Tell me about yourself!
I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am an auntie. I am a wife. I am a mother. I love creativity. I dance. I sing. I do spoken word. I make my own beauty products. I love to cook; the list goes on. I am an aspiring beauty/fashion vlogger. I believe that mental healthiness starts with loving ones self. Majority of my targeted audience is moms, children, and youth.
I am trying to start a mental health movement in children and youth that is supported at the federal level. I work for Shasta County, in Northern California by being an advocate on the “BRAVE FACES” stand against stigma campaign. This is simply what I do during business hours. Off the clock, I am present for my husband and beautiful boys. I am a volunteer pastor at my church and I mentor foster children.
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I transitioned at first in August 2012 after I weaned my first-born from breastfeeding. Prior to that, I was counting down the days until I could do my next relaxer; it was as if it was an addiction. I remember thinking to myself, I’m not doing a relaxer for my child’s health and safety, but what about my own safety and health.
It was that August, an awakening of sorts happened. I now know the real problem I had was with myself, not simply my hair. That month forward, I decided to seriously do something about my self-hate issues. I changed my career. I was a minister at the time and chose to finally use my psychology degree and go into mental health advocacy. I started taking vitamins daily (even after pregnancy), exercising more, and solely wearing wigs. All the while praying, though I didn’t believe it to be possible, that my hair would grow out and I would discover what to do with it. All organic and natural.
That December I was pregnant with my second child. Having stuck to my "wearing wigs only policy” for a couple months, I decided to search out a natural hair stylist to further my journey. Unfortunately, the stylist suggested micro braids as a protective style. After one week with the braids and not being able to sleep, I took them down and noticed a lot of damage. I cut all the damaged hair off, which meant all the relaxed hair as well. It was at that point I lost a level of trust in stylists and continued my pilgrimage to loving myself. I wanted to love myself for myself, not someone telling me or doing it for me. That’s when I finally did it. The Big Chop! That was March 2013. Since October 2013 I have worn no wigs or long-term protective styles and I have no intentions of going back.
Had you always embraced your texture?
Most definitely not. I didn’t even know what my texture was to embrace it. I remember getting relaxers since I was in the single digits. I not only didn’t embrace my texture, I hid it, stomped on it, made fun of it, and did everything to kill it.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
Many poked fun and said I wouldn’t last. Some said I was “too particular” to stick to one hairstyle. Others made references to my hair looking similar to slaves, or worse, movie depicted drug addicts. Instead of responding with words, I responded with diligence. Learning to care for my own hair was a self-love project I knew I couldn’t give up on. I learned an important message throughout this process. Sometimes the greatest battles are won, through standing. Subsequently, my family and friends came around when my hair became long, and they started to see the benefits in my routines.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.).
I have thin, fine, low porosity hair. That is a mouth-full. According to all my research, it is seemingly the MOST difficult hair to tend to, especially with my no heat policy. But, I have come to fall in love with every strand, and I am seeing results I never imagined.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
Wearing bleach blonde, Brandy style box braids my freshman year of college. It was an exploration I never want to live again.
What’s your biggest hair related regret?
Not going natural sooner. My passion is to be a voice for the voiceless. Advocating to the world that everyone has a voice that should be heard. However, for some reason beyond my years in understanding, I decided to oppress my hair and not allow it to have one.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I have 4 Routines to coincide with the seasons
Since it’s currently Winter I do this:
- Co-wash once per week. I still experimenting with DIY recipes, but I use the Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus line.
- Massage my scalp while doing the inversion method (holding head upside down for 4 mins) every night with therapeutic grade rosemary oil
- Do a bentonite clay mask (mixed with aloe vera juice, ACV, and avocado or coconut oil) twice per month.
- Hot oil treatment with extra virgin olive oil after every wash
- Cold aloe vera gel immediately following my hot oil treatment
- Seal and twist my hair with castor oil
- If I want a sleek style, I mix flax seed gel with aloe vera gel, agave nectar, lavender and peppermint. I add prior to the castor oil.
Products I cannot live without: (In this order) bentonite clay, aloe vera juice or gel, rosemary oil, and castor oil.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
I love my twists pinned back or twist outs.
My hairstyle inspiration comes from Naptural85. I am inspired by her simple and economical routines which have become a base for my own.
Who is your curl crush?
Myself. I have no intentions of comparing myself to anyone, anymore. Comparison is a trap that I’m glad I found freedom from and pray I can help encourage others never to fall into.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I make a 10oz refresher spray with 3oz aloe vera juice 7oz distilled water. I use the spray to help style my hair into 8-10 large twists or braids depending on my desired definition. After, I do my inversion method every night. This keeps my hair moisturized and kempt, for the work week. On the weekends, I pineapple and/or put it in a bun. Then wrap in a yard of silk that I got from Joanne Fabric and call it a night.
I am big into low-manipulation. I have seen 8 inches per year by doing so the last 2 years. That is with trimming a .25 inch every 3 months. However, I think the fact that I am healthy on the inside, have a routine that has no mystery products, and am intentional with my emotional health has been the strongest contributors to my length retention.
What's the best thing about being natural?
LIBERATION & VERSILITY. Being in charge of my own hair care and learning to do with it what I please is a freedom. I pray all can experience it kinky, curly, coily, or straight.
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