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PREGUNTA (QUESTION from a reader)

Hello Mae:
Still loving your site and Congrats on the growing number of fans!!!!  Watch those numbers continue to rise:) I just wanted to drop a note and say hello and vent a minute about a recent incident with a stylist. If you are able to cut and paste the question, maybe some of your readers have suggestions?

I am currently transitioning, it’s been 9 months.  I’ve done braids and currently doing weaves (which personally I am not a big fan of) until it gets to a length where I am comfortable doing twists etc.  I just have not being able to muster up the courage to BC and applaud all the strong, beautiful women who “Just Do It!!!”  I am in a crisis right now because after a recent trip to my stylist, my edges that were left out of the weave will not hold a press and appears to be damaged really bad.  I have washed, deep conditioned, coated it in coconut, olive oil and shea butter.  The hair feels dry and brittle and when flat ironed is crispy and looks really kinky.  I did not have this problem previously and asked the stylist what she put on my hair, she said just wrapping lotion.  Whatever was done has left my hair dry and lifeless.  I am starting to suspect that she burned my hair while flat ironing it. I am so frustrated and depressed.  I have waited nine long months to have natural hair and to have it just destroyed just sucks.  So at this point, I have come to the conclusion that I only have two choices: BC my whole head to make it even with the dead damaged hair in the front or weave IT ALL up and let it grow out more and eventually cut it off.  I was almost at the point where I was about to let the weave go and roll with my length and make the most of it.  Now the stylist has put me in the position where I must BC or keep wearing this darn weave!!!! ARGH!!!:(

Oh yeah P.S. the stylist made the following statements to me while I was there:

We are about to make you pretty again (referring to putting my Indian hair back in)

“He really doesn’t mean it” (referring to my boyfriend’s desire for me to rock my natural hair)

If we shingled your hair at this point it would just look like a little afro. (?????)

Any support, advice, words of encouragement would be sooo appreciated!!!

Absolute Best!!!
Shonda


My Response:


Shonda, I am so sorry to hear what you’ve gone through! It sounds like your stylist may have induced heat damage on your hair. I’m not sure what was in your wrapping lotion, but I know that many oils are not encouraged for use when flat-ironing/blow-drying your hair because they are great conduits for heat. As they heat up quickly, if the heat settings are too high, this will cause heat damage to your hair which is basically damage to the cuticle layer that serves to protect the hair follicle. De-protection of the cuticle layer is irreversible and once that happens, you should avoid any further contact with heat and minimize friction on the hair.


Now this is one thing I will say to anyone transitioning. If you are not feeling comfortable enough to do the Big Chop (BC), don’t let anyone try to “force” you into it, if you really have other options. The BC is a big step, even if you’ve rocked a short relaxed look before. You need to be positive that it is something you want to do and also understand why you’re doing it. With that being said, I would encourage you Shonda to maybe even consider getting braids, as that will protect all of your hair and give it a break for a while. If you are thinking about putting it back in a weave where you will have to leave some of your own hair out, you risk allowing your hair to undergo further damage. I actually believed that happened to my own hair when I was transitioning and wore a sew-in-weave for about 2 months. The texture of the hair that I left out is definitely different from the rest now, and I even had some breakage in the front (due to the tension of the braids) [Sidenote: this is why I was so glad when I found about other transition styles that I could do with my own hair!!]. However, if you feel you are comfortable with the BC… go for it girl! Dealing with a short TWA was so much fun for me, and a great relief from having to deal with the two textures. You could let your hair grow in for a several more weeks if you’re unsure about the length after damage. If you ever need any inspiration, check out the ladies on the blog who are rocking their FAB TWA’s with confidence and style : ) 


At the end of the day though, don’t beat yourself up about it. The good news is that hair grows continually, so your hopes of going natural aren’t down the drain : ) Trust, I understand the anticipation as it took me two tries to go natural and I wanted to kick myself when I had to start over from scratch because I got frustrated with transitioning and relaxed again! 


Now for this stylist….mercy! Sounds like someone needs to get kicked to the curb. You’ll find that throughout this natural hair journey, you’re bound to come into contact with ignorant people who will say things that don’t deserve breath. The thing is, we have to learn to be confident in who we are…and when that happens…people can say anything they want but it won’t phase us at all! As I’ve heard some say, we need to stop waiting around for people to accept the “natural hair” thing and show that we are fully confident in it ourselves. 


I hope you’ll continue down the natural hair path because it is soooo worth it in the end. Remember, if you ever have more questions or need a bit of encouragement…WE ARE HERE FOR YOU! Right ladies??? Yep yep : ) 

Ladies, please feel free to share any additional words of advice/encouragement with Shonda

Related posts:

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • RoSi October 29, 2009, 11:56 pm

    i would say see if you can find a natural hair stylist. your beautician's attitude is ridiculous and not helpful to your journey right now.

