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October 11, 2008

About Me...


 
"If You're Not Feeling Your Hair, You're Not Feeling Yourself..."

CurlyNikki.com was created to serve as an online “hair therapy session” for those struggling to embrace their naturally curly hair. It not only serves as an educational tool, but as a platform for each of you to share your experiences, frustrations, and triumphs of being Naturally Glamorous.

A few accolades-
  • Best Selling Author of 'Better Than Good Hair' (Harper Collins, 2013)
  • Among Essence's '35 Under 35 Young, Black and Amazing'
  • Multiple features in the New York Times, Huffington Post and on CNN.com
  • Featured in O Magazine, Ebony, Essence, Parents, Black Hair Mag UK, Seventeen, Sister 2 Sister, The Guardian and many others
  • Named by Black Enterprise as one of the web’s most influential voices
  •  Conducted nearly 100 celebrity interviews including Tracee Ellis Ross, Chaka Khan, Raven Symone and Wanda Sykes.  
  • Pens a popular column for ESSENCE, called 'Ask CurlyNikki'. 
  • New York Times journalist and radio host Jamila Bey, coined Nikki, ‘the modern day Madame CJ Walker’.
Among other topics, CN features community and celebrity interviews, styling tips, how-to videos, product reviews and inspirational stories.

I'm a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and hold a masters degree in Psychology. In my practice as a psychotherapist, I regularly counsel women through depression, low self-esteem, and image development. Hair comes up more than you think. My mission here is to provide balance between physical beauty and personal esteem in a way that defies societal norms-- providing Hair Therapy to achieve real hair, real beauty and real self-esteem! Hence the RED COUCH.

My approach to natural hair is a little different. It is neither a political statement, nor a 'back to nature' movement. It's simply one part of a fabulous, healthier lifestyle...an extension of our beauty. Making natural hair chic is the name of the game! 

Below, you will find 'My Hair Story', which will catch you up on why natural hair quickly became my passion.

**To check out a clip from my appearance on the Tyra Banks Show, CLICK HERE.
**For more pictures of my hair, CLICK HERE.
______________________________________________________

I was born in Florida in 1983 to two wonderfully caring and supportive parents. A year after my birth, we moved to St. Louis, MO, where my little sister (not so little anymore) would be born. I had an amazing childhood, but an awkward adolescence that was plagued with self-esteem issues tied to my thin frame and my not so hot, hot-combed hair. From 10-16, I went to a salon every two weeks, or once a month to have my mid-back length hair blown out and hot combed straight, with LOTS of grease. (prior to age 10, my mother and grandmother took wonderful care of my hair- it was washed and conditioned only once a month, kept in braids and grew to waist length). During my early teen years, my hair never looked the way I wanted it to- it would revert almost immediately and end up in a frizzy, greasy, poofy mess. I'm sure some of you can relate- if you're not feeling your hair, you're not feeling yourself. It's sad but true. I wanted BONE straight hair, and I couldn't seem to get the silky results my relaxed cousins and friends had. I felt that although my hair was long, it was only okay at best. My parents banned relaxers in their household-something I was annoyed with at the time, but completely understand and appreciate today.

Finally, late in my junior year of high school, my sister and I began going to a different salon. This place had new technology, lol, they had young stylists, and even more important, they had flat irons (and no grease in sight)! It was awesome! I went back to school with new hair, a new attitude, new sexy glasses (my old ones were nerdy, lol), and new found confidence. I felt pretty...still skinny, but pretty. My hair was silky and flowing in the wind and nobody could tell me nothing! Senior year went very well- I was getting my wig flipped once every two weeks, completely unaware that my once healthy bra strap length hair was disappearing before my eyes. By the time I went off to college my hair was a shoulder length bob...but as long as it was bone straight, I didn't care. Apparently the sporadic press and curls with lots of lubrication, were better for me than regular flat iron sessions on product free hair (my beautician clarified my hair at every session and didn't use a leave-in, to give it that silky look).

