Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I was planning on transitioning for as long as possible!! I had seen many a YouTuber grow out their hair to a length they were comfortable with, cut, and keep it moving. I got my last relaxer in July of 2009, just a few months after my daughter was born. Her hair was (and still is) so beautiful and inspiring, then discovering CurlyNikki.com sealed the deal! I successfully transitioned to natural for 13 months, and did my big chop in August of 2010. I actually was not ready to cut my hair, but something had to be done. My family and I were gearing up to go on vacation that same August, and I was not trying to fool with my hair. Ain't nobody got time for that! So off with those relaxed ends!
Had you always embraced your hair texture?
Absolutely! I had been through too much trying to grow it out, so to not like what I was given to begin with was out of the question. All I knew was that I finally had curls! Curls that didn't come from a curling iron, rod set or straws. They were mine, and grew out of my head. Now, I wasn't too crazy about my length when I cut it initially... but it was only temporary and I quickly got over it. I rocked the mess out of a wash and go puff though, you couldn't tell me nothin'!
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? How did they react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My husband's aunt did my big chop! I consider her to be more of a sister, because we are so close in age. We were both on natural hair journeys, so she was more than happy to cut my hair. My husband told me he supported my decision to go natural and didn't make a stink about me cutting my hair. He was a trooper, because I know good and well he did not like my length! But the longer it got, the more the compliments came rolling in and the rest is history. I love that man.
My dad would joke around and ask me if I was going to grow dread locs, he plays too much. I didn't get too much negative feed back from family and friends now that I think about it! It was a unanimous "Soooo, this is how you're wearing your hair now?? Okay, then!" My two younger sisters thought I was crazy, while they never said anything bad about my hair, they made a point to say they wouldn't dare go natural. Guess what? They both went natural last year! I know at first my mom freaked out, and couldn't believe I would just cut all my hair off. She was not on the natural hair tip then. I wasn't worried, I told her my hair would grow back and be even more awesome...just wait and see. Now I'm helping her grow her hair out, she hasn't had a relaxer in over a year.
Describe your hair.
She's a brick...hoooouse. Haha! Kidding. I would say my hair is pretty thick. Coarse, not fine. A mash-up of kinks, coils, and curls. I have practically no curl definition in the front of my hair, it's more wavy than anything. The curls in the back are picture perfect, tight and well defined. I battle dryness and breakage on the regular. Shoulder length when worn curly, and just above my bra-strap when I straighten it. I actually made mid-back length in January of 2013, but cut 4 inches off due to trashy ends.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I conditioner wash my hair once a week. My staple co-wash product is Cream & Coco's CocoMallow Cowash Bar. I then finger detangle with Giovanni's Smooth as Silk conditioner, but I do not rinse this out. I apply a few pumps of Carol's Daughter Monoi Oil Sacred Strengthening Serum to my entire head and now my hair is ready to style. My staple style is a braid-out. Even when I'm bunning, I set my hair in braids to stretch it. To style my braid-outs, my favorite products to use are Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel or Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I always ALWAYS seal my ends with shea butter, then voila! I air dry all day or overnight then unravel the braids and fluff my hair out the next day. I moisturize my situation 3-4 days later using Camille Rose Naturals Moisture Butter, and then I re-braid. I'll spritz my hair and scalp with Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in practically every day as a refresher, and because the stuff smells so darn good! I'll shampoo/clarify my hair once a month with Carol's Daughter Monoi Shampoo, then deep treat with B.A.S.K. Beauty's Vanilla Whiskey Repairative Hair Soak.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
If I'm too lazy to re-braid, I just put my hair in a low pony or pineapple. I always wear a satin scarf, and sleep on my satin pillowcase.
How do you maintain a healthy length?
I do my best to keep up with moisturizing my hair. Dry hair leads to breakage, and breakage can hinder your hair growth goals. I'm a firm believer in low manipulation, I try not to mess with my hair too much. I may show out and rock my braid outs in public when the occasion calls for it...but at home? I stay braided up, scarfed up, and bonnet on! My husband hates it, but hey, it's always darkest before the dawn hunny! *two snaps and a twirl* I wear the infamous 'mom bun', especially to work. I do try and keep my ends tucked away when need be.
What's the best thing about being curly?
Being curly has brought the best out of my appearance! I feel sassier and dare I say, sexier, with my natural curls. I get many a compliment and it just makes me so happy that others love my hair just as much as I do. Talk about a confidence boost! Curly hair is so fun, it just has a personality all its own and it just takes you over.
Where can folks find you on the web?
Follow me on Instagram: @Pretty_Curl_Swag
Check out my YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MissTenesha623