  • Kinky Rhonnie October 30, 2009, 12:31 am

    Ditch that loser stylist with the negative attitude because you need one that will encourage you during this time of transition.

    Why in the world are you damaging your precious new growth with heat?

  • His Daughter October 30, 2009, 1:24 am

    use this as a learning experience. myb it's time u experimented with transitional styles on your own hair. just a thought. but whatever you do, do it because you want to do it. i BC'd after 2 months and I was ready and happy with it. but only bcus its what i wanted. good luck

  • Shonda October 30, 2009, 2:01 am

    Thank you so much ladies for your support and encouragement. As you all know it means a lot when you feel like you are struggling and at one point or the other I think we all have felt this way. Mae thank you so much for your kind words and taking time out of your busy, busy schedule to respond and put my question out there for the ladies. I guess I am at the crossroads that we all come to when we just get "tired" and we either give up and go back or press forward. And with this being my third try at this I'm not going back. And yes I am on the hunt for a new stylist who can help me care for and style my natural hair minus the heat. If you you all know anyone in the Atlanta area please let me know. I am gonna continue to put up the good fight.
    Again thanks:)

  • mysskay October 30, 2009, 2:13 am

    I agree with Mae on choosing a style that protects your whole hair (weave, wigs or braids) or visiting fotki/blog pages for transition style options. I know you may feel like 9 months has been a long time to wait and now you have to wait even more. But you really don't want to have to deal with damaged hair and healthy hair. It's either cut now or cut later (damage is irreversible). Patience is the key and stsay tuned into the online community (unless you have a strong support system in 'real life'). Imagery is very powerful. I also reiterate Mae's words "Know why you are doing this." This natural hair journey is much like losing weight: it's a lifestyle change. We're talking a life, years, decades. So a few weeks or months are really worth the wait when we compare it to the entire span.

    I think it's important for you to sit down and ask yourself why you are doing this? How much research have you done? Were you aware of the potential damage you faced by allowing the stylist to have your hair out? Did you know about the chemical properties of oil? Did you not feel empowered to question the stylist about what they were putting on the hair you spent 9 months taking care of? Do you have all the education/tools at your disposal that you will need to embark on the journey?

    I strongly encourage you to be patient. To equip yourself with knowledge. To remind yourself about why you are doing this. To free yourself from both the need to have straight hair and the pressure to go natural. Cut yourself some slack. Adapt a healthy attitude and keep reaching out. Keep being honest and keep seeking answers. You are certainly not alone. And this is definitely not the end :o )

  • Ms. Harmony October 30, 2009, 2:20 pm

    I agree with everything you suggested Ms. Mae. I just want to add one suggestion regarding weaves. She can get a full sew in and have none of her hair out. There are closure pieces out there that look natural. I'm wearing one myself and I'm 7 months in my transition. On the flip side, if she prefers to have a partial weave then try a curly style. In my opinion a curly weave can prep her for on own naturally curly hair. With a curly style heat is not required so her hair can get the break needed from heat.

  • Ms. Harmony October 30, 2009, 2:22 pm

    Ms. Shonda,

    You can check out Keysha at Gauthier Expressions. Here is her website: http://gehair.com/. When I lived in ATL she was my stylist and I loved her!!

  • Spider monkey blunderguff. October 30, 2009, 10:50 pm

    Natural hair has given me a tremendous amount of freedom. Once a month, I was in the hair salon spending $100. Now, it's been six months since I was last in there! The stylist seems to be afaid for their job =(

  • Keizra April 20, 2010, 1:39 am

    I did my first BC in February 2009. I went to a stylist who said she knew how to style natural hair and suffered heat damage from too much pressing. This was partly my fault because I wasn't ready to rock my twa..I wasn't confident enough!! Well, in November 2009 I did my 2nd BC (I changed hairstylists-my new stylist also has natural hair). I was so sad b/c all my hair was gone, all that hard work gone!! Just like that!! But, it forced me to be confident and I had no choice to wear my natural hair out until it got long enough for protective styling.

    I would recommend (this is what I did) that you find a NATURAL hairstylist!! Also, if you're going to wear weaves, do a full sew in. I was afraid of these b/c I didn't like how they looked on other people, but I got an invisible part & it looked a little more natural & I was able to live with it. None of your hair will be left out & you won't have to worry about heat damage from you trying to make your hair match the texture of the weave.

