Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Transitioning to Natural . . . Take 2

I have a bit of news to share . . .

Yes, I'm transitioning to natural . . .again! You can read about my hair journey here including the first time I tried to go natural. This time here's what I'm doing differently...

The Reason

In my hair posts I've mentioned my 2007 diagnosis of mild discoid lupus and how stress triggers hair loss (thankfully that's the only symptom I've had - no scarring on my face or other areas). Things had been going well until the end of summer '12 when Mr. Love Bird (being the 6'8" giant he is!) noticed from up above that I had a patch of missing hair. I went in to be evaluated and the dr. saw there was another patch so I started on steroid injections to grow the hair back. Within 6 months one spot responded and the other didn't then I noticed my original spot I noticed 6 years ago was actually getting worse. Beyond managing stress this was a wake-up call for me to stop putting relaxers in my hair. Mr dr. advised that the less I do to my hair in general the better so I'm ready to quit relaxing.

Additionally, the idea of the weave came about as I was looking at my calendar. With my cruise at the end of February (just 18 days away!) plus a few other high profile, social events in addition to the work I'm doing to re-brand my blog and myself (more on that to come!) I knew I wanted to have a polished style that was easy to maintain, filmed/photographed well and was a bit glamorous (a la June Ambrose).

The Salon 

In one of my most popular posts Back to Black: The Two Best NYC Hair Salons I've EVER Been To I mentioned Reggie from The Hair Lounge. Most of his clients are natural and wear weaves due to their careers/lifestyle, many of them with natural hair longer than their weave hair. He really is all about hair care and he helped me devise a look that fits with my on-the-go lifestyle. If you're in the NYC area I highly recommend him. Even if you don't wear weaves, he's great with all types of hair (you can read my full review here and on Yelp). If you go please tell him I sent you!

The Process

Because it's important for me to retain length I'm going to transition over 2 years. Slow and steady! I'll get my weave re-installed quarterly, wash at home every 2-3 weeks and tightened on top as needed/as my hair grows (maybe every 6-8 weeks). It's been so easy to pin curl, put my bonnet on overnight, then wake-up take the pins out and go! I also look forward to doing braid-outs, crimping and big curls with my barrel iron.

The Products

The hair is Indique's SEA Collection in Zen Straight. I like that it's not super shiny and can have a courser texture then flat irons nicely - the option for it to be full vs. sleek without looking fake is great! It was important to me to select hair that was high quality, didn't look like a helmet on my head and wasn't heavy. Indique fit the bill! I went to their shop here in NYC and they have great customer service. The hair will last one year, it's quite pricey but you really do get what you pay for. It's guaranteed not to shed or tangle and there are so many fun textures to choose from. It's exciting to think of hair as an accessory and I look forward to trying other colors and cuts over the next two years!

For styling and maintaining I'm using:
  • Sea Breeze astringent - I put this in a nozzle bottle diluted with water to cleanse in between the tracks in between shampoos; it makes my scalp feel great!

The Resources

I have tons of sites/posts bookmarked from my last attempt at transitioning, but here are a few finding useful right now:
I've found that it really is true that if mama's happy, everyone's happy and I'm very happy with my look and achievable plan of action to successfully transition to natural. Big chops, weaves, braids, transitioning via braid-outs ... it's important to find what works for you and I'm excited I've found something that works for me and my lifestyle!