How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for the past 4 years.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I started to feel a strong urge to go natural in the fall of 2004. Since then, I tried to transition from relaxed hair for 5 years but I just wasn’t ready. One time, I went up to one year without a relaxer but got overwhelmed dealing with the two different textures. Then in fall 2009, I had a horrific experience at the beauty salon and resolved that would be the end of my dependency on chemicals.
For six months, I transitioned the way I unsuccessfully did for all those years by blowing my roots straight to blend with my relaxed ends. I was happy with that until I learned in May 2010, that I was pregnant with a baby girl. My perspective changed and I decided to do something outside of my comfort zone and cut my hair. My motivation was my goal of becoming a role model for my daughter to be brave and to love herself.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair is very moody! It’s thick, dense, curly, wavy and kinky but extremely versatile. I have a few different textures all growing out of my scalp. It’s so fascinating.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey was the period subsequent to my big chop. Cutting off all my hair was an empowering experience and led to significant personal growth. I’m proud of myself to have done something so bold and courageous. I proved to myself that I can be powerful and fearless!
My hair journey has been both difficult and easy. The difficulty was the learning curve when I just started wearing my hair in its natural state. It took a while before I completely understood my hair and what works well for it. The most challenging point was during the first winter with short natural hair. However, after the first year handling my hair became much easier.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
My experience has been mostly positive. All of my close family and friends were really supportive and loved my hair from day one. A few even went natural as well. Occasionally, someone would say something negative but that’s the exception not the rule. I had one professor in graduate school who warned that going to interviews with natural hair would be distracting to interviewers. I did interviews with my hair in its natural state and straightened and I ended up getting hired when I wore my hair curly.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I’m a busy mom with two small children so I try to keep my hair regimen simple. I shampoo and deep condition my hair weekly and wear it in either a wash and go or braid-out. I try to always do a pre-poo treatment and I find that my hair is easier to style when I stay consistent with my protein treatments (every 6 weeks). My Holy Grail products are kinky Curly Knot Today and Curling Custard, One and Only Argan Oil Treatment, As I Am Coconut Cowash, Jojoba Oil, Raw Shea Butter and Every Strand Argan Oil Hair mask.
How do you maintain a healthy length?
I try to focus on healthy hair versus length so I get my hair trimmed as often as needed. I’ve always been obsessed with healthy ends even when my hair was relaxed. I don’t worry about length too much. My philosophy is that “It’s hair, it’ll grow!”
What’s your approach to raising natural kids?
I try to instill a strong level of self-love in my daughter so she’s feels completely free and comfortable in her skin and with her natural hair. I change her styles frequently so she is made aware of the versatility of her hair. I allow her to choose styles to wear her hair in so she can feel a sense of ownership of her hair. My goal is to raise her to never feel the need to chemically alter her natural texture. I try to be an example to her by wearing my hair natural most of the time and never saying anything negative about my hair. Also, I no longer straighten my hair for special occasions because I don’t want her to send the message that natural texture isn’t professional or elegant. Lastly, I constantly feed her images of beautiful sisters with their natural hair, images that aren’t necessarily pushed by the mainstream media but necessary for her soul and her consciousness so that she knows that her beauty is also celebrated.
What do you love most about your hair?
Freedom! I determine my own standards of beauty. I’m not a prisoner of the standards of other people. Also, I love the versatility of my hair. One day my hair can be stretched to bra strap length and the next day shrink up to a bob.
Where can people find you for more information?
I started a lifestyle blog for moms called Rattles and Heels (http://rattlesandheels.com). It’s all about young moms looking and feeling their best so they can give more to their kids. YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/rattlesandheels. Facebook: www.facebook.com/rattlesandheels Instagram: @rattlesandheels Twitter: @rattlesandheels