Journey to Au Naturale
Your sister. Your best friend. No, maybe it’s your aunt or cousin. Your Soror and your co-worker. Then again it could be YOU. Chances are someone in your circle of friends and relatives have embarked on their Journey to au naturale. About 10 years ago, you rarely saw a black woman wearing her hair in its natural state, free of any chemical straightening. However, today Black women in particular, are saying no to the creamy crack (relaxer) and yes to embracing their natural curly, kinky hair texture. So how exactly does one embark on such a journey? Well I’m glad you asked.
Transitioning What is it? – Transitioning is pretty much sidestepping your relaxer touch-ups and gradually letting your hair grow out. You do not have to cut off all your hair to be natural you can transition gradually.
Must Have to Make It Successful – Patience. Transitioning in particular requires alot of patience as you will be dealing with your relaxed and the natural texture. While transitioning, rocking hairstyles that work with your natural texture is best. Avoid hairstyles that will require that you straighten your hair with a flat or curling iron. It is important that you avoid using heating styling tools as they could cause heat damage and alter your natural texture. Embrace hairstyles like braids, two -strand twists, weaves, straw sets, roller sets and twist-outs. These are styling options that both blend the two textures together seamlessly and acts as a protection. Transitioners should also treat their tresses with TLC using weekly deep treatments, frequent trims and moisturize with oils “(jojoba, castor oil, extra virgin olive oil). The line of demarcation where the relaxed hair and natural hair meet is very fragile, so be extra careful when handling your mane. Also, brace yourself for shedding and more split ends than normal. This is totally normal and getting trims at least once a month will help. Many women have (grown out) transitioned their hair to avoid having a drastic reduction in their hair length.
- Transitioning Time – I transitioned for 5 months before I did the Big Chop. My favorite weekend style was Bantu Knots. Just before work on Monday morning, I would undo the knots for a curly/wavy look.
What is it? – The Big Chop (BC) is exactly what it means. It’s cutting off the relaxed or permed hair, leaving only the new growth or natural texture.
Must Haves to Make It Successful - Patience. Yes patience is a virtue that is needed for transitoners just as much as it is needed for the BC ladies. You will need patience as your hair grows out to the length of your dreams while enjoying every stage of the journey. Also be sure that you not only want to cut your hair off but be prepared for the drastic cut and dealing with those that may not be supportive of your new do. Almost immediately after your Big Chop you will notice that your hair is extremely dry. Don’t freak out! This is normal and it’s only your natural hair letting you know it’s thirsty. Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize! I recommend weekly deep treatments to replenish your moisture, co-washing (conditioner washing only) ever other day and using a leave-in conditioner.
Now the fun begins! Depending on your length, you can try out different natural styles like coils, twists and natural hair products.
When I embarked on my natural journey on September 25, 2011 I opted to do the Big Chop because it truly reflected where I was in my life at that time. I was excited that my hairdo would be reflecting how I truly felt inside. However, it’s your journey so choose the route that is best for you and your lifestyle. Just as no two women have the same hair texture, your journey will be as unique as you are. Embrace and enjoy!
Join Curly Kinky & Confident, my Facebook group to swap hair tips & tricks and share your hair journey.
Sasheika Tomlinson is a Contributing writer for Miami Now Tv’s hair feature, “Mane Tales”.
Co-host Vanessa James gets the latest in semi permanent eyelash extensions with London Lashes!
Shoe Snaps: Flat Out of Heels
Aching feet after a fun night out or are those high-end red bottoms making you curse the day you bought them? Well thanks to Flat Out of Heels, you can easily slip into stylish and comfy ballet flats to give your feet some rest! Find out more in our segment above!
Mane Tales: Michelle Madison Hair Must Haves
I’m the queen of diy divas and my hair, to an extent, is no exception! I’ve been a box blonde for about 9 years and stopped perming my hair for about 8 years. As women, but especially black women we do so much to our crown of curls. My mom is a beautician and being the only girl, I’ve done everything to my hair but dreads! No surprise that my “signature” look was a suggestion from dear mom. Over the years I’ve been asked how I keep my hair shiny, soft, and healthy with coloring and what color I’m using. After a salon trip left more of my hair on the floor than on my head the idea for “Mane Tales” was born! In this blog, I’m sharing my at home hair ritual.
Brazilian Keratin Treatment
I personally swear by Soft-Liss Brazilian Keratin Treatment! I researched it for two year before trying it and became a believer instantly. My hair was natural for about 5-6 years when I tried the BKT and it was a fab alternative to a perm. It’s available in four kits: strawberry, chocolate, marine algae, and light. Chocolate is supposed to be better for black women so that’s what I’ve used. Keratin is a very strong protein which is a major component in skin, hair, nails, and teeth. The keratin is sealed into your hair with a flat iron, leaving it soft, straight, and healthy! With the humidity and rainy days of south Florida, I didn’t fret because the BKT kept my hair straight. What I also liked was that I can go back natural at any time with the help of products containing sodium (salt) or a dip at the beach. It’s imperative to use a formaldehyde-FREE brand and more research is coming out on the treatment. Though many don’t rav about the health benefit of products coming from some countries, more recognized brands such as Suave have their version of the technique. Drawback those are that they only last anywhere from a few days to a month and you usually can’t have a color in your hair but its more budget friendly with no fumes. BKT in a salon are costly and have a harsh fume. Again, be sure to research products and salons. I highly suggest having a professional for this service. This isn’t for everyone, but if straight is what you want there is going to be some kind of give and take.
