An Open Letter To...RePost

I received the below letter from one of my friends and loyal readers of my blog. I did not have the time to read it until now...

"I'm having a breakdown moment. It's the transitioning sista's worst
nightmare. I took out my weave and got curly hair happy when I saw all the
newfound curlz. So I picked up the scissors and got to work. I wanted to cut all
the perm out of my hair...and did cut most of it. Then, it hit me, I had
absolutely no idea what to do with my newfound type 4 curlz. I watched you tube
videos but there isn't anything for short hair. I have about 3-4 inches of
nappyness. My joy quickly dissipated to panic stricken mess. I washed and did
the organix/evoo thing but my hair was dry and had no immediately obvious style.
I was so intensely frustrated and was ready to lye that thing up. If weren't for
my husband, who insists that I continue the process, I would have. We had a full
out argument about why I needed to continue the process for reasons that had
nothing to do with hair.

I'm writing an open letter to the Natural honey's... how do ya'll do
it? It feels so complicated. I am not my hair, but my hair is my crown and no
matter how cute my dress is, if my hair isn't styled nicely, I look a HOT mess!
I clearly, without the shadow of a doubt, have type 4c hair. Is there a 4d?
Whatever the tightest coils are...I have it. And, I have a big head. That just
makes for a lot of really thick hair. My head was one matted mess this weekend.

I pressed it out, on Friday night. But what's the point of being
natural, if I'm going to straighten my hair at every opportunity. If I'm only
going to be curly occasionally, I can do that with a texturizer or a perm. I am
a wife, mother, student, photographer, daughter, sister, friend, professional
woman...I don't want to be slave to my hair, natural or not. I'm still natural,
for now but I need some suggestions. HELP!" -Pru

Awe! Where you are is a very common place for most natural beauties. I went through it also. Its feels like a breaking point but what it a test of your strength and commitment. I actually cried the first night that I BC because my realization of fabulous natural curls went out the window when I saw that little natural fro. It was a hot me.

The point that I am trying to make is that first you must embrace your texture. Throw out any preconceived thoughts of what your texture should/could look like. Don't concern yourself with hair types (I hate those). Your hair is simply....your hair. Secondly, you must find creative ways to play with your texture. For short hair, "flat" braid outs or twist outs works best. Experiment with good moisturizing products, like Kinky-Curly, Miss Jessie's Buttercreme, or Cantu. Most traditional relaxed hair products do not work on natural hair. Also, continue to condition-you will see the results after you do it a couple of times. More than anything, invest in a good dose of patience. It takes time, trial, and error to grow natural beautiful hair. Trust me, (and I've seen your hair) when it grows out-you will be the envy of the crowd because your hair is healthy and beautiful-just as you are.

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13 Responses:

Great advice- I agree, keep experimenting and trying new products and read your blogs! That's what we're here for ;-), I know when I first became 100% natural, I was using all of the WRONG products. It's been about 4 years now and I'm just NOW starting to understand it, embrace it and love it. My plan for this year is to stay away from the flat iron!

But for you- definitely try the twist outs, braid outs (keep in mind small twists/braids work better in kinky hair). Remember to always moisturize & condition! I wish you the best.

I was sooo there about 3 weeks ago. When I BC'd (after 18mos transitioning) my hair was flat ironed when I left the salon. For the following 4 or 5 days I was just itching to see what my "curls" were going to look like. I did the research and had my KCCC ready to go. After I couldn't take the suspense anymore, I co-washed... applied KCCC... and waited. Umm I sort of looked like I was trying to bring the jheri curl back on straight hair. I had a mini panic attack, then re-rinsed my hair and pulled it into a tiny ponytail. I put a Kangol hat on that bad boy and told myself to try again later. With all that said, there is definately a learning curve to natural hair. All the research in the world is not gonna change that. Just keep a hat or scarf near by and keep moving forward :)

Yes, absolutely try the twists outs. When I did the BC, my hair was about 3" and I kept it either cornrowed or flat-twisted at night. In the morning, I would take them down, use a wide toothed pick and lift at the roots a bit. For added flair, use scarves or headbands and push your hair back a little.

It sounds like your hair needs a great deal of moisture. Deep conditioning is in order. Also, and my hair very dry, I would douse my hair in olive or coconut oil, put on a shower cap and sit under the dryer for 30 minutes before washing hair to help it maintain moisture.

I wish you the best of luck. Continue experimenting with different products and styles to see what works for you.

Keep in mind, your hair is constantly growing, so this is only a phase. Use this time to work your hair at the length it is now. :-)

You can do it! For moisture, have you tried cowashing? When I first BCed, I cowashed regularly with Suave Tropical Coconut conditioner, then twisted my hair with a moisturizing product like Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream (my HG) or Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair butter and sealed the ends with coconut oil. In the morning I'd just take out the twists, fluff and go.

Since you have a problem with dryness, you should focus on moisturizing before you focus on style. Remember that oil is not moisture! Also, you should probably minimize heat until you have a handle on taking care of your hair, since it can also be drying. and fotki have both been really helpful to me in learning how to take care of and more importantly LOVE my hair (and no, I don't have 3 anything curls). There's also the cnapp forum, where I'm sure you'll find many women with similar hair. Find out what they use, what styles, etc. Good luck!