I met my would be husband at Truman State University, a small liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere (seriously, all we had was a Super Walmart). We actually met during freshman orientation week- the rest is history :0) It was his prompting that first inspired me to begin wearing my hair in its curly state. He witnessed (in agony) the rise and fall in my self-esteem and mood as my hair changed (from straight to poofy) throughout the month. Since we were in school 3 hours north of St. Louis, I could no longer go to the salon on a regular basis. To make matters worse, my beautician passed away (I know right? She was only 35.Sad.) and I felt like I was up a creek without a paddle. My boyfriend was able to get me home about once every two to three months to get my hair done, and in the mean time, my head (to me) was an absolute wreck. I didn't know what to do with it! I'd never even washed my own hair, and I was totally unaware that I was suppose to be moisturizing it in between visits. Needless to say, my hair remained shoulder length during most of my 4 year undergrad career.

One night, my boyfriend sat me down and told me that he'd been observing me during our two years together, and that my mood seemed to be directly correlated with the current condition, or look of my hair. He thought it was unhealthy, and proposed that I start doing my own hair and wearing my natural texture. I knew he was right. Hell, I was a psych major. It wasn't healthy, but it didn't make it untrue. In the words of TLC, I felt 'unpretty' when my hair wasn't perfectly straight. And since my hair doesn't grow out of my scalp that way, I would always be unhappy and somewhat insecure until I learned to accept and love my hair for what it was MEANT to do. I took his advice. Well, sort of, lol.

In my junior year, I took matters into my own hands and purchased a Solia flat iron from folica.com. It was a God send, or so I thought. My hair was FLYYYY! And I could keep it looking fly...all the time...everyday....all day. It turned into an obsession, and I was using the damned thing once a week, sometimes more. In the beginning, for some reason, my hair flourished. It grew out from shoulder length to armpit length and it seemed to be doing quite well. It felt good to be able to have my hair done for every party, and every formal. Fast forward to the end of my senior year in college- I began two-strand twisting my hair with brown gel, rocking twist-outs and wearing puffs. I wore my hair out a couple of times, but I was very self-conscious (imagine- I combed mousse through wet damp hair...not a good look), and generally uncomfortable in my own skin. I'd alternate the natural styles with weeks of flat ironed hair. As time went on, I actually felt more comfortable wearing the twist-outs and puffs- I didn't have to worry about humidity, and they were easy to do. Plus, the curly hair made me feel special :0) I felt like I stood out from the crowd. Before I knew it, senior year was over and my soon to be fiance and I were off to graduate school, more than 800 miles away in the beautiful state of North Cackalack.
College Graduation 5/2005


It was the winter after undergrad that I discovered and subsequently became completely addicted to naturallycurly.com. I was in the first semester of my graduate program at UNC Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and trying to adjust to new surroundings. I was still alternating between straight styles, twists, and puffs, but all the while very interested in learning about and achieving healthy natural hair that rocked! The women of nc.com (Natakue, Eccentric, SuSu, Portae, Suburbanbushbabe, HeatherNicole, Subbrock, and too many others to name) provided me with invaluable information, unconditional support and inspiration. Unfortunately, I was still in the mindset that when I needed to attend job interviews, weddings, parties or anything 'important', my hair NEEDED to be straightened. I only wore my natural hair, when I was 'bumming'. Sad, but true.

In late 2006, I stopped flat ironing regularly. I decided that I was going to accept who I was, and so was everyone else! Since I stopped straightening, I no longer needed cones, so I adopted the Curly Girl method. Boy oh boy, did my hair begin to break! The cone-y products were hiding the years of damage- the repeated 400 degree flat-ironing sessions, the three highlighting experiences, and my ZERO moisture routine. My head was a mess. I had white dot breakage everywhere. My hair snapped off in bits and split like crazy. No products on this earth would've stopped the breakage- I had to suck it up and deal with the consequences of my actions. The women of nc.com and nappturality helped to nurse my hair back to health. I cut off the damage little by little- my micro trims continue to this day.

Fast forward to 2008 :0) I haven't flat ironed since Valentine's Day 2007 and before then, it had been 6 months or so as well, and my hair is truly thanking me for it. Almost all of the damage has grown out, but the ends remain weak (I have about 3-4 inches of color left), and I still conduct bi-weekly search & destroys. I'm finally retaining length, and I couldn't be happier. Live and learn, right? I will never color again, and it's highly unlikely that I'll straighten again (at least not regularly).

