How long have you been natural?
Almost four years. I BC’ed on Dec 26, 2009 and had about an inch of hair.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
The weather! It was super humid and my hair was basically unwearable. I had a short bob so I couldn’t put my hair into a ponytail, but I couldn’t keep a flat iron job to save my life. I was flat ironing my hair multiple times a day, refreshing the style each time I went outside (in the morning, when I got to work, and when I got home from work), and it just got to be too much. I started wearing wash and gos with my relaxed hair, and eventually decided that it was the perfect opportunity to finally get my hair cut into a mohawk. So, I did that and eventually got my sides and back shaved, and then when it grew in a bit, I big chopped. I don’t really consider myself a transitioner even though I didn’t cut it all off right away because I didn’t get to keep any of the length from the time I stopped relaxing to my big chop. I tried to transition, but I was horrible with the styles, and I got really frustrated.
How would you describe your hair?
Wild, kinky, and heavy! Seriously, my hair is so heavy now. I think I would really be able to tell if I cut it off. Half the time I sit with my head leaning to the side because I have a big head and with the addition of hair it’s ridiculous.
What do you love most about your hair?
I absolutely love how thick my hair is. There was a time when I wanted my stylist to layer and thin my hair out to make it as flat as possible, but I definitely don’t feel that way now! When my hair is huge and poofed out, I just love it – I feel like I’m channeling Diana Ross and Chaka Khan!
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my hair journey has been all the research I’ve done and all the information I’ve learned about hair and natural ingredients that I otherwise would have never known. Like, why would I know the smoke point of refined coconut oil? And I think my journey has been fairly easy – I get frustrated with my hair at times (usually because of detangling), but who doesn’t? I generally try to enjoy my hair, as long as it’s acting right.
What are some of your favorite hairstyles?
I’m a wash and go gal, plain and simple. I had a period of time during my second year when I loved doing twists and twist outs, but they take too long now. When I want a fancier look, I’ll do a bantu knot out on blown out hair. I also love wearing my hair straight when the dew points are cooperating – I know that’s “blasphemous” to say as a natural, but I love variety and it’s so easy to detangle my straight hair! However, I’m very weary of heat damage, so I’ll wear my straight hair for about two weeks, then go back to curly. I only straighten four times a year or so.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
Luckily, no one has really been overly concerned with my natural hair during my journey. The biggest shock to people, I think, was when I cut all of my hair off. I have some male friends who called me bald and were so shocked when they saw me later with big, long hair. I told them, “You know, hair does grow. That’s what it does.” Silliness.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I keep my regimen fairly simple. Cleanse about once a week or when I feel like my hair is dirty, condition a few times a week, detangle about every other week. As my hair has grown, I’ve gotten pretty hair lazy, but I did recently add oil rinsing to my routine, and I really like it.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
Google is my favorite natural hair website, hands down. Yes, it sounds weird, I know! But every time I need information on an ingredient or want to see how something affects hair, I Google it. As for blogs, I really love The Natural Haven because she cites the scientific studies from which she gets her information, so I can easily find the source and read up some more!
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
If you’re deciding whether to go natural, make sure you’re doing it because you want to. Not because you saw a celebrity rock her fro on the red carpet, not because your best friend did it, not because your boyfriend thinks Elle Varner is hot. Because ultimately, if you don’t want to wear your natural hair, you aren’t going to like your natural hair, and your journey will most likely be very frustrating. Going natural isn’t for everyone – people get mad at that statement, but hear me out. When you stop getting relaxers, you have to relearn how to care for your hair – the basics are the same, but you might not be prepared for a 45 minute detangling session or 18hr drying time. That’s why research and knowledge are so important, and if you don’t want to spend the time or learn how to properly care for your hair, it may be best for you to stick with what you know. In that sense, natural hair wasn’t for you. I think it’s really important to take the initiative and figure out your hair, especially because we all have different hair and different experiences. I might hate something that you absolutely love, and that’s okay.
Where can people find you for more information?
My blog, www.questfortheperfectcurl.com or my YouTube, which is also under Quest for the Perfect Curl. I also have a IG: @izzynelle and a Facebook page for my blog, which is www.facebook.com/QFTPC