Blog Guest: Nicole Barringer ♥
Describe yourself in 100 words or less. I’m a natural Jamaican girl that loves the Lord and loves to make people smile and laugh. I love vlogging, researching, traveling and simply spending time with my family and friends. I also love to cook and try new recipes when I have free time on my hand. I’m very dedicated to my online jewelry business and believe that one day I will be able to walk away from my 9-5 and work for myself full time. That is a huge goal of mine.
How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural? Wow I’ve been natural for about 11 years. The last time I had a relaxer was in 2001. At the time I stopped getting relaxers because it was too time consuming and I was tired of my scalp burning. I had no intentions to wear my hair curly, so I simply flat ironed my hair bone straight every two weeks.
Did you transition or big chop? I transitioned from relaxer to all natural years ago, but it wasn’t because I wanted to go natural. Like I said at that time, I still wanted to wear my hair straight. Then in 2009 I decided I wanted to finally embrace my natural curls and stop flat ironing my hair. It was much harder than I thought. Even though I didn’t have a relaxer, I had been dyeing and frying my hair to the extreme so I had an immense amount of heat damage. It was so bad that when my hair was wet, it was almost totally straight, barely a wave much less a curl to it. It took about two years of laying off the heat, deep conditioning, protein treatments, gradual small trims and babying my hair to get it back healthy, full and curly.
How did others (family, friends, colleagues) react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? How do they feel now? At first a few people were like we prefer your hair straight. Especially in the beginning when my hair just looked a mess. I truly went through an ugly phase trying to nurse it back to health. Throughout the past few years though, my hair has come a long way and I’ve actually inspired some of my friends and family to embrace their natural curls. Even my sister (who is obsessed with straight hair) has been wearing her hair curly and it looks gorgeous on her.
What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle and how have you dealt with it? My biggest challenge was two things. First, it was being patient through my ‘ugly transition phase’ and accepting that one day i’ll have my natural curls back and this is only temporary. The second challenge was finding products that worked for my hair. I was truly a HUGE product junkie and it took me while to understand what ingredients was best for my hair type/texture/porosity and thickness. I now know exactly what my hair responds best to.
What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural? I love that it looks unique and it is not perfect. Some days my hair is huge and frizzy and other days it’s tame and really defined. I love that it makes me stand out. I love that I don’t obsess over it looking a certain way. I also love how easy it truly is right now to take care of my hair. I don’t fuss over it like I used to years ago.
What is your current regimen? I wash my hair once a week with a sulfate free shampoo, usually Sheamoisture Moisture retention shampoo. I then saturate my hair with conditioner (trader joes nourish conditioner, sheamoisture reconstructive conditioner or tresseme naturals) and I detangle with my tangle teaser brush. I then rinse my hair out and apply my leave in of choice (either kinky curly knot today or shidanaturals cream moisturizer) Depending on the time of year/weather, I then either seal with coconut oil or I use kinky curly curling custard gel. I then allow it to airdry. I am normally able to get 4-5 day hair when I do this. Every night I sleep with my hair up in a pineapple and a satin bonnet. The next day i’ll refresh by spritzing a little bit of water and adding a little bit of coconut oil to my crown area. About once a month, or as needed I’ll do a deep conditioning treatment and I’ll steam my hair with the huetiful hair steamer. This just keeps it moisturized.
What is the product “you cant live without”? COCONUT OIL. It is the best thing since sliced bread!!! It penetrates my hair shaft and keeps it nice and soft and moisturized. I also use it on my skin from head to toe. It is the best skin care and hair care secret out there.
What is your “go to” style ? A simple wash n go or a high bun.
How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it (salon, DIY, straight, curly, in twists)? If you go to a salon, would you recommend it (if yes, please feel free to give the name and location to help other naturals in your area!). These days I probably get a trim about once or twice a year. Since I’ve been caring for my hair and keeping it moisturized and covered at night, I don’t have a big problem with split ends. When I do get it trimmed or cut, I go to Rashida aka Shidanaturals. She is part owner of the salon KinHairitage salon & spa in Pleasantville New Jersey.
Do you have a “hair inspiration”? If so who? I of course love Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair. But that’s a given lol. I also love YouTuber SunKissAlba’s hair as well. It’s kind of similar to mine.
Where can we find you online? I have a YouTube channel and my name is IvyCharlaine. I also have an Instagram profile under IvyCharlaine and my online jewelry website is www.ivycharlaine.com Basically everything is under IvyCharlaine. That’s my middle name 🙂
What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey? I would say just do it!! For the first time in my life I actually LOVE my hair. I never knew I had these curls, thickness and volume underneath all of that terrible heat damage. You just have to have patience. It took me over 2 years to truly see a big change in my hair and I’m so glad that I stuck it out. I’ll never turn back 🙂