I was not such a happy camper. My hair was a small afro and I had no clue what to do. My family was in shock and I felt a little self conscious. I started getting comb twists and tried different colors. After about two months, I noticed how fast my hair was growing and started to get a little excited. When I got around my 1st year anniversary I started to struggle. I was still learning how to deal with my hair and breaking combs left and right. I went to salon after trying to convince someone to give me a relaxer and I kept getting the same reply- “You do not need one, your hair is beautiful”. That was not helping me. I told my mother (who would always say 'why don’t you get a relaxer or do something to calm your hair') that I wanted to get a relaxer. Her response was “why would you do that you should stay natural”. At that point, when my mom wasn’t begging me to get a relaxer I decided to stick with it and I am so glad that I did. Natural hair is so much more fun! I’ve colored it, had mohawks, frohawks, short styles, longs styles. I get compliments all the time from people of all races and genders. People often stop me and ask if my hair is real or if they can touch it or take my picture. My hair is so healthy now. I will never go back to relaxers!
How long have you been natural?
I went back natural in 2003.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I transitioned initally because I wasn’t ready for a big chop, but since then I’ve done plenty of chops.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most difficult part was learning my hair, what works and doesn’t work.
What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
Some of my favorite styles during transitioning were flat twistouts, roller sets with flexi rods, braid and twist styles. Now I love creating my own pin up styles, twistouts, bantu knot-outs, flexi rods and just combing my hair out and rocking a fro. In the winter I sometimes straighten it to see how long it is.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
Overall being natural has been a wonderful experience. I’m always getting messages asking tips on how to transition or what products to use from family, friends or random people.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I wash my hair with Muscadine 20 cocoa mango shampoo and conditioner https://www.naturespearlproducts.com/2s company, apple cider vinegar and sometimes I use Garnier Fructis pure clean shampoo. I make my own mixture for a deep conditioner: castor oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, tea tree oil, olive oil, peppermint oil, almond oil and rosemary. When I twist my hair, I like to use a mixture of shea butter, honey and a little oil. (sometimes when I’m in a rush I will use a hair milk or shea moistures and just add a little honey). I have a small spray bottle, part water part olive oil; I use this at night to lightly mist my hair before putting on my satin bonnet.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
Youtube (natural hair care) http://kinkykurlysistas.com/hair-care, curlynikki.com, http://www.essence.com/hair/, and the natural hair community on instagram.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Healthy hair is about healthy eating too. It is very important that you eat healthy. Eating healthy promotes growth and healthier, stronger hair. Don’t be discouraged if your hair doesn’t do what other people's hair does. Have patience, everyone's hair is different. Google and youtube are great resources for natural hair care tips and overall healthy living. Be you and be great at it. You are beautifully and wonderfully made!
Where can people find you for more information?
I am on facebook (Tiandrea (Tia)Lewis), instagram @theysayimsomethingelse