    Everyone's journey is different!! And speaking from personal experience, I've had some roadblocks!! But, I stuck with it and I am loving my hair!! My boyfriend loves it too :) Natural hair (I've learned) requires a lot of TLC and PATIENCE!!! Best of luck to you and I truly hope you stick with it!! :)

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PREGUNTA (QUESTION from a reader)

Hello Mae:
Still loving your site and Congrats on the growing number of fans!!!!  Watch those numbers continue to rise:) I just wanted to drop a note and say hello and vent a minute about a recent incident with a stylist. If you are able to cut and paste the question, maybe some of your readers have suggestions?

I am currently transitioning, it’s been 9 months.  I’ve done braids and currently doing weaves (which personally I am not a big fan of) until it gets to a length where I am comfortable doing twists etc.  I just have not being able to muster up the courage to BC and applaud all the strong, beautiful women who “Just Do It!!!”  I am in a crisis right now because after a recent trip to my stylist, my edges that were left out of the weave will not hold a press and appears to be damaged really bad.  I have washed, deep conditioned, coated it in coconut, olive oil and shea butter.  The hair feels dry and brittle and when flat ironed is crispy and looks really kinky.  I did not have this problem previously and asked the stylist what she put on my hair, she said just wrapping lotion.  Whatever was done has left my hair dry and lifeless.  I am starting to suspect that she burned my hair while flat ironing it. I am so frustrated and depressed.  I have waited nine long months to have natural hair and to have it just destroyed just sucks.  So at this point, I have come to the conclusion that I only have two choices: BC my whole head to make it even with the dead damaged hair in the front or weave IT ALL up and let it grow out more and eventually cut it off.  I was almost at the point where I was about to let the weave go and roll with my length and make the most of it.  Now the stylist has put me in the position where I must BC or keep wearing this darn weave!!!! ARGH!!!:(

Oh yeah P.S. the stylist made the following statements to me while I was there:

We are about to make you pretty again (referring to putting my Indian hair back in)

“He really doesn’t mean it” (referring to my boyfriend’s desire for me to rock my natural hair)

If we shingled your hair at this point it would just look like a little afro. (?????)

Any support, advice, words of encouragement would be sooo appreciated!!!

Absolute Best!!!
Shonda


My Response:


Shonda, I am so sorry to hear what you’ve gone through! It sounds like your stylist may have induced heat damage on your hair. I’m not sure what was in your wrapping lotion, but I know that many oils are not encouraged for use when flat-ironing/blow-drying your hair because they are great conduits for heat. As they heat up quickly, if the heat settings are too high, this will cause heat damage to your hair which is basically damage to the cuticle layer that serves to protect the hair follicle. De-protection of the cuticle layer is irreversible and once that happens, you should avoid any further contact with heat and minimize friction on the hair.


Now this is one thing I will say to anyone transitioning. If you are not feeling comfortable enough to do the Big Chop (BC), don’t let anyone try to “force” you into it, if you really have other options. The BC is a big step, even if you’ve rocked a short relaxed look before. You need to be positive that it is something you want to do and also understand why you’re doing it. With that being said, I would encourage you Shonda to maybe even consider getting braids, as that will protect all of your hair and give it a break for a while. If you are thinking about putting it back in a weave where you will have to leave some of your own hair out, you risk allowing your hair to undergo further damage. I actually believed that happened to my own hair when I was transitioning and wore a sew-in-weave for about 2 months. The texture of the hair that I left out is definitely different from the rest now, and I even had some breakage in the front (due to the tension of the braids) [Sidenote: this is why I was so glad when I found about other transition styles that I could do with my own hair!!]. However, if you feel you are comfortable with the BC… go for it girl! Dealing with a short TWA was so much fun for me, and a great relief from having to deal with the two textures. You could let your hair grow in for a several more weeks if you’re unsure about the length after damage. If you ever need any inspiration, check out the ladies on the blog who are rocking their FAB TWA’s with confidence and style : ) 


At the end of the day though, don’t beat yourself up about it. The good news is that hair grows continually, so your hopes of going natural aren’t down the drain : ) Trust, I understand the anticipation as it took me two tries to go natural and I wanted to kick myself when I had to start over from scratch because I got frustrated with transitioning and relaxed again! 


Now for this stylist….mercy! Sounds like someone needs to get kicked to the curb. You’ll find that throughout this natural hair journey, you’re bound to come into contact with ignorant people who will say things that don’t deserve breath. The thing is, we have to learn to be confident in who we are…and when that happens…people can say anything they want but it won’t phase us at all! As I’ve heard some say, we need to stop waiting around for people to accept the “natural hair” thing and show that we are fully confident in it ourselves. 


I hope you’ll continue down the natural hair path because it is soooo worth it in the end. Remember, if you ever have more questions or need a bit of encouragement…WE ARE HERE FOR YOU! Right ladies??? Yep yep : ) 

Ladies, please feel free to share any additional words of advice/encouragement with Shonda

Related posts:

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • RoSi October 29, 2009, 11:56 pm

    i would say see if you can find a natural hair stylist. your beautician's attitude is ridiculous and not helpful to your journey right now.

