Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I really had no interest in going natural. It kind of just happened the day I decided to color my hair. Relaxers made my hair paper-thin but I thought it was the thing to do. By the time I started loving my relaxed hair, which I most often wore in a roller wrap or roller set, two weeks had passed and it was time for my routine visit to the salon. About 2 years ago I decided to do something big, something different. I cut my shoulder length hair off. I continued to make weekly visits to the salon for a wash, blow dry, flat iron, and cut to maintain my short style. August 2012 was my last trip to the salon.
Had you always embraced your texture?
No, not at all! In the beginning I was learning to manage my natural textured hair and straighten ends damaged by bleach. It was all trial and error. I recall crying but there was definitely joy and growth in the journey.
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?
Through this process I have learned that some forms of racism and prejudice still exist. Some people are just mean, make inappropriate comments, they laugh and they stare. My favorite comments and/or questions "Do you comb your hair," "Are you growing dreads or do you have dreads," "Did you stick your finger in a electrical outlet," "Well, I liked your hair better when you wore it like or had it cut like…"
My natural hair journey has taught me so much about myself and other people. My confidence speaks volumes and I love love love my tightly coiled and kinky textured hair. My boyfriend has been my biggest fan and number one supporter!
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
I am no expert by any means…LOL, but my hair is thick, tightly coiled, and curly. If I had to guess I would say Type 3C/4A. Knowing my hair type helped me research hair products and helped me identify what may or may not work for me. Because of this I turned into a product junkie. After about 8 months I now have my stash of favorites and a routine that works for me.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
It seems like it has taken me forever to master the basics. From detangling without breaking and/or pulling my hair out, to finding products that work with my type and texture. My current routine is pretty simple. I wash my hair with shampoo and deep condition once a week. Depending on the products used I may co-wash and deep condition. After deep conditioning I use a mixture of oils and massage my scalp (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Carol’s Daughter Lisa’s Hair Elixir, and apply a leave in conditioner. Then style!
Some of my favorite products are:
Shampoo: Dr Bonner’s Peppermint Oil Soap
Conditioner/DC: Kinky Coily Knot Today, Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp, Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion Leave-in, Camille Rose Naturals Algae Deep Conditioner, Babassu Butter Love DC (Brown Buttery Beauty)
Oils, Butters, and Styling: Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive Heavy Cream, Jane Carter Nourish & Shine, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Jane Carter Wrap & Roll (rods & roller sets)
How do you maintain your hair at night?
My nighttime routine varies. I am a full time RN who works in the Cardiac Medical ICU and a mother (I wear many hats). My nighttime routine has to be less 30 minutes and consistent. Twist outs are my absolute favorite and go-to style. I apply my favorite oils and massage my scalp, then make about 4 to 5 sections, spritz the ends, detangle and re-twist with gel or butter. For my second favorite style, wash and go, I typically apply oil at night and spritz in the morning.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I keep my ends moisturized and ends trimmed as needed.
What's the best thing about being curly?
The versatility! My hair never looks the same way twice and I love it.
Where can folks find you on the web?
Twitter - @mstiffynichole
Facebook – Tiffany Tink B
Instagram - @mstiffynichole