Monday, December 19, 2011

Courtney's Natural Journey

Hello Root of the Natural subscribers!  Today I would like to introduce to you my little sister Courtney K.   Courtney just got her Big Chop done on Friday, December 16th and has graciously agreed to share with us her experience.  Thanks Courtney for joining us!

ROTN:  So Courtney, what made you decide to stop perming your hair and begin your transition?

Courtney:  Mostly, I hated the smell of relaxers…  HATED it!  I felt like I smelled like rotten eggs for days afterwards!  Also, my hair looked so flat and lifeless for the first few weeks after a relaxer.  I also started to hate the idea of putting so many chemicals in my hair.   I knew it wasn’t healthy, because I had so many broken hairs around the edges.  Relaxing my hair just didn’t feel right to me anymore. 

ROTN:  How long did you transition and why did you decide to go to the next level and do your Big Chop (BC)?

Courtney:   I transitioned for about a year.  While the relaxer was growing out, I would get my hair blow dried and flat ironed and I knew that I wasn’t doing myself any favors with all that heat.  My hair would be straight for a couple of days, but by the end of the week the two different textures would come through and I looked ridiculous.  I didn’t want to keep dishing out my money to get it done when the style wouldn’t even last through the week. Cutting the relaxed ends off seemed like the best decision for me.

ROTN:  What did you do to prepare for your BC?

Courtney:  I did a lot of research and used my big sis as a sounding board.  I would spend hours on YouTube and hair blogs learning about products and asking questions.  I wanted to make sure that I had a good variety of products beforehand so I wasn’t scrambling after my cut.   I made sure I had a shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, styling gels, wide-tooth comb, boar bristle brush, pomade, oils, moisturizers, plenty of plastic and satin caps, and of course headbands.  

ROTN:  How did you feel on the day of your BC?  What was going through your mind?

Courtney:  I was extremely excited and not scared at all.  I was so ready…I just wanted to get it over with.  I had all my products lined up for weeks and I  wanted to start using them!  Although my hair had never been cut above chin length, I wasn’t worried about having short hair.  If I didn’t like it, I knew it would grow back eventually.  

ROTN:  What were your thoughts after seeing your BC? How did you feel?

Courtney:  I fell in love!  I was no longer hiding behind my hair.  It think it really brought out my facial features and made me look more mature…I felt fancy! Ha-ha!  It literally felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because my head has never felt so light.  I love being able to see my natural curls...this is the real me. 

ROTN:  What were the reactions of your family and friends?  How did their reactions make you feel?

Courtney:  Half of my family loved it, and the other half hated it.  I think those that hated it were so used to seeing my hair straight.  They didn’t even like it when I would cut my relaxed hair.  Long and straight is their ideal.   It’s a big change, and it’s a lot for some people to get used to. (That’s their problem though). 

ROTN: What advice would you like to share with someone who is transitioning and thinking about doing a BC?

Courtney:  Take your time and educate yourself on hair.  If you can, talk to someone who’s done it before.   I think being able to talk to Rachel about it made things much easier for me.  Also, there's a ton of information available online.  I would say, take all of the advice with a grain of salt.  No one’s hair is the same, and just because something did or didn’t work for one person, doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results.   Most importantly be honest with yourself and love yourself.   You’ll get a lot of opinions, but the only one that matters is your own. 

ROTN:  Thus far, what is your favorite product?  What products are on your radar?

Courtney:  I’ve been sticking with a wash and go style, and I love Kinky Curly.  I can’t wait to try the wash and go using Bee Mine.  I’ve heard great things about it.

Courtney, I really want to say thanks for taking this time to share with the Root of the Natural audience your Big Chop experience.   Your hair is beautiful and I’m glad you decided to begin your natural hair journey.  You know I’ll be following you on your journey and will continue to document your milestones.  

       2 weeks before BC                                Courtney's hair 12/19/11

As always…Thanks for reading my blog and please subscribe :)

Peace & Blessings


Monday, December 12, 2011

My Winter Hair Regimen?

Wow...I was supposed to write this post last week.  My little Sis asked me, "What is your winter hair regimen?"  I had to ask myself.... What IS my winter regimen?  Do I REALLY have one?  That question is still up in the air.  Since my BC in September, I can't say that I've made any significant changes to my hair care regimen.  I believe the way I take care of my hair now is good enough for the winter months.  Even with relaxed hair I never switched my routine to coincide with the change of the seasons.  As far as cleansing and conditioning are concerned I shampoo, condition, and deep condition my hair once a week on Sundays.  Deep conditioning weekly is a new thing that I didn't do with relaxed hair. I usually apply my deep conditioner, put on a plastic conditioning cap, and sit under my bonnet dryer for 30mins.  Deep conditioning is very beneficial in moisturizing and strengthening your hair IF DONE CORRECTLY. After reading a recent FAQ in a newsletter I may not be deep conditioning my hair correctly.  Below is the question and answer which leads me to this conclusion.  To read the FAQ in its entirety, click on the title link following this excerpt. 

I like sitting under the dryer. Is there any harm?

