Hair Stories: Stephanie
First of all thank you so much for agreeing to share your journey with us. I always find it so refreshing to listen to naturalistas recount their personal journey. So here we go....
How long have you been natural/transitioning?
I have been natural for almost one whole year!
What/who influenced you to start this journey?
Honestly I was sick of feeling invisible. People would refer to me as my hair and it was as if I didn’t exist. First thing people would say to me was not “good morning,” or “How are you feeling,” but “ what did you do to your hair, “.”Oh My Gosh you cut it? Whyyy? And the infamous “I see that new growth coming in, you should mosey on over to those Dominicans and get that perm and wash and set (35-40$)!” I was really tired of hating my hair and myself for doing this to my hair. I wanted to get rid of the pressure from others to gain what they deemed “hang time” or “That good hair,” One day I saw Stacy Smith going through her transition and finally doing the BC and I was inspired. Her hair was beautiful not because it represented all the cute styles she could do with it, but that she was strong enough to break free from the norm and become an individual. I wanted to break free too. I wanted to feel beautiful!
Have you done a BC (big chop)?
Yes I big chopped April 30th 2011
How did people respond to you afterwards?
After I BC’d I remember walking into my house with two strand twist and my mother looking at me like I dyed my hair periwinkle. She wasn’t used to how short it was because she too thought long, straight, relaxed hair was what made you beautiful. But I kid you not, it took her one day to get over it. Once she saw how the two strand twist out could make natural hair even more beautiful, she wanted to be involved in my journey. I “almost” cried when she started helping me take the twist out. And I know it seems like a pretty small deal that she helped me take them out, but to me it represented acceptance and a new outlook on what beauty was.
What was your transitioning period like? What kinds of styles did you wear?
Oh goodness my transition period started out terribly. I honestly didn’t know what to do with my hair for the first couple of months. So I started out wearing the fake buns while having my hair braided and I will admit looking back at the pictures I have of that, I can admit those were my rough transition days. It wasn’t until I got a hold of the blogs and YouTube videos that I got better at rocking transition styles. So I purchased a phony puffy pony and wore that for a really long time. It was easier for me to use that because that is how I envisioned my natural hair in the future, so I didn’t realize I was wearing it for that long. While wearing it I would try flat twist styles and high buns, things like that. I had so much fun with it. My least favorite part was washing my transitioning hair. I absolutely dreaded seeing the stringy ends and new growth coexist like buddies. I had this itch every time I saw them together to end their friendship, but I knew that if I did I would 1) end up snipping myself all the way back to month zero of my transition and 2) hate myself for it afterwards.
LOL I know so many transitioning naturalistas who can attest to that very feeling. Tell us, what does your haircare regimen currently consist of?
So I wash my hair every week or so with the shea moisture line! and co wash and deep condition once a week with my two favorite conditioners that I alternate between: Suave Naturals and Shea moisture Restorative conditioner. I’ll apply my leave in conditioner and follow with shea butter. I usually put my hair in two strand twist and maintain a twist out for the week, while every night putting in big twists and a bonnet, then waking up and applying olive oil to my scalp and go!
That sounds simple enough!!! What have you learned about your hair so far on this journey?
I’ve learned that my hair is comprised of a variety of textures, which I was never aware of. I also learned that IT IS BEAUTIFUL!. The way it kinks, curls, twirls or shrinks is something that makes it unique and that is fine by me!
What do you love most about your hair?
I love that my hair surprises me everyday. A style that I may picture my hair looking like will ALWAYS be the opposite. It’s as if its extremely independent and will do what it wants and that usually brings effortless versatility for me. I can do the same style over and over and get extremely different results each time. Also contrary to what others may feel, shrinkage is also growing on me. I actually think it shapes my style and gives my hair a more round look *shrugs*
LOL I love the confidence you seem to have. What do you like the least about your hair?
My hair can be unruly at times, and there are days when it just won’t cooperate. I kind of don’t like the way it reacts when I try to slick it back with gel. It kind of just eats up all the gel and pops back up. It also has those “Sahara desert days” where it gets really dry and nothing I do can rejuvenate it. That’s when I know its time for a deep conditioner.
Have you faced any challenges with your hair?
I remember around the time when I BC’d I was expecting my hair to curl up with the styling products that I bought and it literally just made my hair look like a hunk of lifeless protein. So obviously I wasn’t such a happy girl scout! I learned that I had to be patient with my hair because it was not used to the products and that’s why it didn’t respond accordingly. So after 2 1/2 weeks of moisturizing, and co-washing, my curl pattern finally came in!
If you could use one word to describe your hair what would it be?
Independent? That’s a new one for me, care to explain?
it basically does what it wants. When I use gels it just pops back up...or when I mean for it to look a certain way in a twist out, it shocks me by looking another way. Maybe unpredictable is a better word…no nvm i like independent lol
LOL, what are 3 hair care products you can’t live without?
My shea moisture products! (they’re a system so technically they count as one haha) Shea Butter, and Eco-Styler Gel
What’s the best advice you could give aspiring naturalistas?
I would say make sure you are prepared to embark on the natural hair journey before you actually go through with it. It’s very much an enjoyable experience, but then again one that can have its obstacles. There are days where you will love your hair when it does what you command it to do and there are days where you won’t like it very much, but the good outweighs the bad. Make sure that you do what works for you, and not what works for someone else. The whole point of this journey is developing a uniqueness that sets you a part. Don’t be afraid to try new things whether it be products or even hairstyles. Your hair just may surprise you with what it can do! And last but not lease LOVE YOUR HAIR FOR WHAT IT IS. We all want the wet, shake and go hair, but the truth is we don’t all have that. But just know that whatever texture, size, or shape your hair may be, it’s just as beautiful!
Anything else we should know about you?
I’m going to use this question to add a fourth product that I love “Suave Naturals!!!
LOL thanks so much for sharing your story with us Stephanie!!!!