Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What’s your hair story?
I have always loved my natural hair, I feel like it truly embodies who I am and I love being able to use it as a means of expression. I love how it’s a combination of all these different curls and textures because at the end of the day one person is a mixture of so many different characteristics and experiences. I always think of the India.Arie song “I am not my hair” and honestly it’s true. But I would say that my hair is me because how I wear it on any given day will tell you how I’m feeling at that moment.
My hair story isn’t super complicated, my hair was natural for most of my childhood, except for a few years from late elementary school into middle school when my mom relaxed my hair because it made it easier to manage because doing hair was never one of her strong suits, but dear lord she did try, lol! So around the 8th grade I realized I could cornrow my hair pretty well and could even do cool patterns and stuff and was pretty could at doing my own hair in general. At the same time I was really over having to get super strength relaxers to tame my super coarse hair because it meant that without fail I would get a bunch of crazy scabs on my scalp from relaxer burns. So one day while I had braid extensions I told my mom that after I took my braids out I wasn’t going to get another relaxer again. That was in 1999 and I haven’t had one since. I’ve never regretted it and although I regularly have moments where I want to cut all my hair off out of annoyance or frustration(Mahogonyknots style, lol), I don’t for one second miss having a relaxer.
Since then I’ve put my hair thru the ringer: I’ve cut it multiple times, into short bobs, or with bangs, or slightly shaved in the back; I’ve dyed it, once bleached in the Dominican Republic while on vaca, burgundy highlights, bright red (almost kinda hot pink) right in the front, and the last time a golden brown; I’ve gotten Dominican blowouts, press and curls (the last time I had my hair done professionally the stylist burned my face with the Marcel Iron, hence why it was my last time, sigh. I feel like I’ve done it all. So after coloring it 3 years ago I decided actually learn to take of it to see just how long I can grow it out.
How long has it taken for you to “master” the care of your your hair? Who/what helped you gain mastery?
I think I’ve truly mastered my hair in the last 3 years or so with the increase of YouTube videos and hair blogs that provide so much information and a platform for naturals to help each other out. I love it! My faves WhoisSugar, Naptural85, Mahogony Knots, DenimPixie/Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl and KimmayTube. WhoisSugar and Naptural85 have an amazing resource for styling, Sugar for the Curly Girl Method and helping me perfect my wash and go and Naptural85 & Mahogonyknots for my twistouts and style inspiration. Elle and Kimmaytube are sooooo well informed and do so much research that they’ve helped me understand hair better overall and that knowing your hair is about knowing more than just your curl pattern and that know your density, porosity, etc is just as important if not more so.
Typically I wash my hair every 2-3 weeks (but I usual mist with water and seal with an oil ever 2-3 days). After detangling, sectioning my hair and putting it in chunky twists, I wash with As I Am’s Coconut Cowash and I deep condition every time I wash and I alternate between Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner or Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner to maintain a protein/ moisture balance.
If I’m planning on straightening my hair I’ll shampoo and condition with Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, then I’ll apply TGIN Honey Miracle Mask as my deep conditioner.
What is your de-tangling process?
I always dry detangle to avoid getting shed hairs tangled in with my hair. So I first apply either coconut oil or olive oil then go through my hair slowly, section by section, pulling apart tangles and removing shed hairs. Then I apply Tresseme Naturals Conditioners to detangle once more, running my fingers through each section to make sure I didn’t miss any knots or anything. After detangling each section I twist it to avoid it getting tangled again.
How do you achieve your daily hair style (try to be detailed being as though others are gaining inspiration and DIRECTION from your process)
For my twist outs I apply Curls Crème Brulee first then Shea Moisture’s Deep Treatment Masque and then a bit of olive oil or coconut oil and I twist the way Naptural85 does in her “best twist out ever” video. Then I usually leave the twists in for about 2-3 days so that my hair has time to fully dry (low porosity hair like mine takes forever to dry) then I coat my hair with a little more oil, untwist, separate and fluff. At night I retwist into bigger chunkier twists then pull into a ponytail/bun to keep my hair stretched.
For wash and go’s I divide my hair in 5 sections, 2 in the back 3 in the front, then apply the Curls Crème Brule to each section. After that I smooth Olive Oil Eco Style Gel through each section bit by bit with my hands. (For a visual reference check out WhoisSugar’s youtube channel) Then I apply Curl Passion Fruit Control Paste as my finisher to each section so my hair dries hard without feeling crunchy. At night I don’t pineapple since that leads to matting in the back of my hair. Instead I divide it into about 8 ponytails and band them, Jean Michel Basquiat style, lol. Then I wear satin bonnet to sleep.
If I want something a little fancier but don’t have much time, I will section off a piece in the front, braid the back up into a French braid & bun and then do a big pompadour in the front.
Now that you are relaxer free, how do you perceive others that still have relaxed hair?
Honestly, I have no issue with anyone who chooses to relax their hair. I know how much time, patience and work it takes me to keep my hair looking decent on a daily basis. I also know that some people just aren’t good at doing hair and it’s more practical for their lifestyle to have relaxed hair. I don’t accept that everyone who relaxes their hair hates themselves or anyone who isn’t relaxed, the same way I don’t believe everyone with natural hair loves themselves and anyone else. The way one wears the hair on their head isn’t always a direct reflection of what’s in their head.
The one thing I can say is that as much as naturals want people to accept and respect their choice to wear their hair in its natural state, the same has to be done for those who choose to wear their hair relaxed, texturized, in locs or any form whatsoever. What someone chooses to do with their hair on their head is THEIR business, the same way what I choose to do is MINE.
Basically live and let live. (Sorry for the mini rant, but I swear some people say and do the most in this “movement”, smh.)
How did/do battle the internal voice that may speak words of doubt about the beauty and worthiness of your natural beauty?
I don’t think I ever doubted the awesomeness of my natural hair, lol, but I did struggle at times with certain people’s negative attitude toward my natural hair. I felt exhausted thinking that I had to convince them to like my natural hair as much I do. But with time I realized that when people are so vocal about their dislike for something in me that doesn’t actually affect them in any way shape or form, the problem isn’t actually what me or what I’m doing but it’s their own insecurities that they’re dealing with. I’m a glass half full kind of girl, so I just had to avoid contact with people who feel so entitled to offer unsolicited opinions or just plain old negativity. I surround myself with people who are loving, accepting, and open minded, not necessarily people who see everything the same way as I do in life.
What hair product can’t you live without?
Coconut oil, olive oil, Tresemme Naturals Conditioner, As I Am Coconut Cowash, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and GPB Conditioners, Curls Crème Brulee and Passion Fruit Control Paste, Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque and Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel, Carol’s Daughter Chocolat Blow Dry Cream, TGIN Honey Miracle Mask.
Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair?
Be happy with what you have on your head, no matter what it is. I’m all about having hair crushes, lord knows I have PLENTY (Shanti & Antoinette, that def includes you guys, I drool). But you have to love your hair more than you love your hair crushes’ because yours is what you wake up to every morning. It’s like loving your friend’s significant other more than you love your own, that will always lead to dissatisfaction and eventually disaster.
Also, let’s play nice. People put themselves out there via social media for the most part to help others so I don’t get why people feel the need to bring negativity to the party. Like every mama ever has always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” If you don’t wanna say thank you for all the hard work it takes to do tutorials, blogs, vlogs etc then just keep it quiet and keep it moving. What do you really gain by being mean to others?
Stacey, Instagram: HopelesslyDopeHair