My husband loves my natural hair and actually requested that I wear it natural on our wedding day! I almost cried, because I thought he wanted to see it straight (he likes it straight too, and its been a while!). He has been nothing but supportive, and truth be told, HE is the reason I found the confidence to go natural. He made me look inside of myself and see that the cause of my psychological distress was my irrational belief about how my hair 'should' be. My self-awareness of this fact coupled with the education I've received from various forums have helped me get past the negativity. Unfortunately, everyone wasn't as accepting of my decision to go natural, but I'll have to save that story for another day :0)

Later Gators!
~CN~
My parents and sis
Truman crew

Daddy and I

The Hubs and I



251 Chime in!:

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Ms. Chance said...

Thank you so much for sharing your hair story! I've been natural for over six years but only recently discovered these online communities offering encouragement, support and tips on how to have your best hair. I hate that I have missed out on years of healthy nourished hair but I thank God that I found sites like yours before it was too late.

Shannon said...

If I had known you were in Raleigh, I definitely would have been there :(. Your hair is so beautiful and healthy, you're my hair shero. I decided to go natural right after my pregnancy, I'd gone the last 3 months prior to having my daughter without having a relaxer. It was Summer and as you know the weather in NC isn't always so friendly AND I was pregnant... it was frustrating. Maybe 2 weeks after having her, around Thanksgiving I decided to get a relaxer and haven't had once since. I BC July 3rd and I'm struggling to figure out what's right for my hair, but your site helps me so much. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting an information overload but it's always better to have too much rather than not enough so thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Just now, September 8, 2011 I watched a you tube video from your site...flat twists by koos. It was my second time watching it. This time I saw just the first few minutes of part 1 to find out the products she used. And when I returned to my phone a half hour later, a pornographic image of a women's backside was penetrated by a white penis.

I was able to rest my wallpaper but don't yet know how to remove the image from my phone.

Affordable Insurance said...

What a great hair story! Thank you for sharing and inspiring us to be ourselves- naturally. I am currently fasting from the flat iron and struggling to find styles.

Affordable Medical Insurance said...

What a great hair story! And, you have beautiful hair! I am a white mother to a biracial daughter and I plan to teach her to love and embrace the beautiful natural curls that God has blessed her with!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki,I love your website, I wish that I've known about it before. I have naturally curly hair. Ive just chopped it all off because I had such bad breakage and damage from years of perms and dying my hair. My hair is currently the length of Chisette Michelle's hair. I would like to know are there any hair growing tips that you may have? Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki,

My co-worker just told me about your website and I thought I would browse through. You are a beautiful lady. I need a little advise regarding my hair.

I have short hair which is very light especially when I blow dry my hair. I want to start locking my hair but I am not sure if I should do small twist locks or sisterlocks. I tried the medium size twist lock and because my hair is light, the twists were really fine. Please let me know which locks would fit me more.

Jubair Rahman said...

It was a great story. We all had known about the variations of your life. You would like my site

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki, Im Sheryll..Just wanted to say I LOVE your hair...im currently in the transition stage and its TERRIBLE!!! I have no idea what products to use or even what the texture of my hair is. Just took some braids out and im sitting on my bed not wanting to wash it because i know the drill. I've been natural for about a year but haven't done the big chop yet..idk if i want to or if i should...also im wondering is the BC the only way to achieve great natural hair...Ps..i usually do trimmings every 2-3 weeks.

Mechelle*Christina said...

Heyy...!!! Just to start off I love your hair and your hair story. I feel that your hair story is very similar to mine..To be honest, I am sick of pressing my hair. I have been doing it since 15 and now that I'm 20 I want to try something new.. But I do have a few questions..I never have had a perm so will transitioning be easier?What products are best to use?And how do I overcome my theory o straight hair is better?...please help!!thanks :))

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! What a small world. I went to high school with your husband, Eugene...I did not know that you were from St. Louis...and went to Truman..what a small world.

ToniRox said...

Sooooo inspiring!

Top Water Softeners said...

I forgot to say how lovely your wedding pix are. Marriage is wonderful, enjoy it and I pray God's blessings for you and yours!

