"My name is Melissa, and I've been natural for 2 years. Prior to doing my big chop (12/31/11), I transitioned for 9.5 months. I decided to go natural because I wanted to improve the condition of my hair. When I was relaxed, my hair "looked" healthy, but I wasn't able to grow it pass a certain length without experiencing a lot of breakage. Subsequently, whenever I grew my hair out, it looked thin and fragile, which caused me to keep my hair cut in a bob. And, to be honest, I love short and sassy hairstyles, but I don't like feeling trapped; I like to have options when it comes to my hair (if you know what I mean).
My last relaxer was in March of 2011, and in April of that year, I met a natural who's hair was bone straight. I was addicted to straight hair at the time, so when I realized you could be natural and have straight, HEALTHY hair, I was sold (have cake + eat)! As you can see, I started off desiring to maintain my straight look. That quickly changed when my best friend challenged me to fast the flat iron for 6 months. During that time, I fell in love with my curls, and now I only straighten my hair once a year.
Going natural has really impacted my life. Being someone who struggled with low esteem growing up, it was just want I needed because it boosted my confidence. I no longer feel like I have to modify or change my appearance in order to be beautiful. It's one thing when others can see your beauty, but it's another thing when you discover it for yourself. It's priceless.
Hardships With Being Natural: The only hardships I've faced are learning my hair (which is an ongoing lesson) and other people's opinion of my hair. I wish I could say that the latter didn't phase me, but it doesn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. It might agitate me for few minutes, but then I'm over it. I guess when you love something enough, other people's opinion carry very little weight.
Go-To Style: I love wash-n-gos!
Favorite Products: Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner (detangler), As I am Coconut Co-Wash Conditioner, Camille Rose Naturals Algae Renew Deep Conditioner, Paul Mitchell's The Conditioner (leave-in), and Eco-Styler Gel." - Melissa