NidiaNaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself! Nidia Daniels: My name is Nidia Daniels. I am a twenty-something and a proud South African Coloured.

NC: How and when did you start embracing your curls?

ND: I started embracing my curls in April 2013; I changed my mindset before taking any action. I started transitioning but then got frustrated at the lack of information for girls transitioning after heat damage. I then did a big chop in June 2013 and decided to keep it short for six months. My last big chop was December 19, 2013. 

NC: What's your current routine?

ND: I'll wash once a week and co-wash if I have product build-up between washings, which happens often. NC: From start to finish, on a curly day, what's your process?

ND: I will wash my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo, followed by conditioner. Then I will do a mini LOC method with Twisted Sista Leave-In Conditioner and coconut oil. Then I use either Twisted Sista 30 Second Curl Spray or Curl Activator. Finally, I press my hair down with a satin headscarf and leave it to dry and set.

NidiaNC: What are your must-have products and tools?

ND: The basics are sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, a wide tooth comb, an old t-shirt, coconut and olive oil, Easy Waves banded pack, Twisted Sista products, a satin pillow and headscarf and LOTS of patience!

NC: What about your hairstylist?

ND: I do not go to salons (if I go at all) that do not know how to treat curly hair.

NC: What do you do at nighttime for your hair?

ND: Before my big chop, I would pineapple my hair. Now I just sleep on my satin pillowcase or spray Twisted Sista 30 Second Curl Spray before covering my hair with a satin headscarf. 

Nidia HairNC: What reaction did you get when you first decided to go natural? 

ND: Some people did not understand why I cut off my bra strap-length hair and others liked my new, shorter hair. The natural movement in South Africa is very slow and pretty much underground, so people don't really know what I mean when I say that I am going  natural. I always have to explain my journey. 

NC: Did you big chop or transition? For how long?

ND: I transitioned for a while but I did not find relevant (South African) information and products that applied to me and I didn't know anyone that was going natural, so I didn't have a lot of support. I also discovered that there is more information for curly girls transitioning from relaxers than for those embracing their curls after years of heat styling. But three weeks after discovering NaturallyCurly and a week after my 22nd birthday, I big chopped.  

Nidia

NC: What is the best thing about being curly?

ND: It is less effort because I don't have to keep my hair straight until my next wash, and I don't have to dodge water! 

NC: How does having curly hair impact your everyday life?

ND: It's a lot to manage, but also so carefree.

NC: What would you tell others to encourage them to embrace their curls

ND: Equip yourself with a lot of information and patience before taking the actual step to big chopping or transitioning. Know that not everyone will understand your natural journey, but don’t let it get you down. Expect to grow as an individual. I had a no-nonsense, über confident and chic side  that emerged once all my hair was cut.

NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects!

ND: I am currently interning to get my (Marketing Management) diploma. I have blog where I am documenting my hair journey and sharing information with South African girls that is relevant to our market and I am also trying to put together information on a social learning platform to help newbie curly girls in South Africa. We do not have nearly as many hair products for curly hair, so providing information is my key focus. I would also like to start a curly community for other South African girls and I am collaborating with another young woman that will help me bring this to life.

If you are an American girl reading this and you are struggling with your hair, count your blessings! You have so many products available to you. Transitioning was very difficult for me because I wanted all the products that you have in the States...we don't have as many to choose from. So far Dr. Miracles Curl Care and Twisted Sista are the only complete curly hair product lines that are easily available to us. The rest are just hair sprays and curl activators. I am still on a quest to find great curly hair product lines in South Africa!

Want to know more about Nidia? You can find her on her blog or on Twitter.