Can It Be That It Was All So Simple Then

Like many divas of color, I have spent a lifetime in pursuit of the elusive long and healthy hair. A lifetime of bad haircare practices and misinformation made it seem like such an impossibility. I'd had numerous hair stylists insist that the trims they were upcharging me for would make my hair grow or try to convince me that my hair wouldn't grow beyond a certain length.

Then a pivotal moment came in the life of my hair when I changed hair stylists to one that I would only visit every eight weeks for a touch up. She was laid back, did only what I asked, and did not force a trim upon me every time I saw her. Instead I occasionally let her give my hair some long layers and I began to see my hair grow. While the new length was nice, I noticed that it was still flat and not as full as I would have liked.

Enter my current stylist stage right.... let's call her the Brooklyn Diva. While I sing her praises now, initially I thought I would strangle her because she refused to give me a relaxer when I thought I needed one. She taught me that I had been grossly misinformed about my hair and that every eight weeks was entirely to frequent for touch ups. Once I stopped resisting my Brooklyn Diva stylist, my hair grew in fuller and more beautiful than I had seen in years. While this was a wonderful discovery, it made me foolish enough to think I could cut my hair and grow it back. So in October of 2008 I cut my hair in a short bob (trying to be the black Victoria Beckham..... um, not quite). It was cute, but I missed my hair.

As my hair continued to grow back, the maintenance in between touch ups was murder on my patience and on my hair. I incurred damage from all the flat ironing and the regular Dominican blow-outs, and my hair wasn't growing out as quickly as I would have liked. My Brooklyn Diva stylist suggested I consider transitioning out of relaxers altogether. She was all natural (with hair past her shoulders) and maintained that she did nothing different to her own hair from how she styled my relaxed hair. So I took the plunge and kissed my last relaxer goodbye in September of 2009.

Initially my transition was going smoothly. I would deep condition regularly which helped my hair to straighten effortlessly when I flat ironed. Then two things happened- the summer humidity moved in and my heat damage seemed to become more severe. I watched my pony tail slowly shrink down to a pathetic imitation, and by the end I looked a horrible mess every time I pulled my hair back.

Looking back I realize that I should have followed the advice I found online to treat all of my hair as natural. That means not straightening out the new growth to match my relaxed ends. I also wish I had found the plethora of information available online and on YouTube much earlier than I did. I found a wonderful "curly pony" hairstyle that I wore for the last month or so before I bc'd. Had I done so earlier, I may have transitioned longer and minimized some of the damage. Oh well, you live and learn.

Although I miss my hair every day, I must say I love the fact that I look way more interesting with my new natural do. I look forward to learning how to properly care for my hair and watching it transform. I never imagined that I would ever rock my natural hair texture. After all I hadn't seen my natural hair since I was 14 years old! But today I rock rough & tough with my afro puff........ and I'm still divafied.