"I began getting perms at the tender age of three years old, crazy right? Growing up of mixed race, my mom had no clue how to care for my thick curly hair. She was advised to perm my hair so it would be easier to manage and care for. So, I got perms faithfully until I was in high school and then began wearing sew-ins. I wore weave for about four years and started spot perming my leave-out which eventually lead to horrible breakage. During college, I was determined to get blonde highlights and my hair stylist bleached my hair. My hair was extremely dry and brittle from the bleach, plus I didn’t know how to care for color-treated hair so it was all bad. I let my hair grow out for a while, then I began cutting it until I was ready for the big chop in May of 2015. I went short - real short! I figured if I was going to start over might as well try a new look, so I decided to cut my hair in a pixie cut."
What made you decide to go natural?
After years of perming my hair, wearing sew-ins, and then bleaching my hair, I was determined to reinvent myself and embrace my natural hair. I never knew how to care for my hair until I cut my hair off, which gave me the opportunity to learn my curl pattern and texture.
How has your family, friends and co-workers reacted? What was your response to them?
My family honestly couldn’t even tell when I wore weaves, but once I cut all my hair into a pixie cut they were shocked by how short I went. They’re pretty traditional and feel women should have long hair, so at first, they didn’t like it and would make jokes, but they’ve grown to love it.
What has been the most memorable moment of your hair journey?
Most definitely the big chop! I didn’t tell anyone I was cutting my hair, it was something I wanted to do to prove to myself that I could.
What hairstyle(s) made you feel the most confident?
Honestly, it took me a while to love my short hair. At first, I didn’t feel confident because I didn’t know how to style it, but now that I’ve been rocking my short cut for the past two years it’s definitely my favorite hairstyle yet.
What was your transitioning hair regimen?
While I was transitioning I had no clue what I was doing. I was still straightening my hair and tried wearing it curly, but couldn’t find products that worked for my hair and went back to what I knew: the classic slicked back ponytail.
What is your current hair regimen?
I cleanse my hair about once a week and use Design Essentials Natural Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Shampoo and Conditioner. Then, I dry my hair with a microfiber towel and apply a detangler or leave-in such as the SheaMoisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils Low Porosity Protein Free Detangler or Kinky-Curly Knot Today,which works great because they both provide great slip and have a lightweight cream consistency that defines and moisturizes my curls. Since, I'm growing my hair out my go-to technique is the finger coil method for poppin' curls. I have a new found love for gels and mousses and one of my favorites is the Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Curl Enhancing Mousse, paired with the Camille Rose Curl Maker. I refresh my hair each morning with the Curly hair Solutions H20 Water Bottle that I love because it’s a continuous mist spray water bottle that gives my curls life without drenching them. Then, I let my hair air dry and add a finishing spray such as the Ouidad Mongongo Oil to shine add shine and control frizz for humid Texas days. Then, to amp up the volume I grab my pick and fluff my curls.
Any advice you’d like to give other women who may be in the transition phase and need some encouragement?
Remember, direction is so much more important than speed. Don’t get caught up on what other curlies are doing, do what works for you! The natural hair journey is an infinite one that brings countless lessons and opportunity for growth. If a product isn’t working, try something else. If you weren’t satisfied with your twist out, keep practicing or try another style. Luckily, there are tons of resources and products at our fingertips so take advantage of it. Like any journey, it’s important to set realistic goals, pace yourself, keep an optimistic mindset and celebrate your progress.
Want more from Alexandra? Follow her on Instagram @queensconquer
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