Meet Tobia St Germain from Brooklyn, NY (Crown Heights), born and raised. She's a city girl at heart!
Why did you decide to go natural?
I was natural as a kid but was always envious of the girls with the long bone straight hair and the girls with the big bouncy curls. When I was younger my mother refused to relax my hair, she kept it in cornrows during the week and a big puff on Sundays. On very rare occasions my mother would let it out in an afro but the fear of tangles kept that a bay. In college, I rocked my natural hair in an afro for a year but due to a lack of knowledge for caring for it, I watched as my hair got smaller and smaller. Junior year I decided to texturize so that I could get the big ringlets…FAIL my hair continued to break off. Six months later I decided to relax my hair. Let me just say nothing like what I expected, my hair was flat and thin—I had to keep it in a short cut to give it the illusion of volume. The middle part of my hair just couldn’t handle the chemicals and I developed a bald spot, moved on to a texturizer, bald spot grew larger, got fed up and gave up on the chemicals.
Probably the best decision of my life so far was going natural. It feels great to wear my hair the way it was meant to look and not having to conform to the singular ideal of beauty society has created. I am obsessed with natural hair now! My last texturizer was October 2011 and since I haven’t had the urge to return to the creamy crack haha!
Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was definitely a long term transitioner (4 months—is that long or short haha), just couldn’t bring myself to BC. I used sponge curls during the transition stage so that I could deal with the two different textures.
How would you describe your hair?
It’s really hard for me to pinpoint my hair texture; I have a little bit of everything. The back is looser with very defined curls while the crown is very kinky and the driest part of my hair. My hair is very soft and fluffy. If I had to give it a number I would say it’s a combination of 3C/4A and 4B. The section of my hair where I had the bald spot is 4C but also the part of my hair the now grows the fastest…interesting how that worked out huh LOL
How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My family was very supportive of my decision to go natural. My mother’s hair is locked; my little and older sister both have natural hair so it was more like I was joining the club. My 10 year old niece, whose hair is texturized, now wants to go back to her natural curls “I want my hair to be big like auntie Tobie’s”. There have been a few people who do not understand why I transitioned back to my natural texture and even a few who have suggested that I relax or at least flat iron my hair. My response has never changed, I will not apply heat or straightening chemicals to my hair, you either like what you see or you don’t. If you don’t then you’re better off moving on because this is me and I’m not changing who I am!!
What's your current hair routine?
When I first transitioned I was such a product junkie, I would buy any product used by a friend or blogger. I no longer had space on my dresser or medicine cabinet; I live with my father and didn’t realize I had a problem until he began complaining that he had no space for his shaving cream in the bathroom haha. Now I focus on the products that work for me. My hair behaves better when I use less. I no longer shampoo my hair; I find that it dries out my strands and that my hair is never as clean as I would like it to be.
I co-wash and deep condition my hair every week. I start off by detangling my hair with a mix of conditioner (Treseme Smooth & Silky), olive oil, jojoba, and tea tree; I section of my hair with six clips and rinse out each section. I then follow up with a homemade DC (honey, rosemary, aloe vera, and an egg), I often leave the DC in for five hours, sometimes overnight depending on how lazy I am. When I wash out the conditioner, I follow up with Treseme Moisture Rich Conditioner, rinse it out and then I sprits on my leave (Treseme Leave In Split Remedy), apply coconut oil and then twist. Once a month I will wash my hair with a beer, olive oil, and water mix, before the wash I prepoo with coconut and peppermint oil and then follow up with the conditioning process!
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you're short on time.
I love when my hair is out and about. I do not like protective styling on my hair because I get bored and easily miss my fingers in my hair. I usually opt for a twist or braid out and since they do not take too long for me to do at my hair’s length they are my go to style. I usually add on a barrette off to the side. More often than not I let my hair do what it wants.
What must you do to keep your hair happy and healthy?
Weekly DC and coconut oil, my hair also loves castor oil. Another must-do is to prepoo my hair with the Haitian castor oil which is darker and thicker mixed in with a bit of peppermint oil.
What are 2 things your curls hate?
Not detangling and not wearing my silk scarf. I also sleep on a satin pillowcase (I travel with it hah).
How can we keep in touch?!
Tumblr: http://minusculethoughts.tumblr.com/ (Now that I have graduated and have more time, I will focus more on adding written posts!!)