NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Senitra Syas: My name is Senitra Syas and I am a second year graduate student at Georgia College & State University. My field of study is Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and I am looking to one day be a program manager for a project management firm. I was natural for nine years before my first relaxer and then began my transition to become natural for the second time on September 25, 2009.

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

SS: I began embracing my curls during my transition. I had friends who were either natural or going natural, and they all encouraged me. I was that girl who would just pat my relaxed edges (to prevent burning from my future touch up) and say, “No girl. Never. I’d NEVER go natural. I like my hair straight, it’s easiest. It’s the best way for ME. Natural wouldn’t look good on my anyways.” So no, I didn’t always embrace them, but oddly enough I decided to transition directly after I had my hair fried, dyed, and laid to the side the way I liked it. After that fresh relaxer, I realized that I didn't want to be relaxed anymore! 

NC: What's your current routine?

SS: I co-wash every week and shampoo once a month. I deep condition after every wash, but every now and then I skip my pre-poos when I am short on time. I get a blowout and trim every 8-12 weeks, and flat iron about 1-2 times a year.

NC: From start to finish, on a curly day, what's your process?

SS: If it’s a wash day, I’ll do the whole nine: a pre-poo of some sort (either hot oil treatment, or the honey highlighter), and then I’ll wash, detangle, and style with flat braids. I do this in the afternoon when I have no plans to go anywhere so it can dry overnight.

When it comes to every day after my wash, I use the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method to set my curls before bed. Once I have flat braided them, I’ll put on a satin bonnet and then call it a night! On my lazier nights, I’ll pineapple my hair and then sleep on my satin pillow case.

NC: What are your favorite hairstyles to wear with your curls?

SS: Currently, braid-outs are my go-to style! I enjoy doing flat braids (or cornrows) that allow me to frame my face with my hair. When that gets old, I usually go for a high pony puff and may embellish the front a bit (with flat twists, a braid headband, etc).

In the cooler months, I usually get mini twists all over my head without any extensions. That way I can wear all of the colorful beanies I have!

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

SS: I must have my tortoise shell detangling comb, Denman brush, a good deep conditioner, a leave-in, and an oil. I consider myself a serious P.J. (product junkie) so I have a problem settling down on a particular product. I am currently using a Garnier Fructis leave-in, Eden and Tresemme shampoo and conditioner sets, and an oil from the Curls product line. 

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

SS: I actually had a family member say I was going to look like I came off of the cover of “National Geographic” magazine. He didn’t say it to be mean, he was stating it as fact (according to him), but he was too late. I was WAYYY beyond the point of being discouraged; that season didn’t last too long for me. Once I put my mind to something “that’s a wrap!” I had my moments when I would have a pity party and think that no one would love me except for my Chihuahua Roxy, but that was only in the beginning. After the first three months or so, I started getting the hang of transitioning styles, so I encouraged myself when needed.

NC: Did you big chop or transition and for how long? Did you ever have any curly girl insecurities?

SS: I transitioned for one year and three months, though the goal was two years. I just go too anxious. At the one year mark, I cut a huge chunk of relaxed ends out of the middle of my head because of sheer curiosity, and after that I was HOOKED on MY texture. It was incredible to see what my curls looked like when they were unleashed, with no relaxed ends weighing them down.

NC: What is the best thing about being curly?

SS: The confidence I feel. I just feel REAL. 100% really and fully me. No one can take my texture from me, or my genuine appreciation of it. My hair has so much to offer and so much untapped potential; it’s full of surprises, and I just love it!

NC: How do you think having curly hair impacts your life?

SS: It has done good things for my wallet, that is for sure! I used to get my relaxers religiously and I was paying $55 a pop. And I save a tone of time…I used to travel over two hours for touchups! 

Being curly has also affected the way I feel and the way I see myself. I walk around with hair I was born with, and that makes me feel special. 

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

SS: It is more mental than anything. So many people are concerned with the difficulty of caring for natural hair, but in actuality it isn’t harder…it just may take a bit more time. For some people, curly hair care is stressful. However, if you give yourself time to love and appreciate your hair, it’ll make caring for your hair that much easier, and even potentially fun! 

 You can find Senitra on YouTube!