Ask Afrobella, Part Deux

Sorry I haven’t been on my hustle this week, y’all. I’ve been fighting off a cold. I’m at about 75% right now, so instead of staying up till 2 in the morning writing Afrobella stuff, I’ve been drinking Nyquil and passing the hell out before The Colbert Report. Sad but true. I have lots of stuff to write over the weekend, so keep your eyes peeled for a new Afrobella of the Week (I am sure some of you will find her a surprising choice), new product reviews, and yet another shout-out to a legend of yore. For now, without further ado, let’s get to another Ask Afrobella.

In this case, that’s a misleading title, ’cause Afrobella asked Motown Girl.

Lots of you are going through transition issues, and asking questions about specific hair types. In terms of figuring out whether you are a 3C, 4A etc… yeah, that all seems baffling, right? This link explains it all. I think I rest somewhere between a 3C and 4A. Let’s call it a 4A +, ha ha.

Brittaney Asks: I absolutely adore your site! But if you don’t mind, could you give me some advice? I have been struggling with my hair for as long as I remember. Right now, I am letting the relaxer grow out, so my hair is two different textures. Do you have any suggestions as to how to wear it or how to make the relaxer-to-natural process more smoother? Anything will be appreciated.

And Tracie Asks: Hey Ladies! I am just beginning transition from relaxed to natural. I have 3 months of new growth to contend with and I am looking for some guidance, advice, inspiration, pics, links, basically anything that can inform me on how to treat and create the curl in my new growth. I have not had the big chop yet because I would like to have a few more inches of natural hair. Thanks in advance ladies!

Thanks for the kind compliments, Tracie and Brittaney!

My hair journey was unusual in the sense that relaxer and over-coloring had damaged my hair so much that by college, I “took a menopause”, in the words of my friend Richard. I got a really short, spiky cut before I transitioned. This broke my mom’s heart, because I wore said short, spiky hair (with a beautiful seed pearl and copper wire tiara) to my wedding. I straightened my hair for her on that day, and never turned back after that. There were days when I didn’t exactly feel like the Belle of the ball, but I figured out how to rock the out-of-control TWA I was sporting with style and confidence.

According to many black parents, short hair = manly = lesbian = better get a weave. First of all, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Secondly, I have read no scientific studies relating short hair with sexuality. And third, that kind of old school thinking has got to go. If you have to cut it off, play up your pretty features with makeup and rock some bangin’ earrings. Or wear a beautiful flower behind your ear – without all that hair on your head, you can actually show off cute accessories. And condition, condition, condition. Use products that are gentle and nurturing to your new curls and they will love you forever.

I asked Motown Girl her thoughts on the issue, and here’s what she had to say:

“Transitioning can be difficult. For the most part once someone starts to transition and their natural begins to grow, dealing with the major difference of the straight relaxed hair and the natural hair texture can be downright frustrating. Some people (including myself) choose to wear braids and wigs (with your real hair cornrowed underneath). This way you don’t have to deal with your hair on a daily basis and it does not get damaged from daily wear and tear. Make sure you take care of your real hair…don’t get your hair braided too tight and don’t leave braids in for too long.

Regarding products, everyone hair is different and you must experiment to truly know what will work on your hair. However, it seems that the products people seem to have the most success with while transitioning is Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel and Fantasia IC gel with Sparkle Lites (a clear gel).

Most importantly, be sure to deep condition your hair often, maybe every other week or so to keep your hair healthy and moisturized.

Lastly, try not to rule out doing the big chop. I am sure this maybe a bit drastic for some, but overall, it seems that women that did the big chop earlier on experienced a lot less frustrations and had a easier time dealing with their natural hair. If I knew then what I know now when I was transitioning, I would have BC’ed. :)”

So there you have it. I hope that helps, and stay tuned for more fun stuff over the weekend. I teased some in the comments page, but I’ll repost here: ya girl will be back full force over the weekend with a new Afrobella of the Week, a new Never Again/T.B.S product review, and lots of other stuff too! Look out for a particularly random celebrity encounter coming up soon. Keep reading!

