How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for about three years now.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a trainsitioner or Big Chopper? Why?
I can’t really say I had found any inspiration to go natural or stay natural other than the fact that I was entirely sick of straightening my hair! I’d always had long hair, so the idea of chopping it off genuinely scared me. Ever since I was little, I’d gone to the salon to have perms and have my hair straightened. I remember feeling embarrassed at even such a young age because stylists would say that my hair was “too much work” or “nappy” because it was and still is almost unbearably thick. Though a permed my hair less and less, I continued routinely straightening my hair through high school until my senior year. I realized that with college soon approaching that I would more than likely have to rely on myself to have my hair straightened, and the fact that that’s almost a three hour process was more than enough to make me drop the flat iron for a while! I really adored the idea of not having to worry about my hair being perfectly straight all the time. Luckily, even though I’d been frying my hair for years, it didn’t take too long for my natural curl pattern to be nursed back to health. I liked being able to just let my hair do whatever it pleases and rock it the way my genes intended!
How would you describe your hair?
I fondly describe my hair as my biological pillow. But to others as well as myself, my hair is kind of like a lion’s mane. I have two different textures; the right half of my hair is more wavy than the left half which has tighter coils and tons of shrinkage, often leaving me looking like I got a bad haircut! But whatever my hair wants to do is what it’s going to do, and I’m okay with that.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love the freedom that comes with my hair being natural. Natural hair is so versatile! I love the little kick my big hair can do for an outfit, especially since I colored the ends of my hair. But most of all, I just enjoy that my hair is healthy, because it’s the most important thing.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy, difficult, or both?
The entire journey is so memorable! It was a surprise each morning to watch my hair get healthier and healthier. I honestly had no idea that my hair could even look the way it does today. It was so refreshing to just go with whatever my hair wanted to look like that day. I didn’t care that people thought hair should look a certain way. Looking back at old pictures of my hair trying to get healthy I’m shocked at how pitiful it was but I remember how happy I was at that very moment that my hair was slowly but surely on its way to health.
What are were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
As I was transitioning, I never wore any hairstyles other than my hair being down or in a bun. I never really ventured to try any other styles, and to this day I still haven’t. I’m quite fond of letting my hair just run free.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I always recall my mother being so proud of me for letting my hair be as it is. I used to beg and beg for her to take me to the salon to have my hair permed, and she really didn’t want me to. I was a bit of a tomboy when I was little, so I just wanted my hair straight and out of the way so I could get all rough and dirty outside. And, as you know, kids are mean. They used to make fun of how big my hair was. So it’s a relief to her that I stopped perming it. Everyday she would say, “Amber, your hair is so curly! It’s so pretty!”
My boyfriend likes to make fun of me sometimes, because when I feel like I’m having a good hair day I say, “My hair is POPPIN’!” So he’ll say that my hair is poppin’.
What is your hair care regimen?
Ah, like most of the natural hair world, my regimen is a bit extensive! For time’s sake, I mainly stick to wash & go’s.
Shampoo: I shampoo with a sulfate-free shampoo every other week using the Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo to cleanse my hair but not strip the hair of its needed moisture. But, when I have product buildup, I use the Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Shampoo with sulfates to remove any buildup. (Any shampoo with sulfates will suffice, though.)
Conditioner: I condition with TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Silicone-Free Conditioner. It’s very moisturizing with amazing slip without the pesky silicone that coats the hair shaft and averts necessary moisture! On days that I feel that my hair is looking a bit dull and lifeless but I don’t have time to deep condition, I use Aussie Moist Three Minute Miracle for a quick pick-me-up!
Deep Conditioner: I mix my own deep conditioner and adjust the ingredients according to my current needs. I do this quite often, especially because my hair is color treated at the ends. I like to use either an avocado or some store-bought hair cholesterol as my base. Sometimes I’ll add an egg to the mixture if I feel my hair could use the extra protein. But normally, I just add pure honey, extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and some the silicone-free conditioner for slip. I get my best results when I steam my hair (guiltily with my clothes steamer…it gets the job done!) and wear a shower cap overnight to really retain the moisture. Remember to rinse with cool water! Feel free to try things like bananas, greek yogurt or jojoba oil to figure out which combination works best for you! There are a lot of options.
Hot Oil Treatments: I mix extra virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil together in a color applicator and run hot water over it to warm the mixture instead of zapping out the nutrients in the microwave. Remember to explore which oils your hair likes best!
Stylers: I’m always trying new styling products, but I tend to stick with the Shea Moisture line. I use the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a leave-in conditioner/styler, and the Shea Moisture Curling Gel Soufflé.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTubers, or blogs?
I watch a TON of YouTube channels. My favorite is none other than the Shameless Maya! She’s so fierce and inspiring. Her approach to living is definitely motivating, and she always has such inspirational advice. Some of my other favorites are HeyFranHey, SunKissAlba, & Glamtwinz334.
Anything you want the readers to know?
As Virgil said, “the greatest wealth is health!” I’ve come to learn that curly hair takes a lot of work, especially when you’re trying to nurse it back to health! But you shouldn’t let that discourage you from keeping your hair healthy. No matter what, good hair is healthy hair! Also, it’s important to cater to what YOUR hair needs! There are TONS of products on the market, but take the time to explore what options are best for YOUR hair to keep it healthy! The easiest way to do that is DROP THE HEAT TOOLS! Your hair will thank you! It’s hard to do, but you’ve really got to allow your hair to breathe and get moisturized. Constantly using heat tools deprives your hair of much needed moisture! But, this doesn’t mean you can’t use them at all, just not as often. The great thing about natural hair is its versatility! I tend to only straighten my hair for big events like weddings or maybe a job interview. That being said, I only straighten my hair about three to four times a year, and that’s AFTER I’ve made sure to deep condition my hair and apply a heat protectant. But all in all, keeping your body healthy is important as well. A healthy diet, plenty of water and exercise is the best thing you can do for yourself!
Where can people find you for more information?
- Feel free to contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also feel free to connect with me on twitter @Ambreezyyy_ & Instagram @ambreezy_!