April 8, 2014
My name is Keli Smith and I’m a married mommy of three. Born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I am a professional model, co-owner of an online boutique, and a newbie beauty blogger.
Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why? What was your journey like?
Well… My master plan was to slowly transition, but at about 4 months in, hubby wasn’t feeling the whole “puffy roots with sleek ends” look. He convinced me to speed the process along and “just cut it already”. Since he’s a barber, he did my big chop for me!
Had you always embraced your texture?
Absolutely not! I’ve had a relaxer since I was about 8 and my hair is very thick and course. I grew up with my mom telling me that my hair felt like hay, so I was self-conscious about my new growth and relaxed it with a quickness every 4 weeks. My oldest sister went natural a couple years before me, and when she tried talking me into it, I got upset because I was afraid my curls wouldn’t be as beautiful as hers due to the coarseness of my own hair. It took seeing others with hair like mine, rocking their curls, for me to believe that my curls could be beautiful too.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
Thankfully, my friends and family were accepting of my decision to go natural. There were jokes thrown here and there, and hubby called me “Ice Cube” for a while because of my TWA, but everyone seemed to be more inquisitive than they were judgmental. Day by day, each woman in my family is deciding to transition to natural!
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
I have a LOT of hair… thick, coarse hair! The curl pattern from the nape of my neck to my crown is tight spirals about the diameter of a McDonald’s straw. The front of my head is full of looser curls, almost waves.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I wash and deep condition every week and stretch my hair with the banding technique until 95% dry. I moisturize then set in 7 chunky flat twists allow to dry overnight. In the AM I untwist, fluff, and GO!
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
My favorite hairstyles are the flat twistout, and a high ponytail which my husband appropriately calls “sideshow”, from Sideshow Bob of the Simpsons.
Who is your curl crush?
Are you kidding? There are waaaay too many beautiful curlies out there for me to pick just one!
How do you maintain your hair at night?
My nighttime maintenance depends on the style I’m wearing/plan to wear the next day. For the most part, my hair is out in a flat twistout, so I moisturize and re-twist every other night as needed. I wear my satin bonnet at night, and also sleep on a satin pillowcase just in case I “forget” to put on my bonnet. I have a tendency to be lazy at night, but 3 kids will do that to you.
How do you maintain healthy length?
See, what had happened was… My hair goals have changed from achieving and maintaining length, to simply enjoying my healthy hair. When I was focused on growth, I rocked a lot of protective styles with my fave being small twists pinned in an updo. I achieved BSL hair, but wasn’t enjoying it because I always kept it “put away” for fear of breakage.
Maintaining long natural hair is no walk in the park, but why put so much time and effort into something if you can’t enjoy it? I woke up one day and decided to start having fun with my hair like I did when I was a new natural. I recently cut about 10 inches off just for kicks and giggles and I love it! Now, enjoying my hair does not mean that I’m reckless with the care I provide it, but it does mean that I wear it out more, and I don’t get so hung up on strictly adhering to my routine. I go with the flow and give my hair what it needs, when it needs it.
What's the best thing about being curly?
So cliché, but I love the versatility! I can do any and everything that I want to my hair. Straighten it, wash-n-go it (although we probably won’t be trying that again), curl it, cut it short, grow it long, bun it, twist it up, braid it, pin it… the possibilities are endless!
Where can folks find you on the web?