I never really experimented with my hair. Relaxers and braids in the summer. That's it. There was never any negative talk about my hair growing up, I just thought chemical relaxers were part of general upkeep and "girl things". From the age of 6 to 18, my hair was relaxed. But after over a decade of struggling to love my flat, straight hair, I realized...my hair probably does a lot more than this. Going natural opened me up to experimenting with styles, cuts, products, and even color. I've been every shade except pink!
What made you decide to go natural?
Half choice, half circumstance. Towards my later teenage years, I realized I was going to the salon and (1) asking for a relaxer or press (2) and then asking for curls to be put back in because I lacked volume. Basically, I was paying for a relaxed curly fro and that made no sense, but I didn't know what else to do. I got my first sew-in for senior prom and didn't take care of my hair at all. Swimming, sports, and all the other near-graduation activities = my hair broke so badly that I had to chop lots of it off. So I thought college would be the perfect time to make a change. I didn't know much about my natural hair texture, but I knew it had to be better than this! I didn't know what I was doing, I just knew I was going to stop getting relaxers and have braids for a year or so. Midway through, nerves got the better of me, and I got another relaxer. Fail! But second time's the charm and I eventually did the big chop when I was about a sophomore in college. While I suspect lots of girls were natural, I seemed to be the only one actually wearing my hair out at that time!
How has your family, friends and co-workers reacted? What was your response to them?
The main reaction from family: "is your hair...done?" From friends: They actually all took turns cutting a piece of my hair when I big chopped in my dorm room! Coworkers: I was an intern at NaturallyCurly.com at the time so of course everyone was hype.
What has been the most memorable moment of your hair journey?
Interestingly enough, it wasn't my initial big chop. It was my second one! After growing my natural hair out for a few years, experimenting, trying to keep up with length checks and product reviews, I cut my hair into a taper. Just chopped it off in my bathroom. And now I think I finally look like myself. Short hair don't care! Also: dying my hair all the colors of the rainbow. I never know how things turn out. Sometimes it's a fail, sometimes it's a win! Memorable either way.
What hairstyle(s) made you feel the most confident?
Since my hair is short, I don't really style it, but when I get a fresh lineup, nobody can tell me ANYTHING. I am unstoppable. Get out the wayyyy *Ludacris voice*
I can decide how masculine or femme I want to look on any particular day. Snapback or headwrap? Sharp edge up or grow out my sides? My hair helps me shift between all the things I'm trying to serve the world! *twirls*
What was your transitioning hair regimen?
It was in braids most of the time! When I would experiment with products on loose hair, I quickly became a fan of Kinky Curly Knot Today.
What is your current hair? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
Pretty simple regimen of detangle, wash, condition, and style. Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle to detangle and Alikay Naturals Black Soap Shampoo to cleanse. I love deep conditioners, so I rotate a bunch! Obia Naturals, Camille Rose Naturals, Brown Butter Beauty...I love trying new masques and treatments. Then on soaking wet hair, I quickly run leave-in conditioner through my hair. No shingling, raking, etc. I usually use Kinky Curly Knot Today, Camille Rose Coconut Water Leave-In, or Brown Butter Beauty Leave-In. Then I run a loose/slippery gel through my hair - the Bumble Gel Oil is great! Then - SHAKE!
Here's my hair routine
Any advice you’d like to give other women who may be in the transition phase and need some encouragement?
Thankfully, the social media-driven natural hair movement is nearing a decade old. You are no longer at a loss for information! We've pretty much blogged, recorded, and shared everything you need to know. Hit up Google, sis! We gotchu!
What inspired you to go natural? We'd love to hear from you, comment below!
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