What is your hair type?
What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
My hair was straight until I turned 12. I am bi-racial. My father is Bajan and my mother is Filipina. When it started to transform from straight to curly it really confused me and I had a hard time taking care of it. It was so much for me to handle that I threatened to cut it all off because I was so frustrated. Instead, at the age of 12 years old, I begged my mom to take me to a salon for a perm.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly/coily/wavy hair?
At that age of 12, all you want is to fit in. Being different made me the topic of discussion. Some people started calling me Mufasa from "The Lion King." When I got a perm all of that changed. I loved having straight hair and the compliments, but it saddened me that after I washed my hair, it was back to being curly. I felt like I was sold a dream that would never come true. So after battling it for three years, I decided to let go and embrace what I have, instead of trying to conform to society’s beauty standards.
How have your family, friends and co-workers reacted? What was your response to them?
In 2008 when I transitioned, my family and friends were very encouraging. It made the process easier to know that my support system was on board.
How did you transition to wearing your natural texture?
I admit that during the beginning, I wasn’t happy with the two different textures and I would resort to still using the flat iron. After gaining more knowledge through forums, I did protective styles during that time. My two main styles were twist outs and braid outs. Every couple months I would trim my relaxed hair little by little until all the relaxed hair was gone.
What is your current hair regimen?
My hair products are forever changing because I am a product junkie, but the process is the same. I am a fan of the condition-wash-condition method. This is where you condition first to detangle. Then you wash your scalp and let the cleanser go down the length of your hair to get rid of buildup, then lastly you deep condition. This method has helped me tremendously when it comes to the amount of time I’m in the shower. I have less shedding and fewer tangles and single-stand knots, which are the devil. After the shower I follow the LCO method. Or during the summer I add a gel for more definition.
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a big impact on the way your hair looks?
One word: shingling. This method changed my life. It gives crazy amounts of definition and makes all my curls uniform, which I love. This is where you take each individual curl and smooth and twirl it around your finger. It takes forever because it makes hundreds of curls around your head, but it is so worth it. When I style this way it will last seven days.
Any advice you’d like to give other women who may be in the transition phase or need some encouragement in their hair journey?
- Step 1: STOP heat all together. Find the protective style for you. I loved twist and braid outs but you might like braids or wigs. Also focus on getting a protein and moisture balance in your hair.
- Step 2: Get a routine going that caters to your hair needs and stick with it for no less than 30 days. See what works and what doesn’t and make adjustments accordingly.
- Step 3: Trim or cut off damaged hair that can’t be repaired. There is no point of hanging on to hair that isn’t healthy.
- Step 4: Patience. Nothing worth having is easy. Enjoy your journey, get to you know hair, and listen to it.