Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why? (tell us your natural hair journey)
I initially attempted to transition, but I wasn't very successful at that. I was using the right sort of products and the right techniques, but the incessant breakage got to me, so eventually I big chopped in December 2009.
Had you always embraced your texture?
I think so. I didn't necessarily hate my natural hair, I was just clueless on how to care for it properly. In addition, getting perms, extensions and weaves was like a rite of passage for young girls in Nigeria and probably most of Africa, where I grew up.
Many schools had strict regulations on hairstyles and many of them, including my high school, insisted that female students wear their own natural hair in a low cut - now known as a TWA. This is why it was customary for many young girls, upon graduating from high school, to break out the relaxers, extensions and weaves as a form of passage into the adult world.
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?
I am the youngest in my family, so they probably thought I was going through some sort of rebellious stage - lol. They initially blew it off as a brief fad that would pass in time. However, many of them are not only coming around to idea of seeing me with my natural hair, they are also beginning to embrace their own natural hair too.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
My natural hair consists of a lot of delicate, fragile, fine, medium strands. I have a good growth rate, but my poor strands are so delicate they are very easily prone to breakage and shedding, which makes it look like my hair isn't growing at all. My most vulnerable areas are around my hairline and my edges - the strands there are so delicate and they break off so easily. In fact, when a product or regimen isn't working for me, my edges/hairline is the first area that will show signs of damage.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
I believe in three things for successful care of natural curly hair. 1) Knowing your hair and what it can handle, 2) knowing what techniques are right for your particular hair type and 3) knowing what sort of products are suitable for your particular hair type.
My hair absolutely hated cowashing and I suffered significant hair loss from long-term use of this method, so I had to scrap that regimen. My hair also hates shampoos - even the SLS-free ones, which are still too drying for my hair. I learned from a French cosmetologist that soap should never ever be used on the skin or hair, especially NOT on natural curly hair. She was absolutely right - my hair hates any hair cleanser with soap (ie surfactants). So I only use a SLS-free and of course soap-free cleanser to clean my hair.
My hair also detests protective styles like mini braids, mini twists, extensions and weaves. I lose handfuls of hair, regardless of how gentle the stylist is.
Stuff my hair likes: being left the hell alone! I practically live in loose wash & goes, puffs, buns and updos. The second I put in twists or braids (especially the small ones left in for 2 weeks or more) my hair starts protesting via tangles upon tangles, with several sides of breakage. Ugh!
I use my product line TLC Naturals because the range is all natural, minimally processed, chemical-free, made with fewer ingredients and holistic - all the stuff my hair loves!
I wash once a week with the TLC Naturals soap-free, SLS-free, cleanser and deep condition. I generally rotate between moisturising or protein deep conditioner treatments each week. My deep conditioner is usually olive, a dash of aloe vera juice, and a banana. For additional protein, I might add black strap molasses. Non-vegans can include honey, yoghurt or eggs.
Every other day, I moisturize and seal with TLC Naturals products and butter the ends of my hair at night with a natural hair butter. Once or twice I week, I would do a baggy or GHE (Green House Effect) treatment using the TLC Naturals Grow It hair growth products. This helps to significantly minimize my shedding and breakage, improve my length retention and generally help with healthy hair growth.
However, because I wear my hair in loose hairstyles most of the time, it can attract fluff and get dirty very quickly. When this happens, I simply have a quick tea rinse, using diluted ACV + nettle tea.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
My night bedtime regimen consists of buttering the ends of my hair, rolling it into two buns (this helps to protect the ends of my hair and stretch it out a little), and donning a satin scarf.
How do you maintain healthy length?
Maintaining length is such a task for me as my hair strands are delicate, fine and break off so easily. A few little habits have gone a long way in helping me maintain healthy length, including:
• staying away from protective styles - seriously, it does my hair more harm than good
• staying away from chemicals in my hair products
• using the TLC Naturals Grow It hair growth products.
What's the best thing about being curly?
Once you have the basics down, caring for natural curly hair is actually a breeze. Simple regimens and simple natural products can be a curly girl's BFFs.
Where can folks find you on the web?
Chic With Kinks is my online space where I share my natural hair journey, as well as my little adventures with my kinks...amongst other things.
TLC Naturals is my product line where I aim to provide real natural solutions to real hair and scalp problems. With a background in holistic wellness and herbalism, I strive to create products that don't just make hair look good, they actually improve the quality, health and length of the hair over time.
My product line: TLC Naturals - http://www.tlcnaturalsonline.com