I honestly got very giddy when I received an e-mail from Nicola saying that she would love to share her hair journey with LYT. Even more exciting had to be the fact that she is a fellow transitioner who has been transitioning since October 2011! For those of you who haven't come across Nicola, she is the founder of every girls dream website; BelleNoirBride!
I won't yap on anymore, instead I'll let Nicola introduce herself...
I started my transitioning journey in October 2011, so I am 6 months in. The way it happened was completely unlike me, I am usually a real planner but with this I literally woke up one morning and decided not to relax my hair anymore. I then spent the day watching YouTube videos and that was it, I was inspired, and my natural hair journey began. I find it so funny that I didn't know that my last relaxer would be just that.
I am a long term transitioner and I am really excited to see what my natural hair looks like, I can't guarantee I won't go back to relaxer one day, but for now natural hair is right for me.
My hair is shoulder length and I have type 4 hair. The hair on the back of my head is a lot shorter and has suffered from a lot of breakage which I hope improves now it's not being relaxed, it is definitely more 4c however the rest of my hair is 4b.
- Haircare Regime -
Week 1 - I go to my hairdresser where I have a wash and steam treatment, I then go under the hooded dryer and as I am trying to minimise heat I opt out of the blow dry and hair straighteners.
Week 2 - I pre-poo with coconut oil for about an hour with a plastic cap and towel to create some heat. I then co-wash with Herbal Essences conditioner in 2 sections, detangle with the conditioner in and put it into 4 twists and rinse it out. I then apply Roots Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise with some more coconut oil for about 20 minutes to deep condition. Once the conditioner is washed out I then pin my hair up and wrap it in a microfiber towel and leave it to dry for about 45 minutes.
I use a mixture of At One leave in conditioner, shea butter and olive oil to moisturise my hair when it is damp. I then stretch my hair by tying it into 4 sections with hair bands at the top and the bottom to keep the relaxed ends together and leave it to air-dry.
Week 3 - I do the above but use the Olive Oil shampoo following the pre-poo.
Week 4 - I am back at the hair dressers. Before I go to bed I flat twist my hair in 4 or 5 big twists and depending on what my hair needs I will use At One leave in conditioner, almond oil or shea butter. I also get a trim every 6-8 weeks. I trust my hairdresser so it's not really an issue for me to let someone else do it.
My lessons learned would be to experiment lots and find what works for you. My hair loves natural oils especially olive, almond and castor oil so I incorporate them into my regime. Also think about what is going into your body as much as what you are putting onto your hair. I am a big fan of smoothies where I can pack in lots of nutrients and I also try to have a healthy diet in general. When I don't eat well it definitely shows in my hair, skin and nails.
My biggest challenge has been styling my transitioning hair. It is okay when it is straight but I struggle when it is curly and I am yet to perfect my twist out. Now that I am 6 months in the 2 textures are becoming more apparent which is challenging. On the days when my resolve is waning I turn to YouTube to keep me motivated on the end goal.
Sometimes I also feel overwhelmed by all the different products. I tend not to use a product long enough; if it doesn't work in the first 2-3 uses it goes straight to the back of the cupboard which is so wrong. I attended the Gidores Multi-Textures event last month and one thing that Felicia Leatherwood said that really stood out to me was that you need to give products time to work (at least 30 days)!
The 3 products I would take if stranded on a desert island are...shea butter, olive oil and At One leave in conditioner - although that will probably change next month when I purchase some new products.
Fiona & Nicola ❥