Yes, sitting under a bonnet dryer for long periods of time with conditioner in your hair can cause harm. The instructions on your conditioner tell you the safest way to use the product. Studies show that preservatives and other chemicals in cosmetic products can cause eczema and a type of alopecia called telogen effluvium.

We’re used to thinking of eczema as a skin condition that runs in families, but frequent exposure to cosmetic chemicals can cause a type of eczema called “acute contact dermatitis”. Symptoms of acute contact dermatitis include itching, bumps, tenderness, and dry patches. Studies show that acute contact dermatitis on the scalp leads to a form of short-term alopecia called telogen effluvium. The condition causes excess hair shedding for up to 6 months.

When you leave a conditioner on longer than the recommend time you may be increasing your exposure to cosmetic chemicals that have been linked to eczema, alopecia, and more serious health problems like cancer. Adding heat increases your exposure even more. 

FAQs- Deep Conditioning and Natural Hair Posted by CURLYNIKKI

OK... I sit under a bonnet dryer even though my deep conditioner does not require the use of heat. I've also sat under the drying longer than the specified conditioning time. Could this be the reason I'm battling a small dry, flaky patch in the front of my hair? I will follow the directions as written on my deep conditioner from now on and see if there are any changes. This may or may not be the sole culprit. Another reason I believe I could be having this dry, flaking issue is because I don't oil my scalp like I use to when my hair was relaxed. I use to oil my scalp once a week and I didn't have any issues with flakes. So, right now I've begun to apply more oil to the sections of my scalp that tend to itch and flake. I will monitor the condition of my scalp with these changes.

After washing and conditioning my hair I apply oil as a sealant. Right now my go-to oil is coconut oil. I like coconut oil because it is light on my hair and it doesn't leave my hair feeling greasy like olive oil tends to do. Don't get me wrong, I love and use olive oil as well. I read an article not too long ago on the benefits and the differences of natural oils we use on our hair. After reading through the oils listed, coconut oil remains my favorite. You can read this article by clicking on the title link below. 

Natural Oils in Hair Products

by Tonya Mckay via

The second half of my "winter regimen" would be my protective style. Right now I'm still in the TWA stage of my hair growth so I don't have many options of protective styling that would hide my ends. The style that I've been doing which I consider protective is finger coils. I love finger coils because they are so easy to create and require minimal manipulation. You can see a picture of my finger coils in my previous blog. At the end of the week I separate and fluff my coils using my fingers to create what I call a coil-out. LOL... this is my take on a twist out or braid out. 

So, there you have it. This is how I am maintaining my curls through the winter months.  Now, will my regimen change when the weather gets warmer...I don't know.   That's a question I look forward to answering in the future.   

Thanks for reading my blog and please subscribe :)
Peace & Blessings...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

If We Knew Then....

Did the hair industry maximize on our past ignorance about the beauties of our natural hair? This was a topic of conversation that my mom and I had which ultimately boiled down to if we knew then what we know now.

Through the years my mom has rocked all the mainstream hairstyles that were hot at the time.  Growing up she would get a press and curl. Then in the 70s she had a fro.  Going into the 80s it was the jheri curl. From the early 90s until November 2010 she permed her hair.  Finally in October 2011 my mom did her Big Chop and is now wearing her natural curls.  My mom loves her hair!  She loves the simplicity and the versatility of creating awesome curls in her hair.  She feels that if we knew back then how easy it was for our hair to curl, and about the "simple" products (water, gel, etc.) we use today to enhance and maintain these curls, then black women and men may not have subjected themselves to chemical processes like jheri curls and perms. 

I think that over the generations we've let society dictate what was beautiful for our hair and we moved to the beat of their drum. We haven't heard natural is beautiful in a mainstream way since the 70s and if you were born after that time you may have never heard it.  For a lot of ladies wearing your natural hair wasn't an option. Having manageable and straight hair was ingrained into our heads.  I got my first perm between the ages 8 and 10, so before I did my BC in September, I couldn't remember how my natural hair looked.  That's almost sad when I think about it.  This is what my mom decided for my hair and I had no choice at that age. This was a decision based on society's concept of beauty. 

We, meaning people with ethnic hair, were always looking for the quick/permanent "fix" to our nappy hair.  We were never really encouraged to take care of our hair because it wasn't considered "good hair."  It was looked upon as more of a burden.  In my opinion, because we were not taught to appreciate our natural hair we succumbed to chemical processes, and the hair industry (which is not dominated by African-American owned businesses) profited from our lack of knowledge.  Taking care of your natural hair can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.  As I stated in my previous blog, our hair is very versatile.  In my opinion it is more versatile than chemically processed hair.  We can wear it curly, braided, straight, blown out, twisted, pinned up....whatever we feel. Now there are more products available that are better for your hair (organic and non-organic).

Today, we are more accepting of ourselves and doing what we want and what's best for us. If people want to chemically process their hair that is fine.  If they want to wear their natural hair, that is fine too.  I am happy that we can make more informed decisions about our hair.  We can teach the generations after us about their hair and let them have more choices as well.  So....If we knew then what we know now (my mom and I) we may have never chemically processed our hair.

As always, thanks for reading my blog and please subscribe :)