July 21, 2014

April- “Natural is a way of life not just a hairstyle.”

My name is April. I’m a 24-year-old student trying to obtain my RN. I’m from NJ but moved to Hawaii shortly after graduating high school. I work at a rehab hospital in the dialysis department and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

How long have you been natural? What motivated you to go natural?
I’ve been natural on and off since my late teens but for some reason I would always go back to straightening (flat iron no relaxer since early teenage years) my hair to make it more manageable. When I moved to Hawaii, I was unable to find a stylist that I felt could handle my hair like back in NY/NJ. I decided to try a well know French salon where the stylists were all very experienced and talented. The first time she flat ironed my hair, it looked like a million bucks. She did it in less than an hour and it was bone straight. The more I fell in love with it, the more I would go to her. It became a weekly thing.  After a while, I began noticing that my hair was very stringy, wouldn't curl and felt similar to a rubber band.  Really lifeless. She was using 450 degrees on the flat iron which had fried my hair. Poor thing. One day after showering and combing out big chunks of hair I realized there was nothing I could do. I decided then I would go natural. I started doing twist outs but it just seemed so time-consuming to achieve a curly look that sadly wasn’t my own. So in July 2010, I had my first big chop! I asked him to cut as much dead hair off as he could. It was short on the sides and back and longer on the top-- cute cut but still some dead ends. I tried twisting the ends to match the textures but it didn’t look that great (in my opinion).

the grow out!

Were you a big chopper or transitoner?
So I did another chop. He cut it into a curly Mohawk sides low similar to a fade. Shortly after I did tons of research online to figure out how to be “natural.” I learned a lot. Shortly after I started my own youtube channel with tutorials, my journey, fav products,etc) not long after that I began to create my own hair products (shampoos, condish,puddings) which later turned into body scrubs, face masks and things of that nature.  I’ve been natural now 4 years. Straightening my hair usually once or twice a year at most.

How would you describe your hair?
I would describe my hair as my antenna to the universe! Haha. No but seriously my hair is a mixed texture very thick and coarse in the middle and softer with tighter curls around the crown and back of my head. Around 4a/4b if you’re referring to the curl pattern. It all seems the same texture when wet but when drying some looks defined some looks puffy but in the end it all becomes one big fro.

What is the most memorable part of the journey?
The most memorable part of my journey was just sitting back witnessing how much growth and health my hair has achieved in a small period of time. I barely do length checks because I try not to become obsessed over length but I’m still extremely grateful it has come so far.

What were your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
My favorite transitioning hairstyle was 2 strand twistouts and braid outs. Currently, I’ve been loving the flat twist outs but wash and go’s are my go-to style. When I want more volume, I usually do a few chunky braids for at least an hour before going out to stretch my curls and elongate them. My hands down favorite hairstyle has to be my curly frohawk! I get so much great feedback on it.

What has been your experience has a natural?
As a natural working in a hospital of mainly Asians, I’ve gotten some really interesting looks. Some people love it and some people hate it. One doctor reached out and pulled one of my curls one day and let it go to see it coil back and keeps saying 'boing, boing' every time she sees me now…Ha! I’ve noticed a lot of stares in the hallways which used to be uncomfortable once upon a time, but now I’m a very confident women, so it no longer bothers me. One thing I did notice is that leaves that have fallen from trees often get stuck in your curls a lot and people aren’t always nice enough to tell you or offer to get it out , they just act like they don’t see it sometimes . Bummer.

My best friend and I both went natural at the same time I did the big chop and she slowly cut off ends to transition. We're both natural til this day and that is my true CURLfriend and FROmie til the end! I’m so happy I got to experience my journey with her being in different states we were still able I remain close and share our hair experiences as well as journey together.

What are your favorite products?

My favorite products are:

Shampoos- Herbal Essence ( honey I’m strong, hello hydration) , carols daughter (curl milk), Giovanni ( tea tree) and some others I’ve made at home.

Conditioners- Herbal essence (honey I’m strong , Moroccan my shine, hello hydration), suave (coconut oil), and some I’ve also made home.

Deep conditioners- ( Shea moisture-hair mask), palmers (protein pack), olive oil (replenishing pack), mixed chicks (repair mask), motions (CPR deep treatment).

Leave- ins- garnier fructis frizz eliminating leave in, shea moisture curl defining milk. Usually I co wash and leave about 10 percent of the condish on my hair and don’t wash it out as my all day leave in. Not enough to leave residue just so it still feels moisturized.

Puddings/smoothies- Shea moisture (curl soufflé,curl enhancing smoothie),au natural anti shrinkage curl defining creme glaze, ” coil moisturizing soufflé), cantu leave in repair creme ( I use as a styler) and Eco styler olive oil gel.

What are your favorite natural hair websites?
Naturallycurly.com is a great website-- I’ve found stylists, products and hair advice on there. My go to for natural hair inspiration are mainly Instagram pages like – party over hair, curl box, bad curls club, natural hair daily, curly beauty’s, and a lot of personal pages I’ve found with people who are natural and inspiring. As far as YouTube, there are so many talented naturals just hard to pick one. I watch anything that’s informative and helpful to be honest.

Anything you would like to add?
I really think it’s a beautiful thing to embrace yourself the way god made you.

Before I became natural I didn’t workout much because I didn’t want to have to get my hair straightened again, didn’t want to go swimming, hiking and experience what Hawaii has to offer, I would spend about 2/3 hrs on my hair getting it ready to go out that night, I was very high maintenance, hated when it rained, didn’t want to go out to clubs and leave with sweated hair. Now I don’t worry about ANY of those things. “Natural is a way of life not just a hairstyle.”

Where can we find you on social media?

Instagram: @ a_redbonedgirl

Facebook: April brown

Global Couture is trying to spread the word about embracing your natural hair. Love your HAIR, if it is wavy, curly, kinky or coily. Shop http://www.globalcouture.net/ and Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Are you naturally fierce? Email us to share your hair journey at blog@globalcouture.net

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