Tell us about yourself:
Hi! My name is Tia and I currently live in Texas. I transitioned for 18 months and my last relaxer was January 11, 2010. I have been natural since July 24, 2011.
About Your Hair
Natural Hair Type: 4A, 4B
How long have you been natural? And why?
I initially began my hair journey wanting to learn more about growing long and healthy relaxed hair after my relaxed hair started breaking. While I was looking up how to take care of my hair, I learned more about natural hair and the great experiences others had with their natural hair. I saw the range of hairstyles that I could do with natural hair and its versatility, as well as how healthy and thick natural hair can be. After reading lots of information on youtube, forums and blogs about natural hair, I was convinced that that was what I wanted to do.
I decided to be long term transitioner after seeing how other ladies on youtube and forums were able to successfully transition and have a considerable amount of hair on their heads. My last relaxer was January 11, 2010 and I ended up transitioning for 18 months and. The last couple of months of my transition I was actually studying abroad in Spain, so that was definitely a challenging experience trying to manage the two textures abroad. About three months after I returned to America I cut the remainder of my relaxed ends off on July 24, 2011.
Describe you hair.
My hair is a mixture of type 4a and 4b and I would say I have relatively thick hair. My hair is coarser at the crown and fine and in the front and at the nape. My hair is really dense and I would say I have a mixture of fine and coarse strands.
What is your hair goal?
I would like my braid outs to be bra strap length, which would be about hip length when my hair is completely straight.
Favorite Hair Styles:
Flat twist and curl
What is your current hair regimen?
Washing: I wash my hair in six sections every two weeks with Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo or Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream. I like to focus the shampoo on my scalp and wash the rest of my hair with the suds. Then I deep condition with Jessicurl deep conditioning treatment/Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin seed conditioner for two hours or overnight. About once a month I deep condition my hair with a protein like greek yogurt mixed with a cheapie conditioner or Aubrey Organics GBP. After deep conditioning, I then apply my leave-in conditioner which is Darcy Botanicals Curl Smoothing Cream or Giovanni Direct Leave-in. I then seal with shea butter.
Styling: My hair does not normally dry within one day or night after washing it so I either let my hair air dry for a couple of hours then style or I will put my hair in a simple and quick protective style for a couple of days and then take it down. I normally do a protective style with two flat twists in the front and two braids in the back and pin up the ends. I take this style down a couple of days later and it creates a braid out look when I take it down.
About one week after I wash my hair I will moisturize and style my hair in a stretched style like a braid out. I spray my hair with water, add a moisturizer , seal in the moisture with shea butter, and put my hair in about 9 braids. I leave the braids in overnight and take them down the next morning. I like to do braid outs instead of twist outs because it stretches my hair more.
How do you maintain your hair at night?:
I place a silk scarf on my edges followed by a silk hair bonnet to cover the ends of my hair. I sometimes will add a moisturizer to my hair like the Darcy Botanicals Curl Smoothing Cream if my hair is feeling dry.
How do you maintain healthy length?:
Moisture, low manipulation, and keeping my hair stretched are keys to maintaining my healthy length. Deep conditioning regularly and sealing with shea butter after moisturizing have really kept my hair moisturized and soft. I only style my hair once a week, which has really helped with retaining length and I always keep my hair stretched in different styles like a braid out, flat twist and curl or a bantu knot out.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural?
Initially, some of my friends and family were against it, because they didn’t really understand natural hair, I believe. After I was completely natural and showed them the versatility and beauty of natural hair, many of them had a change of heart. I think one of the best ways to help people understand the benefits of natural hair is to show them. I took the time to learn about natural hair through blogs, forums and youtube and that showed in how I took care of my hair.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey?
Length retention has been the most memorable part of my journey. I was never able to reach this length when I was relaxed.
Hair Crush / Inspiration: Naptural85 and nikkimae2003
Any inspirational words for the readers?
Patience is key and not everyone’s natural hair is the same as others. It will take a lot of patience to figure out which styles, products and routines will work for your hair. It definitely isn’t an easy path, but I think the return is well worth the effort.