This entry was heaven sent. I BC'd for New Years because i was all, "I can rock a TWA"

I've Got 1 1/2 of hair thats great and curly until it sucks the moisture out of everything and becomes a brillo pad.

anywhooo Thanks!

Thanks UC and everyone. I'm still hanging in there and getting used to the "new" me. It's a shocker. I transitioned by telling myself that I wouldn't perm until December. I started the transition in April. Then in December I had my BC breakdown. Well I'm still in natural and I've pledged to stick with it for another year. I figure that by then, I would have mastered the curly thing and won't go back. I'm getting used to it and really loving it more and more as time goes on.

Thanks for all the encouragement.
Krys: From one sista to another....who is new to this natural thing....stick with it. Give yourself a timeline and give it your best shot. I'm liking it more and more each day....and my husband think's I'm sexier natural ;) ... that helps.

Hang in there my sista, we've all been there. Great advice UC. Just take this time experiment with different products but most importantly take this time to embrace your inner beauty. Before you know it when you look in the mirror BEAUTIFUL NAPPS is all you will see.

this is an AMAZING post. being someone that was always fried dyed laid to the side and braided and weaved til no end, i finally went natural in september. i chopped it off and just looked like ::gasp::

dont rely on people's product reviews. know what works best for you. i went out and bought EVERYTHING and it all didnt do anything for me. I just do a deep condition with a warm olive oil/conditioner mix, do twist outs, and use cantu shea butter in the morning. trust, you dont need all that other stuff...

my hair is maybe 2 or 3 inches long, so i'm right wit cha! no matter what your hair looks like, as long as you are confident you will be beaming!!

I'd love to see a picture of this sisters hair. For me, I went to a barber and got my hair cut, got a nice edge up, eyebrows done, and went to the stores and bought some staples. Hoop earrings, headbands, jeweled bobby pins, scarves and a wig (a wavy one). These are the things that got me through! Once my hair was long enough to grip and braid, I went and got it braided (micros, two-strands, cornrows), and kept it braided for a period of about 4-6 months. After that, I was ready for a change, but my hair was then long enough (ear length) to do twist outs on my own (for about another 3 months). Now, my hair is shoulder length, and I can't do anything with it :-) style-wise, however, I get tons of complements on how pretty and healthy and thick (blessing and curse) my hair is.

I can honestly say the minute I start experimenting with new and synthetic products, my hair seems to be the worst! So I stick to basic products: Palmers coconut shampoo or dax vegetable oil shampoo, cholesterol conditioner, and LIV hair cream (in moderaton, for twisting). I use vitamin e or sweet almond oil or almond oil for a daily dressing.

Bottom line, you have to both ignore and embrace your hair. Natural hair does what IT wants to do. Once you accept that, and ignore that (smile), you feel more content with what you have going on up there.

Good luck with your hair journey!

PS - Fotki, Nappturality, and LHCF are great resource and support sites!

I am so "full" that you all are so tremendously supportive. I will get with UC about the pictures. Maybe we can chronicle my change :)

Pru... first let me say... I saw you yesterday and your hair was GORGEOUS!!!!! Like UC said, when it fully grows out, it gonna be spectacular! I didn't get a chance to read all the responses, so I may be repeating, but this whole things is trial and error. Moisture is definitley your best friend and I realize that everytime I visit my stylist for a clip, because she shampoos me (I hardly shampoo.. I do mostly ACV and co-wash) and completely strips my hair of all moisture, so I have to work at putting the moisture back in. During those first few days, my hair is a hot mess... but that's ok, because I see her every 5 - 6 months and I can afford a few days of ugly hair. There will be days when the hair just won't cooperate, and I have had a bunch of those days, but like you said, "I am not my hair"... dont' let it affect your mood and the beautiful person that you are. Just know that tomorrow will be yet a better day and you're still learning the process. I have been at this for almost 4 years and I am still learning in Georgia's everchanging climate... so it's all a process. If you ever get weak for Lye, call me... we can work this out together.

In the mean time, play with your curls and find out what she likes and doesn't like. You'll come up with your own formula soon enough.

Thank goodness somebody said this. I did a drastic change last October by cutting my relaxed hair off (without transitioning). It felt like a life-altering moment.

I kept staring at myself in the mirror wondering who's that girl. I haven't seen her in 16 years (the time the relaxer has been in my hair). And it took a while to find the right products. I lamented to a friend, who referred me to this site.

I even spoke to a relative who's a hair dresser who had no clue how to deal with natural hair especially my brand with a cultural mix. She told me to get on the Internet.

I've found out that you have to go through a period of experimentation - I still think I'm on one. Find out what works, what doesn't. And just because another natural-haired person raves about a product, it doesn't mean it will work on you. But it also doesn't hurt to try.

The good thing about this look in the past three months is that my hair is growing at a much faster rate than usual. I guess it needed a break from the chemicals.

One more thing: I noticed my hair reacts better when I use natural products like shampoos without Sulfate Laureth (and the like of chemicals). The problem is sometimes this products are expensive (hope to try Wen one day).

Burts Bees have great shampoos and conditioners with natural products like fruits and coconut oil. Find the ones that's geared towards MOISTURE. You can find them at Drugstores for about $8 and you only need to use a little because it is very foamy.

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