  • Kinky Rhonnie October 30, 2009, 12:31 am

    Ditch that loser stylist with the negative attitude because you need one that will encourage you during this time of transition.

    Why in the world are you damaging your precious new growth with heat?

  • His Daughter October 30, 2009, 1:24 am

    use this as a learning experience. myb it's time u experimented with transitional styles on your own hair. just a thought. but whatever you do, do it because you want to do it. i BC'd after 2 months and I was ready and happy with it. but only bcus its what i wanted. good luck

  • Shonda October 30, 2009, 2:01 am

    Thank you so much ladies for your support and encouragement. As you all know it means a lot when you feel like you are struggling and at one point or the other I think we all have felt this way. Mae thank you so much for your kind words and taking time out of your busy, busy schedule to respond and put my question out there for the ladies. I guess I am at the crossroads that we all come to when we just get "tired" and we either give up and go back or press forward. And with this being my third try at this I'm not going back. And yes I am on the hunt for a new stylist who can help me care for and style my natural hair minus the heat. If you you all know anyone in the Atlanta area please let me know. I am gonna continue to put up the good fight.
    Again thanks:)

  • mysskay October 30, 2009, 2:13 am

    I agree with Mae on choosing a style that protects your whole hair (weave, wigs or braids) or visiting fotki/blog pages for transition style options. I know you may feel like 9 months has been a long time to wait and now you have to wait even more. But you really don't want to have to deal with damaged hair and healthy hair. It's either cut now or cut later (damage is irreversible). Patience is the key and stsay tuned into the online community (unless you have a strong support system in 'real life'). Imagery is very powerful. I also reiterate Mae's words "Know why you are doing this." This natural hair journey is much like losing weight: it's a lifestyle change. We're talking a life, years, decades. So a few weeks or months are really worth the wait when we compare it to the entire span.

    I think it's important for you to sit down and ask yourself why you are doing this? How much research have you done? Were you aware of the potential damage you faced by allowing the stylist to have your hair out? Did you know about the chemical properties of oil? Did you not feel empowered to question the stylist about what they were putting on the hair you spent 9 months taking care of? Do you have all the education/tools at your disposal that you will need to embark on the journey?

    I strongly encourage you to be patient. To equip yourself with knowledge. To remind yourself about why you are doing this. To free yourself from both the need to have straight hair and the pressure to go natural. Cut yourself some slack. Adapt a healthy attitude and keep reaching out. Keep being honest and keep seeking answers. You are certainly not alone. And this is definitely not the end :o )

  • Ms. Harmony October 30, 2009, 2:20 pm

    I agree with everything you suggested Ms. Mae. I just want to add one suggestion regarding weaves. She can get a full sew in and have none of her hair out. There are closure pieces out there that look natural. I'm wearing one myself and I'm 7 months in my transition. On the flip side, if she prefers to have a partial weave then try a curly style. In my opinion a curly weave can prep her for on own naturally curly hair. With a curly style heat is not required so her hair can get the break needed from heat.

  • Ms. Harmony October 30, 2009, 2:22 pm

    Ms. Shonda,

    You can check out Keysha at Gauthier Expressions. Here is her website: http://gehair.com/. When I lived in ATL she was my stylist and I loved her!!

  • Spider monkey blunderguff. October 30, 2009, 10:50 pm

    Natural hair has given me a tremendous amount of freedom. Once a month, I was in the hair salon spending $100. Now, it's been six months since I was last in there! The stylist seems to be afaid for their job =(

  • Keizra April 20, 2010, 1:39 am

    I did my first BC in February 2009. I went to a stylist who said she knew how to style natural hair and suffered heat damage from too much pressing. This was partly my fault because I wasn't ready to rock my twa..I wasn't confident enough!! Well, in November 2009 I did my 2nd BC (I changed hairstylists-my new stylist also has natural hair). I was so sad b/c all my hair was gone, all that hard work gone!! Just like that!! But, it forced me to be confident and I had no choice to wear my natural hair out until it got long enough for protective styling.

    I would recommend (this is what I did) that you find a NATURAL hairstylist!! Also, if you're going to wear weaves, do a full sew in. I was afraid of these b/c I didn't like how they looked on other people, but I got an invisible part & it looked a little more natural & I was able to live with it. None of your hair will be left out & you won't have to worry about heat damage from you trying to make your hair match the texture of the weave.

    Everyone's journey is different!! And speaking from personal experience, I've had some roadblocks!! But, I stuck with it and I am loving my hair!! My boyfriend loves it too :) Natural hair (I've learned) requires a lot of TLC and PATIENCE!!! Best of luck to you and I truly hope you stick with it!! :)

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