My name is Tawana. I was born and raised in Jamaica in a small family with just me and my parents. I love everything freeing, so having natural hair that’s wild and free was just bound for me.
How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I’ve been natural since 2012. My hair was texturized prior to that, so no, I have not always embraced my natural curls because I knew nothing about how to properly care for it.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? Why?
Deciding not to texturize my hair again was something that was an impulsive decision one day, as a result of built of frustration with my hairdresser and how easily my hair would break no matter what I did. After feeling like I took excellent care of my hair over a summer, I traveled abroad. I came back to a rude awakening from my hairdresser saying my hair was damaged and breaking, and I would need to come back for several treatments to get it healthy again. I grew extremely annoyed and vowed to her and myself that I would not process it ever again. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, I just knew that I wasn’t gonna process it again. I eventually stumbled on some YouTube videos that opened my eyes to the natural hair community and I decided then that going back natural was what I was going do. After 9 months of transitioning, I big chopped.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair is big, wild, soft, free, and the perfect representation of me.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love how versatile it is. I can get so many different types of curls with different techniques! And it’s also very effortless. I don’t necessarily need to do much to wear my hair out, its very low manipulation; all I really need to do is moisturize and fluff it.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy, difficult, or both?!
The most memorable part has to be when I impulsively big chopped one day in my room. I cut off all the relaxed ends and went to show my parents and the shock on their faces was just hilarious. It hasn’t really been hard at all. The hardest part was finding techniques that worked for me as my length changed. Once I found those, it was pretty easy. I wouldn’t say natural hair has ever been hard, just time consuming at times.
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current do’s?
I loved bantu knot outs when I was transitioning. It made me start getting used to curly hair again and made the new growth and texturized ends blend well together. I used coconut oil a lot during this period also, which helped me significantly with softening my new growth. I also did a lot of flat twists and buns.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
Fortunately, everyone around me has loved my hair in its natural state. All my friends and family now say they can’t even remember me with texturized hair. People are always always always asking me to touch it.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I have a pretty simple regimen. I wash and deep condition weekly with conditioner and use shampoo to clarify once per month. I also do one protein treatment per month with an egg and some extra virgin carrier oils. My current conditioner and shampoo of choice is Body Blends. After washing and deep conditioning, I use Cantu Shea butter and Candy Moisture Mousse to moisturize and seal. I do either twists or flat twists, then unravel them the next day. To keep my hair moisturized during the week I usually put it in a bun at night, then spritz with conditioner water in the morning and reapply my moisturizer.
I love Naptural85. She helped me a great deal in my transitioning and newly natural phase. I also love Ambrosia Malbrough.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Hair is nice, but it doesn’t define you or your beauty.
Where can people find you for more information?
Instagram is: @tawana_aj
Tumblr is: softeyedbull