Natural Babydoll said...

Nikki, your hair story is inspiring. I have to say I agree with your hubby more you shine with your natural hair. Good luck love your site.

Chelsey said...

As I am sure you've heard plenty times before, your story is very inspirations. I am close to the end of my transitioning and I am loving my natural curls. However a major problem with me is CONFIDENCE. This fall I will start my freshman year of college and coincidently I want to major in psychology and go on to become a psychologist. It will be hard adjusting from my local natural hair stylist to doing my hair on my own. I will look to your blog for guidance and support through my natural hair journey.

shan said...

I have been viewing your site for about a month now. I decided to begin my journey of going natural in August. I haven't had a relaxer since July 2011. I didn't know what I was going to do, so I started researching online. Up until now I have been getting my hair flat ironed. I am proud to say that I wore my firt transitioning style today. I did the bantu knots but they looked more like a straw/rod set. I was impressed and I got a lot of compliments at work today!! I downloaded the forum app and I will follow you on twitter. Thank you for this amazing site!! I am learning a lot:-)

Malibu-Barbie said...

I absolutely love this hair story! I have a very interesting one of my own....one day when I have time I would love to share it here. I never really realized how much self esteem has to do with our hair until I hear our African American children talk about their hair....it's so sad! I'm 3 years natural & couldn't be happier with my decision...

Kinkynaturalme said...

umm hi CurlyNikki, I'm naturally curly and i recently had the biggest break through with my hair three days ago (02-tuesday7-12). I'm just so fed up with my hair and the result of it when its wet and when i do twist outs and any other twisting braiding style.I need help I made up my mind cutting my hair, and i been using so many products to see what actually works for y hair type. I'm doing the CG method, for 2-3 weeks now, i recently yesterday bought a new condish i can stick to when i cut my hair. I can across SAY YES TO CARROTS. i love it so far. my hair it still a Lil dry and crunchy i guess form using other hair products. My edges are rough and don't have a curl pattern, and i have splint end city and single strands knots all over my hair. What can i do?? Its much more but, i don't want to over whelm you.

Ieshia (kinkynaturalme) said...

I don't know EXACTLY what my hair/curls are suppose to feel and be(look), but i know my hair should not look and be the way it is when its wet,dry,natural style or what ever. I wanna use coconut oil for hair growth and castor oil for thickening the hair and continue to use the yes to carrots condish for moisture. I don't know what to do with my hair hopefully what I'm doing will give me some hope, i don't want to give up on my hair,any suggestions

jenna said...

Dear Curly Nikki, I'm African I have tightly coiled curls... cockscrew curls, I guess. I used to have natural hair but then I texturised it and it looked like a perm so I started perming after that. Now my hair is short and straight and I'm not really comfortable with it. I can't go back to natural because it isn't manageable... HELP!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have been trying to tame my curly hair for most of my life, and I was looking in the wrong place for advice. No one in my family has curly hair and growing up, my mom always told me to go brush it. Now that the grey is coming in, I want to stop highlighting it, stop brushing it and let it get long. I always thought people at work would think I was crazy--with my crazy hair. But I look at other women with curls with absolute admiration and affinity. Starting my DC tonight.

Anonymous said...

your natural hair is absolutly beautiful! i would never straighten it!

LW said...

Hey Nikki (or anyone else that has input)
Can you tell me how many inches your hair is?

While I'm digging my natural 4a (about all stretched) more than the thin relaxed day, I still find my self wanting to achieve 'the hang'.

I've been in box broads for three months now and I'm wondering if I should shoot for more length or go back and re evaluate products or twist out procedure?

I'm thinking a bit more length is the answer so I just wanted to get A length to shoot for as I keep the braids going a bit longer.

Thanks!

Lena said...

Your so Beautiful, and I love your site.. After speaking to many natural women and doing my own research, I've decided that I will be going natural in the Spring of 2013. My have fine, relaxed hair and I just can not take it anymore, that I am going to wait til after my wedding this year, to go natural. Your tips are so helpful, even though I am not natural yet but I have an idea of everything now.

Anonymous said...

