I have been natural since July of 2003. I had one relapse in 2004; had someone relax it and the relaxer did not take! My afro was just as natural looking as before and I burned my scalp. So after a good cut, I’ve been natural ever since.
2. Why did you become Natural?
I actually decided to become natural on a whim. I was feeling really stressed with life at the time (marriage, children, work, money problems and 15 credit hrs. of school). I was a kitchen beautician and it had taken its toll; relaxers stopped working and my hair was falling out. I was also feeling sick, I was anemic, and I had a bunch of other problems. Well, my husband made a comment about my hair. Then someone else made a comment about my hair. They eluded that I would probably feel much better if I made a trip to the salon and how it would make me feel ‘happier’. In other words, go have someone burn my scalp and spend $75 on a cut and style and everything wrong in my life would suddenly seem better. Not to mention that unspoken comment, “girl you look terrible.”
Well, I didn’t have the money. But my mom and my sister came to visit me. My sister had a beautiful, short haircut. It was not all natural, she had a texturizer, but it was so cute. She said she cut it herself. I guess I had an insanity moment because I just said, “Hummm, ok.” I went upstairs and came back down with a pair of scissors. I sat in a chair and said, “Just do it.” She was shocked but she started cutting. It was liberating. My husband and everyone else was right…I DID FEEL BETTER LOL
3. Was it a hard transition? How did you transition?
Since I big chopped before I knew it was called a big chop, transitioning was not a problem at all. But my hair was so messed up that I had natural and relaxed spots all over my head. It took about a week to get it to look just right. So it looked like a texturizer, and then eventually, like a TWA.
4. Did your age aid in your decision to go Natural?
My age did play a part for me. I was 33 and I had 4 kids. With all the stuff I was going through I just didn’t care what anyone thought.
5. Does your age make it easier or harder to be Natural?
My age made it harder in 2005 when I had finally graduated and started working. I was the only openly natural teacher in the building. There was one other but she mostly wore wigs. Most women my age at the time or older just felt it was a more tailored look to have their hair relaxed. But after about 4 years, the same ones who talked about me started secretly coming to me about natural hair questions. Then, all of a sudden, people started ‘big chopping’ and braiding. I’m 45 now and even if I was still the only one, it wouldn’t matter at all!
6. Do you see many Older Naturals in your area? If so, what styles are they sporting? Well, older for me would be anyone 55 or older. There are many older women in my area who are making the change because they are tired of spending the money for relaxers and they like the cuteness and ease of a TWA.
7. How do you primarily wear your Natural hair?
With my work schedule, it is most comfortable for me to wear a protective style, like 2 strand twists, and either put them on rods or pin them up. I experimented with wearing it out this summer.
8. Favorite products and/or product line?
I keep it very simple. Shea Moisture has been my basic product line for now. I also use GroHealthy NOTHING BUT Clarifying Shampoo between co-washes and Dr. Brommer’s liquid castle soap (occasionally). I make my own hair and scalp oil with 3 parts raw shea butter to 1 part either coconut oil or olive oil.
9. Any words of wisdom or encouragement for other Older Naturals already Natural or thinking about it?
Beyond all the benefits of wearing your hair natural (lower risks of harmful side effects of chemical relaxers, no permanent damage to scalp, healthier hair, less chance of losing hair etc) my advice for women of any age is to just be happy and accepting of who you are. The hair on your head was made for you. It’s specifically yours, like your eyes, nose and other features. Going natural can be a metamorphic experience; it can begin a journey of getting to know yourself on a different level. So be patient and kind about it. Oh, and most importantly, everything does not work for everyone. Take time to find what products and styles work for you. Older sisters, that salt and pepper TWA is so hot!
I have to thank Alecea for sharing with us and I am grateful for her story. She mirrors me in a lot of ways especially doing the Big Chop before we even knew what it was and just how liberating it felt afterward. You feel free! She's beautiful and I love her hair. We also share a product line....Shea Moisture. I am all over it and very pleased too.
Check out my new feature next Monday which is my Older Natural Feature day. Come and share your story with us as well.
Take care Naturals,