Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey.
My name is Clarissa. I’m from Aldan, Pennsylvania which is right outside of Philadelphia. I’m currently a graduate student at Moore College of Art and Design. “Class of 2016!!”
How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I transitioned in 2008 and it was hard for me. There were not a lot of natural hair resources back in ‘08, but I transitioned with protective styles like sew-ins and braids. The summer of 2009 I cut off the rest of my permed hair. In the beginning of my journey, it was all about getting to know my hair. I had to go through a lot of products to understand what worked best with my hair. This may sound sad, but I did not always embrace my texture. At first, I compared my hair to other naturalistas. I think this is something naturals need to learn to avoid. Once you embrace what you have, you can love what you have and enjoy your journey. Over the years I’ve learned to embrace my curls, it was a process, a journey.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
Laila from YouTube channel Fusions of Culture motivated me to transition to being natural. Her curls were so breathtaking! I fell in love with her hair journey and wanted to embark on my own.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair is very thick and sometimes has a mind of its own. It’s big in volume which I love.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love that my hair is naturally thick. The bigger the better!! I also love that being natural means you have so many choices in hairstyle. Versatility is everything!
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey was my first attempt at making a hair smoothie treatment with bananas, eggs and avocado was a fail! I did not have a blender at the time so I tried to mash the bananas as best as I could. It was horrible! LOL It took me two days to get all of the bits of the bananas out of my hair! The next time I did the treatment I used baby food bananas. I definitely learned my lesson.
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’?
I love twist outs but I try my best not to do them so often anymore. I do not have a specific hairstyle because my style changes up so often! This past year I’ve done faux locs, crochet braids and even hair shadowing! I love the versatility of natural hair. A month ago, I decided to get my the front of my hair dyed purple and I love it ! I think bright hair colors are in right now.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
When my father first saw my afro he said “When are you going to do something with your hair?” I replied, “It’s done. Why can’t I wear my hair like this?” That is when I knew I would have to face not only my friends but society that labels having an afro as having a “bad hair day”. That was about five years ago. Today, we can rock an afro more freely and get so much love and attention!
What is your hair regimen ?
My current winter routine: Shampoo once a month – Condition every other week – Protein treatment and hot oil treatment every other week
My favorite products to use in the winter are : Shea butter and castor oil! They are thick but perfect to seal your ends with in the harsh winter weather.
My favorite conditioner is Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Condition. It leaves my hair feeling so silky and soft. I always use this product in the summer for my wash and go.
Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treatment- is my all time favorite shampoo
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My favorite Youtubers are Itsmyrayeraye, Fusions of Culture, Cassandre Beccai, and Naptural85.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Never compare your hair type to someone else. Love your natural curl pattern and -embrace what God has given you!!
-“If you love it, it will GROW” A lot of TLC and researching of products is the best thing to do throughout your journey.
-Don’t over do it with PRODUCTS!-Build a regimen for your hair and stick to it. Have some stable products.
-What works best for someone’s hair may not work best for yours- It's all about finding out what works best FOR YOU
-WEAR YOUR CROWN-!!!!
Where can people find you for more information?
I have a Youtube Channel :Dear Claire and I’m on Instagram :@clatodd