I despair when I see hair as beautiful as yours-happy for you, sad for me. For years I wore a weave. My stylist should have encouraged me to stop since my hair was so fine.I lost tremendous amouts of hair every time the weave was redone, but she kept redoing it, so I dthough it would get better.n 2008 I'd had enough & started wearing wigs in hopes that my hair would grow out.It hasnt grown much & although it's filling in, it's still quite thin.It's curly, but straightens out after a few brushings. It cant hold a style so I truly cannot wear it out. I'm too embarrassed to go to the salon, so I care for it and pop the wig on when I go out.Even my husband hasn't seen my hair in years only my dermatologist.I know he loves me unconditionally but I just cant let him see it. I feel hopeless and sad whenever I look at my hair.Any suggestions?

Tamoniva said...

Such a beautiful and touching story.

Anonymous said...

Great story--thanks for sharing (all this time and I've been reading your site and never heard your story)! And I think it's awesome that your husband has been so encouraging and supportive of you rocking your natural locks.
-Amber

Chelsea92 said...

First off, let me say I love the fact that you went to school in NC. Personally, I am an East Carolina University Pirate, but I love UNC as well! I have been thinking of going natural for a while, but I'm not sure about doing the whole 'big chop' thing. Any advice?

Simone said...

Awesome story - brought a tear to my eye especially when I saw how beautiful you looked on your wedding day! I LOVE your natural hair!! Go girl!!

I'm still trying to love my natural hair (that's now grey but I colour it - I'm too young to be feeling old!) - it's not 'curly', or straight - it's just wavy and to me it's just frizzy if I leave it natural... I'm going to be spending time on your site to find ways to help... I love wearing my hair in braids and twists and often enjoy the no-heat waves/curls the next day...

I am inspired by your story!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki
I love your site...its my favorite natural hair site! you have such beautiful hair and your tips are great! id like to share my hair story: I went to a salon to get a retouch for my japanese straightened hair. she did ALL of my hair and not just the new growth. after that my hair kept falling out. I didnt know they called it transitioning, but I grew it out. i felt some soft curls underneath but i ignored them and sometime later used the conair steam straightener to straighten them. worst decision ever. it made it soooo damaged... i decided to go natural. i cut off all my straightened hair in january. now its 4 months going strong. ive been trying to find info and styles for natural hair. im glad i found your site. it encourages me to see others trying to achieve healthy hair. thanks alot and keep it it up! ^_^

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki
I love your site...its my favorite natural hair site! you have such beautiful hair and your tips are great! id like to share my hair story: I went to a salon to get a retouch for my japanese straightened hair. she did ALL of my hair and not just the new growth. after that my hair kept falling out. I didnt know they called it transitioning, but I grew it out. i felt some soft curls underneath but i ignored them and sometime later used the conair steam straightener to straighten them. worst decision ever. it made it soooo damaged... i decided to go natural. i cut off all my straightened hair in january. now its 4 months going strong. ive been trying to find info and styles for natural hair. im glad i found your site. it encourages me to see others trying to achieve healthy hair. thanks alot and keep it it up! ^_^

Apryllove07 said...

I love your story!!! I have recently started to completely go natural but I have been running into a lot of issues. My hair is really thin! So twist outs...braids outs etc don't work for me. I havent had a relaxer in over a year. My natural hair is just a little bit curly. Not sure what to do but I really want natural healthy hair.

Samantha Dawson-Williams said...

I loved your story, CN. It is true that women's "self-confidence" is almost always tied to how they look and they includes their hair. I think you have a wonderful husband who helped you to see that you are beautiful just the way you are. :)

I wanted to comment on another post where someone said he/she thought it was "just another hair story". I was so annoyed by seeing those words that I HAD to post. And this is my first post on curlynikki.com. There is NO such thing as "just another hair story". How everyone got here is THEIR journey and an important one because it brought them to the decision to embrace who they are as God created them. I look forward to reading more stories in the future and I love the CurlyNikki website! :D

Anonymous said...

sorry im sooooo late into this "natural hair thing" but i loove your story!! i have never had a perm either and im going on 30yrs old and just now learning how to take care of my own hair! i have been getting my hair pressed/flat itroned since as long as I can remmember! then one day my dude told me that i wasnt natural because i have been having my hair straightened almost all my life! So for the last month I been asking all these questions to different women an they all said the same thing "YOUR NATURAL IF YOU NEVER HAD A PERM" but since i have been washing it now (3x's a week) i have notice my hair dries out straight so now im at a stand still when will my natural curl form? and does that mean i can never get my hair straightened again? is there a way to have healthy natural hair???

