Hairstimony by Casundra Johnson
1. Tell me about your natural journey.
My natural hair journey begins in 1999 flipping through one of those black hair magazines, trying to figure out what my next hair style was going to be. I came across a picture that screamed do me, do me, do me. It was a picture of woman rocking bantu or “love” knots. This is where my dream to be natural began. I always had a affinity for women rocking natural hairstyles like Erykah Badu, India Are, and Jill Scott. They just seemed so free, so authentic, so real.
Fast forward 12 years to my decision to become natural. I set a goal to start my natural journey when I turned 30. 30 seemed like the perfect time to make such a big change. Well 30 rolled on by and I still didn’t have the guts to it. I suppose the Universe felt my desire and started to push me towards that way. Right after I had my second child, I started having an adverse reactions to perms. My scalp would burn and was very irritated. My hair started shedding and my hair started looking unhealthy. So in October 2012 after receiving a perm that burnt so bad I wanted to cry, I made the decision —NO MORE PERMS — well at least for a year! I promised myself I would give it a year.
There’s so many dynamics that go into decision like this. For starters my husband is not keen on natural hair. He is the very straight, narrow conservative type. We have totally opposite personalities. But I suppose that what makes a mesh so well. In fact, I’m not even sure he would have given me the time of day back when we were dating if I was natural. With that being said he still supported my journey because he has known how long I’ve wanted to do it. And at the end of the day you gotta do you! Didn’t have the guts to do the big chop —although my suggestion to anyone who wants to transition is to do it this way, it’s a lot easier. But who I am to say. I never had the guts to do it. I chose to wear several braided hair styles throughout the year. There were several times after taking out the braids that I asked myself what the heck am I doing!
I remember one Sunday I didn’t go to church because I had taken my hair out on Saturday night. I washed it and went to sleep on wet hair. I woke up the next day and my hair was matted. I couldn’t comb it through, brush it or anything. I looked a hot mess. I just cried. What was I going to do. Fortunately my hair stylist, did an emergency call to my house and helped me out. Apparently unknown to me it is a cardinal sin for naturals to go to bed with wet hair without detangled and braiding up. What did I know?
2. What was the transition process like for you?
Transitioning is never easy I think, because we are tied to our hair. As African American women have especially have complex issues regarding our hair. I was one who was known to have mid-length long hair. I had always gotten compliments on my hair for its length and healthiness. It was especially hard for me to leave that. Even now, 1 year and 3 months later I am still adjusting. It has taken me a while to wear it out in a full fro without slicking it back in afro puff. You have to get use to yourself looking like that. I’ve watched 100’s of youtube videos learning how to do my hair and work with. And it is a learning process, especially since the last time I’ve dealt with my natural hair has been since fourth grade.
3. What has been the best ans worst thing about this journey?
The most unexpected thing about a natural is how much I love it! It’s hard work and styles take a lot longer to do. I can no longer just wrap my hair up and go to sleep. It’s hours to twist my hair up for a style that may last 2 days. But it is so me and who I am. In my spirit I have always been a natural. That’s how I feel about hair in general. It’s just an expression of who you are. I would never knock anyone whose not natural, it may not be them. If you are natural, you know it. It’s in your spirit….it’s calling you. If you decide to answer the call just remember nobody told ya the road would be easy! I can tell you it was worth it.
Whats your Regiment Rollcall?
My favorite products:
OBI Naturals curling custard: My all time fave for wash-n-go and slicking back edges for afro puffs
Shea Moisture: I love all products cost effective too
As I Am: Deep Penetrating Mask conditioner (AWESOME best conditioner I have ever used)
As I Am: Co-wash great if you are wetting your hair often.
Splendid responses from Casaubdra Johnson. Catch her buzzing around our natural world teaching us to love our hair and body through juicing. Visit www.juiceyourfro.com. I am currently on her 30 day juicing regime.