NaturallyCurly: Please introduce yourself!
Ariel Maxie: My name is Ariel and I'm a senior at UT Austin pursuing a degree in marketing and in African American Studies.
NC: How and when did you start embracing your curls, or have you always enjoyed/embraced your curls?
AM: I started to embrace my curls once I got to college. While in high school, I wanted to go natural. However, my mom was still doing my hair, so that wasn't an option. Throughout my freshman year, I transitioned twice and then did the big chop that summer!
NC: What is your current routine/regimen?
AM: My current routine is pretty simple since I decided to just rock two strand twists until graduation. I usually shampoo and condition my hair with either Creme of Nature or Carol's Daughter. Then I deep condition my hair for about 30-60 minutes with a heating cap using either Miss Jessie's or Carol's Daughter. Afterwards, I detangle with my Kinky-Curly section by section, apply Karen's Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia and blow dry my hair out for more length. Lastly, I two-strand twist my hair using either Miss Jessie's Curly Buttercreme or Baby Buttercreme, Jane Carter Twist & Lock, or Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding. I do this routine every 4 weeks and usually co-wash once a week since I workout often.
NC: So from start to finish, on a curly day, what’s your process?
AM: On a curly day, I either do a wash and go or attempt to do a braid out or twist out. Personally, I haven't liked my wash-and-go's since my 1st year as a natural because my hair grows unevenly, so I try to stick to braid outs or twist outs when it's not twisted up.
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NC: What about your hair stylists?
AM: Since going natural, I've only made visits to the hair stylist once a year when I get my hair pressed/straightened to get a trim and check my length. Other than that, I do my hair the majority of the time, and get my mom to do it for me when I go home to visit.
NC: What are you favorite hair styles to wear with your curls?
AM: My favorite hair styles to wear with my curls are two strand twists. I grew up wearing braid extensions and crochet braids, so wearing my hair twisted or braided is always my preference; except now with my own hair as opposed to extra help. In addition to two strand twists, I like fro hawks and braid outs. My hair doesn't last long with twist outs for some reason, so usually when I go home, I get my mom to cornrow my hair and I'll wear that for the week and do a braid out on the weekend.
NC: What are your must-have products and tools?
AM: My two must-have tools are my wide tooth comb and my Yellow Bird blow dryer (although I probably shouldn't have this on my list). I have a Denman brush, but I don't use it very often. As for hair products, there are so many that I like! My shampoo and conditioner is usually the Creme of Nature for dry, damaged hair. I also like Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing shampoo and conditioner. My leave in conditioners are Kinky Curly's Knot Today and the Karen's Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia. Deep Conditioners are Carol's Daughter Monoi Repairing Hair Mask and Miss Jessie's Super Sweetback Treatment. My top styling products are Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme, Miss Jessie's Curly Buttercreme, Oyin Whipped Pudding and Jane Carter Solution Twist & Lock. I'm a bit of a product junkie, yet consistent with the products I use.
NC: Did you big chop or transition?
AM: I actually had two transitions before I did the big chop. During my first semester of college, I didn't get a relaxer. Instead, my hair always had a clip or in braid extensions. However, during winter break, I got a relaxer and then cut my hair in a shorter look before restarting my transition. The second time, I transitioned for about 6 or 7 months.
NC: What reaction did you get when you first decided to go natural, or have you been relaxer free all your life?
AM: When I first went natural, a lot of people didn't know until about a month or so later because I got a sew-in the day after I did my big chop. However, after the sew-in and the braids I wore after the sew-in, I recut my hair and immediately received mixed reactions. A lot of people thought it was great and admired my bold move to rock my hair that short, while I had a few family members who thought I looked sick with my hair that short. However, my hair has grown on the naysayers over these nearly 3 years as a natural.
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NC: What do you do at night time for your hair?
AM: At night time, I sleep on a satin pillowcase. That's usually as far as I get with a night time routine; however, when I'm not being lazy, I wear a satin bonnet or a satin scarf.
NC: What is the best thing about being curly?
AM: The best thing about being curly is the fact that I don't fear rain messing up my hair anymore. Also, I feel that it makes me stand out more and further express my personality.
NC: How do you think having curly hair has impacted your everyday life?
AM: The way that curly hair has impacted my everyday life is that I feel more comfortable in my skin. This confidence has helped me so much especially when dealing with some of the haters.
NC: What would you tell others to encourage them to embrace their curls?
AM: I say, just do what makes you happy. Don't let other people's words get to you. Also, transitioning can be a beast sometimes when it comes to dealing with two textures, but stay strong and be patient.
NC: Tell us about your current and upcoming projects. Tell us about your life and what you are up to!
AM: Right now, I wouldn't say that I have any current projects, unless preparing for graduation counts! When I'm not working at TextureMedia or in class and organization meetings, I'm trying to figure out what to do with my life once I walk across the stage.
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