When ESSENCE.com’s hair and beauty editor Deena Campbell did the big chop earlier this year, I was both excited and intrigued. Her hair looked amazing and even she seemed more vibrant. I also recalled the first time she decided to “go” natural. The experience had her running back to a relaxer just months after the process began.
Now that she has been rocking her naturally textured tresses for almost a year, I caught up with Campbell to find out what made her current hair journey a success. Read on to find out what she said went “wrong” the first time and what she learned to make it right the second time around.
Hype Hair: What made you say ‘eff’ it the first time you tried to transition?
Deena Campbell: The first time I decided to “go natural” I did it for the wrong reasons. I felt pressured because many of my close friends were doing it, and I thought it was something I should be doing too. But, my heart wasn’t in the right place. Sure, I wanted healthy hair and that fab Tracee Ellis Ross hair, but I wasn’t in the place to truly accept my natural curl pattern.
I wanted my curls to look loose, wavy and super bouncy, and when that didn’t happen, I fought it. It was such an adjustment physically and mentally and I just wanted to give up. So, I did. I even wrote stories about how “being natural wasn’t for me,” but in reality it was — and is. I just had to be in the place to accept me for me.
HH: What do you wish you knew before?
DC: I wish I knew that curls instantly give you more style. Sure, straight hair is great (and I may even go back to wearing it straight at some point), but there’s something about curls that gives you immediate cool-girl vibes. And, I’m all for that.
HH: What was different the second go-round?
DC: The second time around, I was ready and willing to accept whatever my curls wanted to do. And, honestly being a Beauty Editor at ESSENCE really helped. My readers embraced their natural curls in ways that I loved, and I knew for sure it was possible for me to do it as well.
HH: What did you learn about your hair, and yourself, in the process?
DC: Patience! I transitioned for 8 months and I was patient with two different textures. I finally big chopped and I had to be patient with what seemed like “slow growth.” And now that I’m [almost a year] post big chop, I’m learning to be patient with one side growing faster than the other. The entire process has been about embracing my curls in whatever stage they’re in. And, even that process takes patience, too.