When it comes to coloring your hair, I highly suggest going to a professional as they are trained to handle chemicals and can determine if your hair is healthy enough to be lightened to start with. Please note that there’s a difference between a color and rinse. Coloring usually requires lifting (lightening) of your hair whereas a rinse is usually a darker color over your lighter hair. For me, I chose at home coloring when the economy fried my wallet. Dark and Lovely is my choice for diy coloring because of the natural looking hues and more importantly, conditioning. The Fade-Resistant Rich Conditioning Color with Moisture Seal Technology line always has my hair so soft that I can run my fingers through it easily. Looking at the pictures, you don’t notice a difference in color but there is! When I want a vibrant color, I opt for Honey Blonde. If you believe in darkening your pallet when the leaves start falling, then Golden Bronze is just the trick. It’s radiant enough to make a statement while being more toned down. I mix these shades to give me highlights and lowlights which keeps the color looking natural.
Does the carpet match the drapes? Well at least the rods should…I’m talking about eyebrows ladies! I can’t be a box blonde with black stallion eyebrows so I bleach them. Warning, all coloring kits advice against putting these chemicals near your eyes. I am in no way telling anyone to risk damaging their eyes for vanity. What I do is for me and I’m sharing my personal beauty regime. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog. I’ve only used Sally Hansen’s Crème Hair Bleach kit and love that it has a pre-conditioner. Since it’s supposed to be for the mustache area, there isn’t a bad fume and it tends to not burn. For under $5 bucks at Wal-Mart, it takes about 5 minutes every two weeks for the rods to match the drapes!
Weave, extensions, personality pieces…whatever you want to call it, just own it! When it comes to hair, it’s the one thing I can give the most advice on since I’ve been wearing them from I was like 5 (braids that is). This summer, I was supposed to completely stop wearing my follicle friends (unless I needed a little drama for pictures or an event) but that’s not going to happen thanks to ill advice from a local salon. Sorry, I don’t do store bought hair. They’re as much as getting hair custom blended and don’t last nearly as long. With a good shampoo and conditioner, I easily reuse my investment for over a year! My choice of application, clip-ins and I make them myself. Told you I’m a diy diva! I buy a pack of three clips for under $2.00 from Sally’s Beauty Supply. They come in three colors: black, nude, and metal (silver) so choose according to your hair color.
FLAT IRON: BELSON PRO
The flat iron with the mostest…. straight or curly, I can achieve either look with just one GOOD tool! I initially bought it from Sally’s for about $40 when I kept up with the Brazilian Keratin Treatment. Four years later and it’s still a good investment. The ceramic plates help to give a shine to my hair and heat temperatures adjust up to 450 degrees.
One of the most important things to me about myself is my hair. I’ve always longed for full, thick, voluminous and shiny hair– you know the kind you only see on actresses in Hollywood. The truth is that kind of voluminous hair mostly exists because of extensions.
I don’t personally care for extensions. They’re expensive. They’re high maintenance. And even though I’m somewhat high maintenance, I just can’t afford to keep up with extensions.
The first thing I did on my recovery road was: I stopped dying my hair. Crazy! I know. I used to be obsessed with changing the color of my hair, but as a result my hair was dry and brittle and even worse, it was difficult to manage.Quitting hair dye was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I get easily bored and changing the color of my hair was always a way of changing my look.The next thing I did was become more conscious about the hair products I put in my hair.
The following hair products are products I swear by:
- adds instant shine
- controls frizz
- makes hair easier to comb through
- Deep ConditioningTreatment - Apply the Moroccan argan oil intensive treatment over dry hair with a wide-toothed comb. Leave it on for up to an hour and use it as a deep conditioning mask. Once you’ve got the mask on, put a shower cap on, and wrap a hot, wet towel around the shower cap. The heat will help the mask penetrate hair even deeper, ensuring maximum conditioning.
- Condition Shampoo Condition Method - Apply Organix over DRY hair with a wide-toothed comb. Let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes than shampoo, condition, and rinse.
- Use as a Conditioner - Apply Organix to wet hair after shampooing. Allow to sit for 3 to 5 minutes then rinse and style.
The shampoo which is rather gentle cleanses without stripping hair’s natural oils. You will notice a difference in your hair after using it for the first time! And over time it’s gotten thicker and stronger.
This really is the secret to my hair.
After shampooing, I rinse and condition my hair. I try to leave the conditioner for a few minutes before I rinse it off to ensure that every strand is conditioned.
This conditioner prevents breakage and can also be used as a leave-in conditioner as well.
GTG’s Tips for Healthy Hair:
- Wash your hair every other day. Try to push for every two days if your hair isn’t too oily and you can go that long without shampooing.
- Make sure you condition hair after every wash.
- Try to not use too many styling products and styling tools because we know that both heat and chemicals are bad for the hair.
- Brush/comb your hair gently especially when it’s wet because that’s when hair is susceptible to breakage.
- Take Biotin or other vitamins that aid hair, skin and nails.