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the link! I’ve been trying to figure out my hair type since I transitiioned almost 2yrs ago. My hair seems to be a mixture of both 3c and 4a. It locks very quickly but is very soft and curly at the same time. And when I blow dry it straight, sometimes pieces of my hair stays straight and will not curl back up! So I have given up the blow drying. I love my curls.

    I really love this site. I’ve been trying to find good hair product’s that work for my hair and asking other is always better than spending unnecessary money. Thanks Motown girl/afrobella for creating this!

  2. I recommend the big chop to all women! It was the most freeing experience! I had permed hair mid-way down my back and cut it to a almost three inch poof. Never was my face so completely visable and beautiful. Unfortunately, many in my social conservative black family commented on how the had missed the most beautiful years of my life because of my “lesbo” or “little boy” hair cut, but I have never taken it to heart. I will NEVER go back to a perm but I will oblige the elders of my family with a hot press even once in a while. I am so glad that websites like this one and Motown girl provide so much information for natural hair maintenance and products. My next product try is the mixed girls leave in and miss jessie’s curly pudding. I’ll let you know and thanks for all the information, its more helpful that your realize.

  3. I love your site, Afrobella! While I was doing my daily check up on the site, I was thrilled to see my question previewed and answered. Thank you so much, I really appreciated it. I love your site and I’ll keep reading!

  4. Oh yeah, get well soon! Once again, thanks Afrobella and Motown Girl.

  5. Doing the big chop at the early stages of going natural is not easy. As such, another alternative would be to put your hair in braids while it grows out. That way, you have time to educate yourself on all that you can do now that you’ve taken the big plunge.

  6. I did the big chop early in my going natural stage and boy did I regret it. It was rreally short in the front, so I had a hard time coming up with various hair options. That was a rough period, so I highly cosign with Ursula about getting braids.

  7. I’m not natual anymore, but when I transitioned the first time, I never chopped off my hair. I went from the perm straight to braids. Every time I redid my braids, they trimmed a little more of my permed head. Eventually, I went to twists(hair looked like the kinky twists that were so popular a few years ago). After that, I had a press and curl for about…4 or 5 years. If my hair had been on the curlier side of things, I think I would have kept my hair Natural, but it natually wasn’t, and then the pressing changed the texture of my hair, so I didn’t really know what to do with it. I’m ok with my relaxer, but even now I prefer curls.

  8. Another alternative to the BC early on, is to wear your hair in twists for a few days, then rock a twist out for a few days. I’ve also heard some women getting straw/spiral sets while transitioning.

  9. jerseybred says:

    I’m transitioning now and I rock twist outs, who knew my hair could be so FLY. I think I am a combination of 4a/b maybe even c. I have s and z patterns all over my scalp.

  10. My friend Quel, SWEARS by the CHI flat iron as she grows out her hair.
    http://homegirl.typepad.com/home_girl/2006/07/i_pledge_allegi.html

  11. I’m still struggling with how I will transition. I’m not sure about the BC because I’m not comfortable with it. Then extensions are not an option because I don’t want to be caught in the “hair weave trap” again. I wish there were other extension-free options. *sigh* I have a CHI flatiron so maybe I’ll give that a try.

  12. When I did my big chop it was only after I had allowed about 3in which was long enough for twisting and braiding. Don’t get me wrong… I was terrified for about two months that I looked like a guy. But in the end it was worth it. I learned how to twist my own hair…. just like Shasta said.. Twists for 3 days, out for 3 days…have someone show you how to comb twist your hair… There are options and it doesn’t have to be so horrible.

  13. Hey thanks Bella! I am so thrilled that you featured my “transition issue” in one of your topics. I absolutely love your site and visit about 2 to 3 times a week. You are truly an inspiration to me and thanks so much for helping us out. I have checked out Motown Girl’s website, which gave me some great advice for transitioning and Nappturality.com gave me the awesome link to other natural beauties and their beautiful and insipiring photos before during and after transition (via fotki.com). I am so excited to have found you guys! Thanks again.

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