February 18, 2014
Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why? (tell us your natural hair journey)
I big chopped in August of 2010 after wearing weaves on and off for about a year. At the time, I had been recently laid off and my stylist was relocating his business to another state, so taking the big chop plunge just seemed to make sense (financial sense). I didn’t do any real transitioning. I had my last relaxer in February that year, got one more weave and then I just went for it. My philosophy is “it’s just hair.” If you feed and water it, it’ll grow back. And if all else fails and you can’t achieve it, you can weave it!
Had you always embraced your texture?
I was always very curious about what my natural hair would do, but I had a relaxer from about the 3rd or 4th grade until my big chop. I knew my hair could handle fewer relaxers. My stylist was just blow drying my hair rather than doing repeated relaxing, so I knew that there was something under there that I needed to check out! All of my close female family members have wavy hair that’s a completely different texture from mine so I wasn’t sure what I should expect of my hair. My texture has changed over the years. As a child, it was very thick. It’s thinned out a bit as I’ve gotten older. I wanted to know what my “real” hair would do, so I went natural. My stretched hair was a couple inches past my shoulders until recently. I had a few inches chopped off because I really believe I have some kind of “Hair ADHD.” I get bored very easily and like to change my look. Some days, my hair isn’t even styled the same from day-to-day. I have the hair jitters, I guess.
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?
The reactions from my family and friends were great. As my hair grew out, I did have one person ask me if this was how I was going to wear my hair from now on. I didn’t take that as an insult. I know, generationally, we tend to think that hair has to be “done” in a certain way and I was wearing my hair in a big and wild way that runs counter to that. Overall, the response to my hair has been great. No one has said anything negative. My family members are quite hair experimental anyway so it’s nothing to see a different color or length one week and then something new the next.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
My hair is 4a/b-ish. It soaks up moisture like a sponge. You could sneeze near me and my hair would frizz up. I struggled with humidity in the beginning, now I just accept that it’s a part of the deal. I try to straighten my hair from time to time just to dry it faster, stretch it out or get a “new” look. I usually sweat it out right in the middle of the blow drying process. I just go with the flow now. I got my hair professionally colored (red highlights) last year with a color touch up earlier this year. When the color grew out some and started to fade, I tried the Shea Moisture bright auburn color and it really warmed up my highlights without changing the texture of my hair. I blogged about my experience with the color. I plan to re-do it very soon.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
I’m a bit of a product junkie. I’m in CurlBOX and Curlkit rehab. I have so many leftover products from the subscriptions, plus I attend a lot of hair events and I’m a blogger so I get free things to try out. I have one or two “holy grail” products. I wash weekly. I perspire a lot. Actually, let’s call it what it is… I sweat! I usually spray my hair down with a mix of oil, water and conditioner after my workout. Then by the end of the week, I have to wash it. I usually deep condition before I wash. I’ve found that process works better for me even though, on paper, it seems out of order. When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll deep condition under my Huetiful steamer. I’m a shampoo and conditioner girl. I do use the As I Am coconut co-wash sometimes, but I really like to feel soap bubbles in my hair. I’ve been using the nuNAAT Real Me Curl to Coil collection’s shampoo and conditioner lately. They work really well. I also use Oyin products (Hair Dew and Burnt Sugar Pomade), Elasta QP’s mango butter, Eden Bodyworks peppermint tea tree oil and Beija Flor Natural’s crème brulee. My holy grail product is nuNAAT’s Karite combing cream with shea butter. It’s awesomeness in a bottle.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
My hair does not like the pineapple, tie it down with a scarf, put it in a bun thing or any of that stuff. It HAS to be retwisted nightly. The only thing that I can get away with lately, now that it’s shorter, is doing a rod set and I can sleep on it for a few nights if I do a “cute” sleep. Prior to cutting it, I would do flat twists, Bantu knots or two-strand twists and then cover with a scarf and a bonnet (I double up in case one slides off). I’m also a fan of the magic bun. I have hair in different colors and textures for when I want to create an updo look.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I get my ends trimmed professionally at least once a year and I do self-checks of my ends and cut whatever looks like it needs to be whacked. I’m a big believer in deep conditioning, steaming, moisturizing and just letting my hair do what it does. I do have color treated hair, so I make it a point to keep it conditioned and moisturized. I do protective styles when I can (mini-twists or twisted updos). Since I like to change my hair often, committing to one protective style for an extended period of time can be a challenge.
What's the best thing about being curly?
The best part about being curly is the versatility of natural hair. I can wear it in its most natural, tightly curled state if I want. I can put a little heat on it and wear it straight. I can slick it down and wear it in a bun or unique updo. I can create ringlets with Bantu knots. The options are really endless. I’ve always viewed hair as a beautiful accessory, like a nice piece of jewelry. I change it with my moods. I add hair, I subtract, but most importantly, I take care of it. Don’t be fooled though, natural hair is a commitment. While I’m not spending money to get my hair done a couple times a month anymore, I am putting in the time to keep my hair “done” as a natural.
Where can folks find you on the web?
I’m a social media manager by day so I’m all over the Web. I can be found on the blog I co-founded (http://www.witchesbrewonline.com/)
my personal site (http://www.yolandaarrington.com/)