Blogging mogul, and naturalista Patrice of Afrobella.com took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the CurlyNikki.com community!
Afrobella: I finally decided to go completely natural in 2002. It was right after my wedding - I got married with a haircut so low that the back of my head was shaved. I'd done so much damage to my hair that it was better just to chop it off. That last relaxer was something I did for my parents, so I wouldn't have to hear complaints about how my hair looked for the biggest day of my life! Even before the big chop and final relaxer, I'd been slowly weaning myself off the creamy crack. But every time I came close to completely transitioning, I'd go buy another box of Just For Me, because I didn't know how to truly care for my hair in its natural state. I always hated caring for my hair with chemicals, having to withstand the burn, the smell...having to spend so much time getting it set then sitting under the dryer.... so the passion for my hair didn't truly begin until I went natural and had to learn first hand what my texture actually was, and how best to care for it. It's been eight years and the passion just continues to grow deeper. It's a natural hair love affair!
CN: What is your current hair routine, and how it will change come winter?
Afrobella: Girl, I don't know how I'm gonna handle winter -- I'm looking for a thick, wooly hair sock/headband to pull it back in when I have to go out and deal with the elements! I can't find a cute hat mighty enough to handle all of my hair! But even now in Fall I'm encountering changes in my hair's needs. My curl pattern's a bit looser (and not in a way that I enjoy), and my hair is craving moisture like nobody's biz. So I've been using castor oil quite a bit. My current routine is, once or twice a week I do a quick conditioner wash and detangle with a wide tooth comb in the shower. Immediately after the shower, while my hair is still wet I use a little castor oil on my scalp. It's been helping to curb the flakes that were plaguing me! I slick a little on my ends, as well. Then I use whatever styling product I choose. That really depends on my mood and how cold it is out there...but recent favorites have been Carol's Daughter Some of Marguerite's Magic or CD Hair Balm (both are very heavy moisturizers), Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme, or Curls Souffle. Once a week I do a longer deep conditioner with my favorite oils, and I also love Ojon restorative treatment for that. But it's so expensive I only use it every 2 weeks, tops.
CN: What's in your shower stall?
Afrobella: My current everyday condish of choice is Karen's Body Beautiful, the Honey Oatmeal smells divine and gives the nourishment I need. I always, ALWAYS need DevaCurl One Condition on hand, and I've been giving Hair Rules Daily Cleansing Cream another try. Recently I tried Palmer's Coconut conditioner and it's great for a comb-through but not for my bellas who are very conscious of bad-for-you hair ingredients. I kind of put myself out there to try it all, so I understand that everything I review isn't for everybody. I'm currently reviewing Jane Carter Solution so I've got a bottle of that in there too! We recently moved into a new apartment so my new goal is to cut down on clutter. I try to keep the shower stall clean, clear and under control...but it isn't easy when you're a product junkie, haha!
CN: You have a huge following on afrobella.com, you contribute to aolblackvoices.com, and you were among the press at Fashion Week! What's next for Ms. Afrobella?
Afrobella: Next for me... well, 2009 was a big year. I quit my job, became a full time blogger, moved from Miami to Chicago, went to my first Fashion Week... so 2010 will be a continuation of that. I plan to complete my book in 2010. That's a big goal for me -- I'm working on two books, fiction and non-fiction. I'm getting back to being the writer I was born to be. I'm focusing on fitness and health for the new year, so I don't plan to set a specific weight loss goal but fitness will be at the forefront. Other than that I am staying on my grind, looking for freelance opportunities that are financially beneficial and allow me to do the kind of writing I am proud and happy to do, continuing to make Afrobella the best blog it can be and giving my readers more of what they want - more great writing on hair, beauty, music, culture and more! Oh yes -- I am starting to really love hosting events where I can meet other Afrobellas, bloggers, Twitter friends, and readers. And I WILL be back for another Fashion Week, that's a promise I made to myself. I plan to host more charity fundraising events, and I'm gonna represent for the bellas at every New York Fashion Week if I can!
CN: Any tips for transitioners, and the newly natural?
Afrobella: The best tip I can give a transitioner is, stick with it. If you're wavering in your committment, maybe you're not ready. Because going natural isn't a fad or a bandwagon you can easily jump on or off...it's a real committment. Make sure you're ready and willing to educate yourself, and give your hair the love that it needs. Mainstream haircare doesn't teach you how to properly tend to natural hair's needs. My advice to the newly natural is to read the blogs and message boards. Read Nappturality and Motown Girl, Curly Nikki and Afrobella, BVHairTalk, Mane and Chic, Hairnista, Loc Rocker, Le Coil, Thank God I'm Natural...there are so many natural hair blogs. So many resources now to learn from, get your questions answered, and find natural hair inspiration. Even when you reach a point where you may feel frustrated and not know how to handle your tangles, someone out there has an answer and inspiration for you.
If you missed my interview on AOL's Black Voices, check out the article HERE.