Where do I start? Before March of 2009 I had no intention of ever going natural. I had always been fairly comfortable with my relaxed hair and accepted the dryness and breakage of chemical use as normal without question. My hair never grew past shoulder-length because my hair would always break off and I would have to get it cut to repair the damage. Partly due to the chemicals and partly due to the fact that I was not properly taking care of my hair. I normally would get my relaxer retouched every three months, when my roots became “out of control.”
In September of 2007, after deciding that I wanted to look like Beyoncé, I dyed my chocolate brown hair blonde. For the next year and a half I routinely retouched the color on my grown out roots while also retouching the relaxer. Needless to say, I was wreaking havoc on my hair. The last relaxer retouch I had was February 2009. In March I decided that it had become too expensive keeping up with the two chemical processes so I resolved to go back to my natural color. The stylist (who had been doing my color and relaxers for a year) dyed my hair entirely too dark and the ends of my hair did not match my chocolate brown roots. So she decided to “fix it.” Or do a whole other dye job. Essentially, I went through two color processes in one salon visit.
My hair started breaking off dramatically. No deep conditioning treatment, protein strengthening treatment or trim could remedy my hair. My strands would literally snap off with the slightest touch. To describe the next few weeks as traumatic would be an understatement. What would be going through your mind if you brushed or combed your hair only to have to pull clumps of hair from them? Right. So I said, screw this. There had to be another way. This latest careless mistreatment was the last straw of a growing desire to forgo any further chemical hair processing.
My initial plan was to transition for a year, or slowly grow out my natural roots and gradually clip off the dead relaxed ends. For a month I wore a wavy draw-string ponytail. Then I was offered a summer internship in Minnesota. Since I knew I would be spending the summer in an area that would not have African-American hair care essentials readily available, I decided to get kinky twists and keep them in for the summer. It would be a great protective style with low maintenance and would allow my roots to grow out. So five days before I was scheduled to leave I went to a shop to get them done. And came out like a female version of Lil’ Wayne! The braider did not know what she was doing and had my kinky twists looking like dreads!
So frustrated with everything that had happened with my hair in such a short period of time and knowing that I definitely couldn’t show up to an internship with my hair looking a hot mess, I decided to hell with it. I would skip the prolonged transition and just cut it all off. So after three months of “transitioning”, I did the big chop on May 27, 2009 and became natural. And I haven’t looked back since!
My Big Chop video: