My name is Jonice (Nelson), I’m from the South Side of Chicago. I got my first perm when I was 12 years old and didn’t stop until I was 35. I was trained/brainwashed to believe that new growth had to be demolished as soon as it showed up. It’s funny because now my entire head is curly/wavy like new growth and I love it!
I’ve been completely transitioned to back to natural hair since 2011.
I decided to transition out of relaxers because I was tired of my hair growing to a certain point, only to find out the growth was damaged and needed to be trimmed off. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel of hair growth. I could always tell when my hair was “starving for a relaxer” because the shedding would get out of control. A friend of mine convinced me to try going without a relaxer for 6 mos. It was rough! But when 6 mos came and my hair was poofy at the roots and straight at the strands I panicked and almost went back to relaxers. I was determined to give it up though, so I opted for sew-ins until I could fully embrace the process. Once the relaxer was completely grown/cut out, I was turned on to YouTube videos and I’ve been an addicted natural ever since.
The journey has been difficult, easy, joyous, frustrating and everything in between. But I wouldn’t go back to relaxers for love or money. I love the fact that my hair has its own mind and instead of me training it, it has trained me!
What are some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
My favorite styles are ANYTHING that looks good. I like to try new styles all the time.
I have an aunt who has been natural for more than 10 years. It just seemed normal for her; she has always been trendy and fashionable. So when I decided to go natural, she completely embraced and encouraged me. My family and friends love that I was able bold enough to step out on a limb and let my hair do its own thing. I get stopped about my hair all the time, especially with the color now. It really highlights my curl pattern. People love my hair and I am always happy to run into other naturals in the product aisle at the store. The conversation is always at least 20 minutes or more, just comparing notes on what we like and don’t like. I love that my experiences (good and bad) have given me enough information to help women who are transitioning or thinking about the Big Chop. I think the Big Chop is the fastest way to natural hair, but it isn’t the only way. In my dating life, men are more open to my curly styles because I’m not limited to just curly. I can straighten my hair at any given time. I think men embrace the versatility of natural hair and are moving away from being enamored with long, flowing weaves. I think our culture in general is starting to recognize that it doesn’t matter what state your hair is in. If you’re a fly, beautiful woman you can rock whatever style you want and it will look fierce! Society doesn’t dictate what beautiful hair is when you are comfortable and confident in your own skin.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I started my YouTube journey with Ms. Vaughn, Naptural85, and Mahogany Knots. I prefer watching tutorials because I’m a visual learner and vlogs show me exactly what I need to do in order to achieve the desired look. I’ve seen so many vlogs I can’t keep up, but I’d be lost without them. This entire journey could have gone VERY left if I didn’t have access to the women on YouTube who are gracious enough to share their talents and experiences with the world.
Don’t give up!!!! This isn’t an overnight process. I still get discouraged when I think about the length of my hair, until I straighten it for a length check. Shrinkage is the devil and it will fool you into thinking you aren’t making progress. But you are! You really are! My hair hasn’t been healthier or this long in 19 years and letting go of the constant relaxers and heat has been the best decision I ever made. If you’re not sure what to do for your hair, seek help from a stylist who cares about hair health. If she/he can’t tell you or explain to you what’s going on with your hair and how to maximize health, run in the other direction. And last but not least, embrace every good AND bad hair day. It’s all part of the fun and the process of being natural. Nature does what it wants, and sometimes your hair will too.
Where can people find you for more information?
Facebook: Jonice DreaminEyes Nelson
Pinterest: Jonice Nelson