My name is Maiya Jackson. I’m from Bridgeport, CT. I’m a 22 year old female who started my natural hair journey on September 12, 2014. I remember telling my mother the week before that I wanted to do the big chop because I wanted all of my hair back. She thought I wasn’t serious because I always ended up cutting my hair. Growing up I had a lion’s mane. Kids used to put sand in my hair in the playground and pull on it. One day I woke up feeling like a different person. I needed a fresh start and I wanted to start with MY hair. Throughout my high school experience I’ve had many different hairstyles. Shaved sides, mushroom cut, Rihanna cut, braids, ponytails, highlights. I’ve done it all. I felt it was time for a change. So why not try the natural hair journey and grow all of my hair back. I was determined, dedicated and motivated to have beautiful healthy hair. I didn’t know all of the work I had to do to get to where I am now. As I look back on how far I’ve come, I can truly say every good and bad hair day was worth it. Every stage is different and may be difficult for some but I’m telling you to stick it out because you’ll be in love with the end results. You can always cut it and try again. It’s just hair, right?
How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I’ve been natural for 2 years now. I never embraced my natural hair. As a young girl, my mother always took care of my hair and she always kept it styled in braids with the colorful bows or bantu knots.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
Two years after I graduated high school, I felt I needed a major change in my life. Having a hard time figuring out what that change should be and when that change would come, I tried everything from switching up my wardrobe to increasing my vocabulary. Lol one day I woke up and decided the change I needed was to grow my hair out from the beginning. Knowing what I needed to do, I told my mother about how that would make me feel and change my perspective; she said she was okay with it. The next week I asked my older sister to take me to the barbershop. Once there, I told the barber to cut everything off. At first, he was hesitant but I told him it was okay because that was something I wanted to do and it was best for me. That day changed my life for the better.
How would you describe your hair?
I would describe my hair as kinky/coily. When I started the natural hair journey my hair was extremely curly and dry. I went through $500+ worth of products just to figure out which products worked best for my hair. Once I got to the second stage, I realized my curl pattern changed immensely and it was much easily to handle and care for my hair. Not only was it growing in length but also in thickness. My hair has always been thick but seeing it in such a healthy state was so amazing to me. That showed me that I shouldn’t give up growing out my hair because I had a major goal I wanted to reach. I am now at the third stage of my natural hair journey and this is my favorite stage so far. My hair has so much volume, my curls bounce and my hair is always moisturized. I cannot wait to hit the fourth stage and go from there.
What do you love most about your hair?
What I love most about my hair is the curl pattern and how it cooperates with me. Nowadays I have more good hair days than bad ones. Which is so good because my photos come out how I want them and knowing that my hair is exactly how I pictured it when doing it makes me so happy. I love how everyone I know or everyone who knows me has seen how much it has grown and how beautiful my mane has become.
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 so far has been the big chop. It was such a relief being able to start over.
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current do’s?
My favorite transitioning hairstyle is twists. Has been my favorite style since I was able to have the twists actually stay twisted. Now that my hair is long enough and easier to manage my current favorite is styling my hair in two buns. It’s so easy and I don’t spend that much time doing my hair. Just add water, a little bit of product and be on my way.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
My experiences have been eye opening. Seeing myself grow as a person, seeing my hair grow so fast. Understanding that it’s a journey I need to enjoy. Every minute of it. I love when people tell me how much they love my hair and when people ask for hair tips or which products I use. I. A way I’m helping them out and in a way they’re helping me.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I have many hair regimens. My summer hair regimen is my favorite. It’s a lot easier doing my hair in the summer. I don’t have to do much and my hair doesn’t dry out as fast. Sometimes I blow my hair out to get the full effect of my fro. The only time I brush or comb my hair is when I need to get knots out of my curls or when I want to twist my hair. Scrunchies without metal are my best friend. I love having my hair up and out of my face. Especially when it’s hot outside. My favorite oils are Tea Tree Oil, Moroccan Oil, Avocado Oil, Almond Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil and Olive Oil. A majority of people use Coconut Oil but that doesn’t do anything for my hair except dry it out. I stick with Shea Moisture, As I Am and Carol’s Daughter products. Eco Styler Gel in the yellow jar with the red top is one of my favorite products. Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Hair Oil, Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter, Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Smoothie, As I Am Smoothing Gel and Curling Jelly Coil and Curl Definer, As I Am CocoSheaWhip.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or Blogs?
My favorite natural hair pages on Instagram are MyHairCrush, NaturalChixs (I’m featured on both). My favorite natural hair YouTubers are FusionofCultures, simplybiancaalexa, NaturalNeiicey, Naptural85, and Chime (HairCrush). I don’t have any favorite natural hair websites. When I started my journey I used Pinterest a lot. Just to find hairstyles and what products to try out. I loved seeing pictures of women and how every woman had different hair textures.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I want people to understand that the natural hair journey isn’t easy. There will be bumps in the road and you’ll have days when you just want to give up trying to grow all of your hair. I’m going to tell anyone who is having trouble or who wants to reconsider trying this journey out, stick with it! The end results will be worth it and you get to see how much your hair grows. Not only that but you always grow as a person. It’s a process but without progress you won’t move forward. Ask questions about products and ways to do your hair. Ask how to deal with heat and cold winter days. Ask ask ask. You learn so much from different people. It’s just an amazing experience. I encourage anyone who feels they need a change to cut their hair. Maybe you need change. Change is always good.
Where can people find you for more information?
You can find me on Instagram (artsmai) Snapchat (minimaiy) and Tumblr (himai) or reach me at my email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don’t be afraid to find me. I’m very openminded and outgoing. I love networking and meeting new people.