Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey.
My name is Courtney, and I’m a freelance journalist/work-at-home mom from Albany, GA. I currently live just outside Atlanta with my husband and our two sons. I decided to let my hair return to its natural state about six years ago.
How long have you been natural?
I had my big chop done June 19, 2009, so I’ve been completely natural for four and a half years.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? Why?
As a relaxed girl, I didn’t really understand my hair or how to take care of it, especially during my freshman year of college. I suffered from chronically dry scalp and dandruff, but even after 11 or 12 years of wearing relaxers, had little knowledge about how to maintain healthy hair. My inexperience, as well as a longtime admiration for textured (wavy/curly/kinky) hair, led me to transition to natural.
I transitioned for about seven or eight months beginning in October 2008, then had the remainder of my relaxed hair cut off because I was frustrated and tired of dealing with two textures. I had about five or six inches left after the chop.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair is a mix of textures and curl patterns ranging from 3b to 4a. For the most part, the hair typing system does little to describe the way my hair behaves. The left side of my head is a looser, wavier pattern and the right side is a tighter, curlier pattern. The back is the smoothest and easiest to detangle, while the crown or middle of my head is coarser. Overall, my hair is dry and fine and prone to breakage on the ends.
What do you love most about your hair?
I really love the versatility of my hair! And I love that I’m able to wash it when I feel like it, or try different products and styles without worrying too much because I know that at the very least, if I experience any major damage, I can cut it off and start over again.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy, difficult, or both?
The most memorable part is also the hardest part, and that was learning that my hair thrives on moisture. When I first went natural I was really confused about what to use, how to protective style, and how to manage different textures. I used a lot of gel in the beginning… bad idea lol. But it hasn’t been a horrible journey, just one that required patience and time.
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos?
Unfortunately, I used heat a lot in the early stages of transitioning. When I realized that I wanted to wear my hair curly, I used braid and twist extensions to protect my hair. Micro braids were the most versatile for styling, but least protective in my opinion. Senegalese and kinky twists were easiest to maintain.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
Because I’ve always had long hair, none of my family believed that I would cut it all off or want to wear it any way besides straight. It took my mom a while to adjust to the length after my big chop. The most memorable experience would have to be when a stranger grabbed my ‘fro in the club and made some statement about it being sexy. Weird.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
Lately, my regimen has been to wash once a week, protective style for two or three days, then wear a low manipulation style until wash day. That’s the short version.
Wash day normally includes a pre-poo or deep condition before washing with a low sulfate or sulfate-free shampoo. Some of my staples during wash day are apple cider vinegar, olive and coconut oils, any of Lustrasilk’s cholesterol conditioners, Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo and Aussie Moist Conditioner or Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner.
I use the LOC method to seal in moisture and style my hair. My favorite leave-in (L) is Sally’s Generic Value Product Conditioner. I use coconut oil or Jamaican black castor oil (O) to seal my ends and add shine. I like Shea Moisture, Curls, Camille Rose Naturals and Nothing But products (C) as stylers.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTubers, or blogs?
My favorite blogs are of course this one, as well as BGLH, Curly Nikki, The HodgePodge Files, The Lovely Photog and countless others. Some of my favorite YouTubers are MahoganyCurls, Naptural85, FusionofCultures, BeauTIFFul Curls and many others.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Be friends with your hair. Love it and appreciate it for what it is. Everyone’s texture is different, beautiful. Yours is no exception. The sooner you love your hair for what it is, the happier you’ll be on your journey.
Where can people find you for more information?
I’m on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @NatrulyCourtney, as well as Youtube at NatrulyCourtneyTV. My personal blog is http://NatrulyCourtney.com, and I also blog as part of the Return of the Curls Blogger’s Reel.