“The process of transitioning taught me that anything is possible and helped me see many other ideas and misconceptions that had been programmed into my thinking without me realizing it. My hair reminds me of how much I’ve grown and all the changes I’ve gone through over the last few years and I love it.” ~ GG
Where are you from and what do you do?
GG: I currently live in Maryland. By day, I manage financial intermediary relationships at a mutual fund company, and my workplace is a very conservative environment. By night, I’m a busy mom, significant other, problem solver, superwoman extraordinare. In between, I love to write and blog every chance I get.
When did you go natural? Why (especially since you had long relaxed hair)?
GG: I got my last relaxer in February of 2006 after I had my daughter. My hair was long, I guess according to most definitions, but it was also really thin and damaged. I started off by just stretching my relaxer attempting to get it healthy. After 6 months, I was so in love with my new growth and how soft and curly it was, that I just kept going. I needed a change.
I’ve always had long-ish hair but it’s always been a cycle of growth and breakage then more growth and breakage. As a teenager, I was only allowed occasional relaxers (maybe 2–3 times a year) and my hair was thick and long back then. So, thinking back to those days made me want to see what my hair would do if I stopped relaxing. Underneath all of that, I was getting close to 30 and going through all kinds of identity issues. I felt myself changing on the inside and wanted to reflect it on the outside.
What style do you love to rock?
GG: My favorite style to rock is a picked out braid or twist out. After co-washing, I braid or twist my hair in about 8–10 sections and put satin rollers at the end. When it’s dry, I take the braids/twists out and pick it out with the end of a rat tail comb or a metal pick. This gives me crazy volume and density. I may wear a headband or scarf or pin it this way or that way in the front. Throughout the day, it just gets bigger and bigger. I love how the air makes it expand and look even bigger and more unruly. At night, I put it in a ponytail like a pineapple on top of my head and it will last like that a of couple days with a little refreshing as needed.
What do you use in your hair?
GG: I’m constantly trying new products as my budget allows, but I swear by shea butter/coconut oil mix! My hair has never felt so moisturized before using coconut oil. It has changed the game. I also use Aussie Moist conditioner for cowashes, Hair One sulfate-free shampoo, Setting Lotion (Dark&Lovely, Lottabody, whatever!) and Herbal Essences Long-Term Relationship Leave-In Conditioner for my ends. I always pre-condition my hair with coconut oil mixed with some type of conditioner…whatever I have around. I also dust my ends atleast a couple times a month when I twist or braid. I wear protective styles most of the time, but when I feel like it, I’ll blow dry and do dry braid-outs or flat iron and do dry roller sets or pin curls with setting lotion.
Do you prefer natural to relaxed?
GG: NATURAL!!!!!! Mainly, because it’s fuller and thicker and I’ve always wanted BIG hair. I just never thought that I could actually achieve big hair without its groupies Frizz and Dry coming along with it! Plus, I just love the texture and versatility that I have now.
I feel more unique and creative with natural hair. I don’t have to fight the elements anymore and I don’t have to continue the cyle of growth and breakage from chemicals and over-processing. The process of transitioning taught me that anything is possible and helped me see many other ideas and misconceptions that had been programmed into my thinking without me realizing it. My hair reminds me of how much I’ve grown and all the changes I’ve gone through over the last few years and I love it.