BlackMasterPiece-- Naturally Glam Hair Idol

Meet Mona-Lisa... a natural diva from New York who likes to keep 'em guessing!

CN: How long have you been natural?
I have been natural about 4.5 years

CN: What is your current regimen?
I put my hair in about 10 braided sections, wash & condition with Trader Joes Sulfate Free NourishSpa, I detangle only on wash day with soaking wet hair saturated with conditioner (NourishSpa or Aussie Moist) or under a cascade of water.

I Deep Condition with LeKair Shea Butter Cholesterol primarily. If my hair is craving something specific I'll either do my "go to" Mayo/EVOO/Egg or I'll ask my mom for a natural Haitian Hair recipe and DC with it. If I'm pressed for time I'll just do Aphogee 2min.

If my hair was airdried in a style like twists or pixie braids where it wouldn't get messed up by being wet, I'll spritz with a diluted leave in with IC Fantasia Aloe or Infusium and seal with a natural oil or butter or I'll simply put shea butter or extra virgin coconut oil in my hair.

I straighten quite often in the New York winters, when I do, I use IC Fantasia Pink Bottle Heat Protectant Serum and Spray I blowdry then flat iron and pin curl my hair every night. I use my GNC organic extra virgin coconut oil whenever my hair feels dry.

I always sleep with a satin scarf and I'm always extra gentle with my hair.

*My long term plan is to replace all my favorite commercial staples with a product from a Black Owned Company that works just as well for my hair*

CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?
I think one of the biggest keys to me retaining length is avoiding anything that would lead to tangling, knotting and unnecessary breakage of my hair. Washing in sections was key in that respect. Whenever I comb or detangle my hair I always try to do it as gently as humanly possible. And I never......EVER allow my hair to dry completely unmanipulated and loose that will lead to endless tangles and a setback, I learned that the heard way, it should always dry being stretched by braids or twists. I also always no matter what, sleep with my satin scarf.
As for moisture my hair actually doesn't regularly feel dry I have oily skin so the benefit of that is that it usually keeps most of my hair protected and moisturized, the only places that may be craving moisture are my ends. My favorite item to use on my hair lately is extra virgin coconut oil its conditioning, light, and provides beautiful shine.

CN: What's the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
I love the versatility, I can drastically change up my look from a fabulous huge fro, to smooth curls, to silky straight. I always keep 'em guessing and I never fade into the background. I love the fact that not only am I wearing all my own hair, but I'm also wearing my own natural hair texture. I really enjoy it when strangers come up to me in the street and ask me for tips and leave telling me I inspired them and they feel refreshed to see a sista wearing her own natural texture....proudly. I feel liberated from the insecurities of my childhood with my hair. I look at my natural journey as an evolution of the spirit. If I can inspire other sista's to feel that their hair is not a problem that needs to be resolved, but rather, a gift, then I feel I have made some change for the better.

CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?

Welcome to the world of embracing your natural beauty! The styling possibilities are vast with your new textured hair. When you inevitably run into obstacles with your hair, don't blame your texture for the problem, but rather ask yourself what it is that you're doing wrong and what you can learn to rectify it.

Find out what your unique hair type likes and dislikes. I would recommend doing your best to take the majority of your haircare into your own hands. The products that may have worked when you were relaxed might not work now that you're natural but that's okay, look to people with textures similar to yours for an idea on what to use. Try not to get caught up in getting each and every product just because it happened to work amazing for the next natural, ask yourself if you're actually missing a product like that from your regimen, if not, then resist the temptation.

Finally I would say, find sites or environments that you can regularly immerse yourself in that recognize and exalt the beauty of highly textured hair, it will help you along your journey and it will serve as a counterbalance to a larger society that may not be as encouraging. Good luck!

You can find me at my blog http://blackmasterpiece.com/ with video tutorials soon to come!

