A Story of Transition: How Growing My Natural Hair Out Helped Me Grow

20 Comments
April 4, 2012 ‐ By Bianca Clendenin

Before transition

It has been a whole year since I stopped relaxing my hair.  It’s been an interesting journey of sorts.

My first relaxer was at the age of 10, and every time I received a touch up since then, my scalp would burn. No matter how mild the perm was, no matter how short the time was that people tried to keep it in, I would still get burned. I was just extremely sensitive and would dread the whole relaxing process.

A lot of people ask me why I decided to stop putting perm in my hair; it’s actually a pretty sad story. Last year, I was rocking a very short haircut. I’ve been chopping my hair off since I was a sophomore in high school. Before I cut all my hair off I had long straight hair that went a little past my shoulders. My mom, like many mothers, was really against me cutting my hair at first. Maybe she thought I’d look less feminine, maybe not. But after enough persuading, and me agreeing to pay for it myself, she allowed me to chop it all off…or at least enough for a drastic difference.

I went through every short phase imaginable. When Rihanna got the asymmetrical bob, I got it too. Then she got a cool, short pixie cut. So did I. Halle Berry and Toni Braxton were my hair inspirations too, and because of them, my hair was a wide variety of lengths over the last four to five years. Having a short haircut was hard to maintain because I constantly had to get my hair trimmed. On top of that, it needed to be relaxed consistently to look neat. This was not good for a poor college student on a tight budget.

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  • sassyg

    You look great with your natural hair! I like it way better.

  • Janae

    Your hair looks so beautiful! I would recommend doing twist outs ( I am also a college student on a budget). Sorry about your barber.

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  • Now I know

    Why does this story sound like me? Especially the last paragraph I did the ‘Rihanna” pixie cut and then needed a trim every two weeks to keep it fresh and a relaxer every month and a dash of colour lemme tell ya my hair suffered. What I did to my hair for the whole 2009 was not healthy, relaxing hair once a month is a death sentence on your hair. The only choice was to go natural and I’m glad I did, this may sound cliche but my confidence soared in my head I’m the flyest chick no one can touch me lol

  • Angela9232

    Yes, I’m growing out the relaxer (perm) too. I just can not push myself to do it anymore. And I hate it now because I know how much damage it has done to my hair over the years. I love my natural hair and the new growth but I’m also learning how much you have to pay attention to your hair on a daily basis. You have to love it, pamper it, be gentle with it and basically just take real good care of your hair. It has now been a little over 3 months since my last retouch. My scalp feels good and healthy!! Wish me luck..

  • Jolie

    Good luck on your senior thesis!

  • Allisan2000

    I love this article! I just made the choice to go natural, I am not doing the chop, I keep cutting the relaxed ends little by little. This transition seems very long and difficult but I’m up for the challenge!

  • dddooonnnttt

    Dang, your hair grew out fast in a year! 

  • Tmgef

    Good for u! I’ve been natural for over 4 years now and love it!

  • Smacks_hoes

    Nice story … My hair was natural under my weave for the past 1 almost two years. Lately I’ve stopped wearing weave because I’m doing the 60 day insanity challenge and I know I’m going to sweat like crazy and with weave I can’t wash my hair as much as I would need to. Anyway I I applaud you people who rock your natural hair daily because I just can’t take it!!! I want to be able to run my fingers clean through my hair. After this 60 day challenge I’m definately getting a perm.

    • Cocoa_kisses2386

      You wanna be able to run your fingers clean through your hair?You sound ignorant.

      • Smacks_hoes

        I’m not speaking for everyone else being that everyone’s natural hair is different. My natural hair is very wavy/curly when wet but when it dries it’s a tangled mess and I cannot run my fingers through it whatsoever. It’s my truth not yours. Thank you and god day lol

    • Janae

      I think its sad that you “can’t take” your own hair that grows from your own scalp. Nothing wrong with wearing a weave, but for you to hate a part of yourself like that is just sad.

  • lulu

    “I had long straight hair that went a little past my shoulders” 
    awesome story but hair a little past the shoulders is now considered long?

    • Cocoa_kisses2386

      In the black community it is.And how long her relaxed hair was is not the point of the story anyway..SMH

    • Mrsadkiah

      …That’s not long to you? That considered long, not super long, by non-Blacks too….

  • Papillon

    What was the reason you decided not to do a big chop? Not judging, everyone has to find their own way, just wondering why you chose a different route. Either way, congratulations! And maybe NY natural salons are expensive, but at least you have them. Thank goodness for youtube for those of us living in the podunks *sigh*.

    What kind of job did your mom have that required relaxed hair?

  • Nefijones1

    Awesome story!  I am almost a year natural.  It takes mental and physical patience to get to know your hair. 

    Thanks for the encouraging article.

    • Cpanthony

      You are so right Nefijones 51.  I stopped perming my hair two years ago and I am now ready to stop pressing it.  I am constantly asked why.  My main reason for doing so is that I can no longer find my favorite blow dryer and I hate blow drying my hair anyway so natural it is.  It has been a journey but I love my natural hair and want to show it.  Great story. 

  • L-Boogie

    Congratulations!  I am happy you found your peace.