Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m a full time college student with a fluctuating budget, mood and regimen to boot 😀
How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I’ve been natural for 13 months and 19 days (I BC’d on 3 September 2011). I decided to go natural mostly out of curiousity. I hadn’t seen my hair since I was 9, and I couldn’t remember the texture of it. I wondered if I could wear my hair without a relaxer, and what it’d look like. So I made it my 2011 New Year’s resolution. But, I didn’t know where to start, so I got a relaxer on 8 January 2011. However, I was doing research for a chemistry project, and one of the ingredients I looked up inadvertently led me to a natural hair website (TightlyCurly.com), and thus began my journey.
Did you transition or big chop?
I kind of did both. I planned to transition for two years, but after eight months, I was so frustrated with my texture that I just chopped it off. I had about 4-5 inches of hair stretched when I chopped.
How did others (family, friends, colleagues) react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? How do they feel now?
My mom was reluctant to let me do it, because she told me that I had “nappy” hair, needed a relaxer, and wouldn’t have hair that looked like a “mixed girl’s” hair. My friends thought I was crazy, my extended family thought that I was insane and teased me. The only support I had was my sister. I’m not a very (verbally) outspoken person most of the time, so I just kept quiet, cried myself to sleep some nights, and just continued to do what I needed to do. Now that I have some length, I’ve shut 99.99% of them up. My hair went from the middle of my hair to below collar bone length in a bit more than a year, and it looks healthy and is continuing to grow. Nobody thought that I would make it this far, and now most of them admire my hair. My friends do get annoying at times because they try to give me advice, but for the most part, I don’t receive flak for my decision any longer.
What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle and how have you dealt with it?
My biggest hair challenge has been consistency! I have no problem keeping my hair clean, detangled, moisturised, etc. but keeping up a regular regimen is my problem! I have to wash weekly due to my scalp, but oftentimes I get so busy studying and doing other things that I don’t finish the rest of my regimen. It’s quite frustrating, but I’m working on it. The biggest obstacle has been my self-image. In the beginning days of me being natural, I was often discouraged because it seemed like people hated my hair and guys would ignore me. As I’ve grown and matured in the Lord (and in my hair journey), I’ve gained a better perspective of myself and my hair, and I notice less and less what people think about my curly tresses.
What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love the flexibility! I can wear my hair curly, straight, picked out in a giant ‘fro, blown out, twisted out, braided out, henna’ed, dyed…any way I feel like! I didn’t have that freedom or luxury when I had relaxed hair. And I enjoy being able to walk in the rain with my hair out and not freaking out about the moisture 😀
What is your current regimen?
Ugh. This is what’s been kicking my butt. But, here’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks (this is only for fall and winter, btdubs. This would be way too oily for my hair in the spring and summer):
1) Pre-poo/DC overnight with Aussie Miraculously Smooth Conditioner, Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Moisturising Conditioner or (a recent favorite) Nubian Heritage EVOO & Moringa Repair & Extend Treatment Masque. Cover with plastic cap/bag. Rinse out thoroughly in the AM with warm water.
2) Cleanse scalp with Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo or (a recent buy) Paula’s Choice All Over Hair & Body Shampoo. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
3) Condition & finger detangle with Herbal Essences Honey, I’m Strong Strengthening Conditioner (LOVE this!) or Suave Professionals Almond + Shea Butter Moisturising Conditioner (amazing slip!); rinse out with cool/cold water.
4) Moisturise with Nuance Raw Honey Color Protect Conditioner or Nubian Heritage Repair & Extend Detangling Leave-In Conditioner and seal with Nature’s Way Pure Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
5) Install 35-50 two-strand twists, adding more Nuance and EVCO to each twist as needed.
That’s it! I’m doing the twists because I have very fine strands, and they do better when they’re protected instead of out in the dry autumn air. I stretch them at night by banding them, and in the morning, I either release them and go, or pull the back section into a little ponytail and do a pompadour or twist on the front. It’s very low maintenance, and perfect for me during the semester when I have limited style time in the mornings.
What is the product “you cant live without”?
My coconut oil! Specifically, the Nature’s Way brand because it’s extra creamy and actually smells like coconuts 😀 My hair loves coconut oil; I can use it as a prepoo, leave in, and styler (of sorts), and it just works wonders. It’s amazing!
What is your “go to” style (share a picture of it, if you have one!)?
Two-strand twists! I always seem to be wearing them and trying to find new ways to style them lol.
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!).
I don’t make a habit of trimming my hair on the regular. I’ve only trimmed it once since my BC, and that was just to get rid of some ridiculously straight ends that looked suspiciously like my relaxed hair (they weren’t; the hair in that section just grew in less curly). I did it myself with a pair of trimming shears from Target.
Do you have a “hair inspiration”? If so who?
Lots of people! I love Shelli from Hairscapades, and some of my favorite YTers are: Naptural85, LongHairDontCareLLC, MahoganyCurls, HairCrush, waterlily716, gflowers02 and LongHairDontCare2011.
Where can we find you online?
I’m a pretty active user on the CurlyNikki forums; my username there is CurlyChemist94, and I have a blog there as well. I’m not on the magical FB or Twitter, unfortunately. I don’t currently have a YT account, but I will be starting one in 2013! It’ll be in Spanish; mostly because I haven’t found very many curly hair tutorials in that language. So stay tuned for that! 🙂
What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
To the contemplator: Relax! I cannot emphasize that enough. In the beginning, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed with all of the information being thrown at you and to become a PJ (product junkie) in the process. But take a deep breath, step away from the Google search button, and try not to obsess and stress over the coily, curly, kinky or wavy strands on your head 🙂 To the discouraged: Take a step back! Oftentimes we become discouraged when our wash days get too long, our hair isn’t behaving or looking the way we feel it ought to, or styles won’t come out right. Try going back to the basics (like the L.O.C./L.C.O. method) to keep your sanity 🙂
Anything else that you’d like to add?
I love your blog! Especially the daily devotionals; they’re so encouraging 🙂
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