NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!

Raquel Ford: My name is Raquel Ford. I'm 25 and a mother to two beautiful children and I live in Brooklyn, NY. I enjoy reading, writing, eating and enjoying time with my family.

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

RF: I was on a different social networking site, babycenter.com. I would log on and see threads about haircare, routines, and naturalists. I was curious as to what this "natural haircare" topic was all about.  After reading many posts and watching YouTube videos, I realized it was a journey that I wanted to embark on, but I didn't know how. I was so accustomed to relaxers — I'd had them since age six or seven — so if I went four months without a relaxer, my roots were very difficult to work with. I always went back to using a relaxer, but I felt the urge to stop.

NC: What is your current routine?

RF: I twist my hair at least once a week. I also co-wash the majority of the time, when I allow my hair to be worked out. I love wash-n-gos.

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

RF: On a wash-n-go day,  I co-wash with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner. I leave the conditioner in my hair until right before I get out of the shower, when I rinse with cool water. Then I immediately add a leave-in conditioner (I'm currently using Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream). I follow that with Tropic Isle Jamaican Coconut Black Castor Oil or, on occasion, Ampro Pro Styl Olive Oil Gel.

MORE: 

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

RF: My must-have products are SheaMoisture Retention Shampoo, SheaMoisture Restorative Conditioner, Tropic Isle Jamaican Coconut Black Castor Oil, Ampro Pro Styl Olive Oil Gel, and SheaMoisture Curl and Style Milk. My favorite tools are my Denman brush and my Conair wide tooth comb.

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

RF: I love wash-n-gos, twists, braid extensions, and twist outs.

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

RF: I spray my hair with water until it is damp, apply a leave-in conditioner and some oil, and then put my hair bonnet on. Other nights, I either apply a deep conditioner or conditioner, the Tropic Isle Jamaican Coconut Black Castor Oil, and a plastic cap. Then I wrap a scarf around my head.

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

RF: My family thought I was joking. My boyfriend said, "No." People I associated with thought that I was crazy!

NC: Did you big chop or transition, and for how long?

RF: I transitioned for about 3.5 months. I applied a relaxer in September 2011 and I big chopped in March 2012.

MORE:

NC: What is the best thing about being curly?

RF: The best thing about being curly is the freedom to express myself however I want AND I can jump in and out of the shower and wet my hair. I love this!

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

RF: Being curly has impacted the decisions I make about hair products and how I've changed my lifestyle as a whole. I am not vegan or anything, but I do make thoughtful decisions before I try a new product.

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

RF: I tell people that it feels better to know your hair than it does to have chemicals taking over your hair and your body. I explain my choice and my reasons for wanting my hair in its natural state. Natural hair is a blessing and if you take the time to get to know your natural hair, you can improve the health of your hair and you will have newfound freedom!

NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects!

RF: I am currently taking classes online at The University of Phoenix for a Bachelor in Human Services. I thought the classes would be easy, but I found that they are much more extensive than I expected! I am also keeping a blog and using YouTube to document my hair journey.

MORE:

Shea Moisture

Raquel's Favorite Products