but I have A LOT of strands.
#5 Do you have a regimen? If so, please share?
Every time I try to come up with a structured regimen-it never gets past the planning phase. So I do not
have a regimen-but I do follow some basics. Co-Wash every 1-2 weeks. Wash once a
month with sulfate-free shampoo. If my hair feels “heavy” b/c of
product build-up I’ll shampoo my hair when needed (since I use a sulfate-free
shampoo.). I try to deep condition every other week-but if I can’t, I try to
leave the conditioner in for about 10 minutes (and detangle). I do not go more
than 1 month without a good 1-2 hour deep conditioning treatment (with
detangle). I use leave-in conditioner mainly on my ends then I use home-made
whipped Shea butter on my ends. I make 6-8 big braids (I am usually staying
home at this time) once air dried about 70-80% I then style the way I would
like it adding more Shea butter. I prefer braiding over twisting for drying/stretching
my hair. I usually wear braid-outs or puffs during the week-at times some up-dos.
#6 What is the best thing about being your original self (“mane” ly speaking)
I feel so free to just be (corny right?). I don’t worry about the hairstyle b/c it is not going to
look the same all the time anyways. Most days I see what my hair does and
accept it. If I can’t accept it, it’s easy to tuck away in a puff. I stand out
with no effort at all. I am given compliments like whoa! My hair has grown so
much better and in less time than when I chemically treated my hair. It feels
good just being. I read a quote (on Sandrarose.com) from actress Tracee
Ellis Ross (who will cover the October issue of JET magazine) and it makes
perfect sense “You gotta respect the curls, I work for them. I can’t tell them what to do.”
#7 Any advice for those thinking about transitioning back?
DO IT! That’s it, just do it. If you don’t like it a perm is only 15-20 minutes away! Don’t worry
about comments from others-there are bigger things to deal with in the world
and if you accepting you is a challenge for them to understand-recognize it and
let them be. Also know if you see an image of hair that you like or desire-your
natural hair can achieve it!
I loved the look of the video models with chocolate skin and long wavy hair. As I got older I realized
they may have weaves or extensions. Since starting my natural journey I
realized that as my hair got longer with time-all I would have to do to achieve
this look was blow-out my hair (possibly flat iron), add some Shea butter and Aloe
Vera gel (ECO-styler gel for stronger hold) and twist my hair into medium sized
twists, sleep on it, take them out when I am heading out…..and BAM! Long wavy hair.
#8 where can we find you? (Any blogs or websites)
You can find me here…….or on Facebook (ManeAttention.com)…….maybe on twitter soon