Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I transitioned without even knowing it. I wore weaves forever, and had my last relaxer in 2006. But I wasn't taking proper care of my hair, so while I wore weaves all the time I never deep conditioned. I washed my hair only when I removed my weave which was once every month. Sometimes every 2 months.
In 2012 my husband encouraged me to stop wearing weaves but I kept wearing them until I found out about the natural hair community on YouTube. From YouTube I heard about Henna and when I googled henna, CurlyNikki came up with loads of information on how to care for natural hair. I mean everything you need to know is on there. I haven't had a weave since December of 2013, and my hair is healthier and longer than it's ever been. Last time I used heat was May of 2014.
Had you always embraced your texture?
I did not embrace my texture at all. I was always tempted to relax my hair. I used heat all the time like every day because of the need to straighten my new growth so it would match the texture of my weave. This caused me some heat damage in the front area of my hair where I would have my leave out when I wore weaves so I am still transitioning from heat damage in that area.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
Being natural and having at least 4 different textures makes my hair more challenging to deal with. I have mostly 4a and 4b with a patch of 4c on the left side and a patch of 3c in the lower back section of my head. My hair has a combination of low and high porosity areas.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
My family was pretty accepting and actually encouraged me in my returning natural hair journey. I have 2 daughters, 14 and 16, who have never been relaxed, so now we’re on this healthy hair growth journey together and boy do we ever go through some products! Lol
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
The craziest thing I ever did to my hair was color it honey blonde then highlight it with platinum blonde….. Let's just say I had to end up cutting my hair. This happened a few years ago before I had my last relaxer. The only color I have now is from henna treatments which is a deep red/burgundy.
I wash my hair with shampoo once a month with carols daughter monoi shampoo. I co-wash once a week with Aussie moist conditioner, then I follow with a leave in (Camille rose moisture milk). I let my hair dry about 80% before doing a twist out or braid out using Camille rose twisting butter. I deep condition every time I wash and I have so many different ones and I love them all!!! The most recent one I tried was Shea Moisture 10 in one renewal, love it!
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
My favorite hairstyle is a twist out. I get hairstyle inspiration from every natural I see lol. I’m always trying to take a little something from natural hair pictures I see on Pinterest and Instagram and put my own twist on it.
Who is your curl crush?
My curl crush is India from MyNaturalHairSisters and also Naptural85.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I re-twist my hair at night using a bit of leave in with some oil then wearing a bonnet or scarf over it, or sometimes it’s just my satin pillowcase.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I trim my ends every 2-3 months and always make sure they are extra moisturized and sealed because my hair can get super dry especially in the fall and winter months here in Canada.
What's the best thing about being natural?
The best thing about being natural is having sooooo much versatility. I can still straighten my hair, I can wear blow-outs, weaves and wigs. But at the end of the day I still have the beautiful healthy virgin hair I was born with that I can style in its natural state, My Favorite!!!
Where can folks find you on the web?
You can find me on Instagram: kienyabooker and FaceBook: Kienya Booker