Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I have been natural all my life. Growing up my parents told me that I couldn't get a relaxer because they didn't want to pay for the upkeep it requires, so I had to go without one. As I got older I started to realize that I even though I had my own money to pay for one, I really didn't need one so I just stayed natural.
Had you always embraced your texture?
I did not always embrace my texture. It was difficult growing up and going to school with all the other girls who had relaxers. I was envious of the styles they wore. I was going through middle and high school in the early 90s and I remember wanting the finger waves and the French rolls that the girls used to wear back then. My parents used to let me get my hair pressed on special occasions, but it wasn't the same. I didn't start liking my hair texture until I got older and started to experiment with it more.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? How did they react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My family has always been supportive of my decision to stay natural. Growing up, I was surrounded by family members who were natural and I believe that played a big part in my decision to stay natural also. Friends on the other hand were a different story. A lot of my friends would say things like "you would look so much prettier if you had straight hair" or they would ask "you still don't have no perm yet?!" It annoyed me because I felt pressured at times to get a relaxer just so I could fit in and be like everyone else. My response to people now who ask me if I will ever get one is simply, "No... I don't feel that I need to get a perm, my hair is fine without one."
Describe your hair.I believe that my hair falls in the medium category, meaning my strands are not thick and they aren't fine either. My hair looks thicker at times because of how it reacts in the humidity. It has a tendency to swell (I live in a very humid state). I get a lot of shrinkage when it is wet - almost 80%. The porosity of my hair is low but when my hair is well-moisturized it has a cottony feel and appearance to it. I try to keep my hair routine simple. I wash my hair every two weeks with SheaMoisture Moisture Retention Shampoo (the gold bottle), and I condition with Infusium 23 Moisture Replenishing Conditioner. If I need to do a deep condition I will use Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner. Then I will style my hair in two-strand twist, and wear those for about two weeks. I style and moisturize my hair with Qhemet Biologics products. I rotate between the Alma and Olive Heavy Cream and the Burdock Root Butter Cream depending on the weather. I also use the Aethiopika Hair Butter as my sealer/pomade. Olive oil is what I like to use on my scalp if I am experiencing any dryness.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
Every other night I will spritz my hair with water, moisturize/seal and twist my hair up. Then I will put a satin scarf or a satin bonnet on. I don't like to sleep with loose hair because my hair tangles very easily.
How do you maintain healthy length?
Keeping my ends trimmed is very important in the health of my hair. I can see such a big difference in the health and appearance of my hair when I keep my ends trimmed when I should. Moisturizing properly and wearing styles that allow me to keep from doing my hair everyday helps keep it at a healthy length too. I believe my hair is at its best when I keep it sweet and simple :)
Find more of Samantha on Instagram @SDW8029