D_nieIIe said...

Hello. I'm Kyra. I'm 15 and i'm naturally curly, but have half natural and half relaxed hair. I started getting relaxers when I was 11. The reason why I got a relaxer in the first place is because I had no idea what to do with it. I was the first biracial baby in the family and my mom had no idea how to style it. she asked all around but nothing worked. Being in elementary, I got tired of doing my own hair at age 10. I went to great clips and the lady cut my hair so unevenly that i cried an went to get a relaxer. Anyways, so now i'm waiting for the back of my hair to get even with the front so i can BC, because i used to straighten about 3 times a week. The breakage in the back is awful

Nikolean said...

Hello! First thank you for sharing your story.

I'm thinking about going natural but I'm worried about how it will affect me in the workplace. Right now I have a relaxer but I haven't had a touch up in 6 months.

In high school I went through every phase from naturally braided hair to relaxed. After graduating from college I discovered WEAVE and oh did we have a whirlwind love affair. That is until a bad experience with a stylist who braided my hair much too tight caused me to have a huge patch of hair fall out.

My hair has since grown back and is very healthy. About a year ago, I became a pescatarian (vegetarian who consumes fish)and began to focus on everything that I put into my body. I guess hair is the last frontier for this lifestyle change and I just don't know where to begin. Everyone keeps using the term "BC" but I'm not sure what that means.

How does a conservative 26 year old make the transition without jeopardizing her progress in Corporate America?

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki!
I just found your site and I love it! Your hair is beautiful! I decided at the age of 50 to toss the creamy crack away and after wearing twists long enough to allow for enough new growth I have done the BC. And now I'm embracing my inner curly girl and I love my hair and I look forward to reading more and getting info from your site.
thanks
Rebecca
(Go Heels!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki,

I'm 20 and I've been natural until 18, then I decided to texturize, now I'm trying to return to my natural texture because I do not know how to care for texturized hair. I know my natural texture. I'm currently 8 months post texturizer and I'm interested in the henna. How is the application process?

BusyB said...

Wow, I never how much natural hair is a movement and a Big part of your self esteem, and self awareness!! I love it and I havent had a perm in a year, I am officially natural and loving it, I look forward to learning more about products and events and people and blogs and more, oh and to also spread the word!! Great Job Lady&& Thankz a Bunch!!

LadyByrd said...

ALL that beauuuutiful hair!! Why on earth did you EVER think you needed to do anything except let it BE! Bless your little psycho heart mind and soul. LOL!! I'm loving my 'naptchural me" more and more and moooore er'day, chic. U look goood and it shows!

Nita_Red said...

Hi Nikki,


I have always wanted to go natural but I am scared that my hair will not turn out how I want it too. I have been relaxing my hair for so long, that now my hair goes crazy when I don't perm it. I love your testimony about your hair. What should my first step be?

Hilary B. said...

aww, this is my first time reading this and I love it. I've been reading your blog for a couple years now. It's been a great source of information, inspiration, and encouragement. Thank you!

Reese said...

I reread this every time I feel like giving up on my hair. Just great to know that someone else went through what I'm going through and made it. So thanks chica! :-)

Sydney said...

Great photos and great story! I just love this site!

Cordelia Wright said...

I really enjoy this site. I have to say it's about time you saw beauty in your hair as you are more fortunate then most with the tresses you were born with. Stay blessed x

Miss Bee said...

Keep up the GREAT work!

shadow said...

This site gets me through everyday!

tarheel said...

You are so inspirational! I stumbled upon your site for the first time today, and I'm so glad I did! I am an undergraduate student at UNC Chapel Hill going through this same struggle. You have no idea how glad I am to know that someone else understands completely, especially a fellow tarheel!

G said...

Beautiful.

Ashlee said...

Your hair is AMAZING!!!

Ren said...

i almost cried at the end when you were speaking about your husband

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