Thanks for this honor Nikki!


braid out pulled into a high bun

messy flat twist out
Fro-Hawk

huge fro achieved thru a jumbo flat-twist out

Straw Set done with McDonalds straws

hair straightened with a press a flat iron

Dominique-- Naturally Glam Natural Hair Idol

Meet Dominique...learning to embrace her curls while growing out color.

CN: How long have you been natural?

I have only had my hair relaxed once, and I was too young to remember. So with that said, I’ve had stages where I wore my hair curly more than other times. From about 8th grade all the way up to about my 2nd year of college I always got the beloved roller set and blow dry from Dominican salons. Then I discovered a Malaysian stylist who used one of those wet-dry flat irons. It cut out the long roasting sessions under the hair dryer and gave me the straightest hair imaginable! Occasionally, I would wear my hair curly but I was not satisfied with it, meaning it was shapeless and lifeless. I then discovered Teri’s tightly curly sight and began wearing my hair curly more often. So to answer the original question, I’ve been natural for about a year, since summer of 2008.
I am desperately trying to grow out the color in my hair. I chopped off 6-7 inches back in March, so I'm looking forward to growing it back out.

CN: What is your current regimen?
M: I really don’t have one, I really try to be consistent but I am so busy! I had a paper due this week and I hadn’t washed it in 4 days!! Lucily, it detangled better than expected.
I adore the co-wash method, which is still somewhat new to me. To think I was shampooing my hair and combing through it at the same time! Terrible.
I am a green queen and refuse to use any parabens, petrochems, etc. I co-wash with Giovanni Direct Leave-in (too greasy as a leave in). After rinsing, I use the Kinky Curly Knot Today and CURLS Goddess Glaze. Recently, I added the Organix Anti Breakage serum before the KCKT and got fab results. Even though the Serum has dimethicone in it, I absolutely love this product. I am looking to get another jar of the Kinky Curly Curling Custard, but for some reason it makes my hair really crunchy and elongates my curls too much. For now, that is what I mostly use with the addition of Aubrey Honey Suckle Rose. I am looking forward to trying some stuff from the AfroVeda line.

CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?

M: I don’t! lol This is something I desperately need to work on. After I got my hair cut in March the ends went bad to worse! I think the damage is a result of the dye job. My hair has been growing, as you can see by my serious roots, but I don’t feel as though I have any healthy length. As soon as this semester is over I will be going in for a new cut. As far as moisture, I do think that the KCKT keeps my hair moisturized all the way up to day 3. The bottom line is that I need to invest more time in my hair.

CN: How do you protect your curls at night?

M: I’ve been sleeping with a satin scarf and satin pillow case for the longest time. This habit began a while ago though. At one point I had bad acne and my dermatologist recommended the scarf to keep all the oils, etc from getting on my pillow.

CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?

M: Don’t believe the hype about hair “pills”-- If your diet and lifestyle are healthy then you shouldn’t need them. I mean who honestly lives like a personal training expert?! Eat your fruits veggies and PROTEIN!!! Also, having people who support you and your goals is essential!





Kemit-- A Story of Transition

Meet Kemit (and her handsome family!)...this girl's got my dream hair!



CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a medium term transitioner, Lol! Sad to say it, but I dragged out a short term transition because I didn't think I would look right without enough hair on my head...I'd been called Big Head forever..so I desperately wanted to cover it up. I felt like it was too much to deal with both the head and hair..thus the medium transition. Fortunately as time went on, I kept thinking why am I so concerned with other peoples opinions, I decided to take control and one major mini chop and a touch up mini chop later I felt more like myself than ever before. I embraced both my beautiful head and hair! :-)

CN: When did you do your first/last Mini-Chop? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?

My last Perm was on Oct.13, 2007. My first mini chop was a major one, done exactly 11 months later on Sept. 13 2008, my 2nd (because I clearly missed some permed and heat damaged ends) was on Dec.29, 2008. My initial reaction was 'WOW this is pretty short', but then I started checking out the curl pattern and the shine and fell into super strong like mode with my curly locks.

CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
I was one of the luckier ones. I never got any of the negative feedback from family and friends. My family was used to natural curls thanks to my mom, who has been natural her entire life (with the exception of three minutes back in '83 when she rocked the perm for a sec). She's been my Hair Idol for the longest. Also, I was fortunate enough to have several friends who were transitioning around the same time, and even if they don't know it, each and every one of them helped me out tremendously, when it came to helping me stick with my decision.

CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
Quick disclaimer..I have to admit, I wasn't always the most consistent with this routine..but for the most part this is how it went down..Lol
My transition routine consisted of weekly Olive Oil Baggy Treatments, were I'd leave the oil in overnight. Sometimes I'd add essential oils such as Lavender, Chamomile, Rosemary, and/or Texas Cedar wood to the mix for some extra oomph. I'd rinse the oil mixture out in the morning, and then I would co-wash with Suave Naturals (sometimes adding Lemon juice to clarify and soften). I detangled with DevaCurl OneC, I would rinse and then add some more as my leave in. Finally I'd use my spray mixture of DevaCurl OneC/Water/Lavender EO to either set my hair, or to help in the bunning process. I'd seal with Raw Shea Butter.

CN: What was your staple hair style during the transition?
My staple hair styles during my transition were LOTS of buns (both high and low), Braid Outs and Twist outs and finally Braids.

CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I used Raw Shea Butter like it was going out of style. I also made a lot of my own oily concoctions and would use them in conjunction with the Shea Butter. My hair seemed to love it, so I just kept right on with it. I also left lots of conditioner in my hair when using it as a leave in. I would baggy(using a moisture and then oil to seal, then placing a bag over the area allowing to sit overnight) at the ends or over my whole head when it crossed my mind to do so (which was like once or twice a month) and that was about it...

CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I chose to go natural for a variety of reasons. The main one being my need to be in line with my healthier, all natural, holistic, hippy chick self. I'd already been in the process of changing A LOT of things in and around me to reflect my healthier attitude. I was trying my hardest to make better decisions about the products I was putting in and on my body. I didn't think it made sense to change all of that but still run to the salon to get a relaxer every 6 to 8 weeks, saturating my scalp with crazy chemicals. Thus the transition, which has been one of THE BEST decision I've ever made in my entire life. I am absolutely IN LOVE with my crazy curls. Thank you SO MUCH Nikki for helping to make my transition a positive one! I'll NEVER EVER go back!!

the perm...


the bun..(that's one of my brothers fyi..lol)


transitioning braids..


both are brothers as well..the one in the red rocks a curly head too :-D

Nadia- Diary of a FLYY Black Woman

Nadia, a spontaneous Big Chopper, provides the CN.com community with updates on her adjustment to and acceptance of her TWA.


I decided to cut my hair again. I grew it out for about 6 weeks, and then I started to feel lost on what to do with it. I contemplated getting it braided, but I really have grown to love my new look. The picture above (from Nov 11,2009) shows my hair at its longest length since the big chop. The picture below is of my current look. I am LOVING my short hair!

I have had some compliments, some complaints, and some that fall somewhere in the middle. Most of the time people that like it will tell me that they think I am brave for cutting off so much hair. People that fall in the middle just comment "Wow you cut your hair!" and leave it at that. People that don't seem to like it (maybe one or two) just say "Why'd you cut it all off ?!". I think the funniest thing anyone has ever said to me about my new 'do is, "You have such a pretty skull for that look". LOL

I am still feeling very confident. I wake up and just do minor touch-ups with product, and I'm ready to go. I always know that my hair is in place, and there is very little that I have to do to it each day. I enjoy wearing earrings and other accessories that help to frame my face. For now, I think I will keep it short. I like this look, and I like the low-maintenance aspect of it.

See you next month!
Nadia

_______________________________________________________________
Original Post-- 10/22/2009

Hi ladies!

Things are progressing well.
Here are some pictures of me about to go out on the town. My hair is growing so fast!! I forgot to mention that I take GNC Ultranourish Hair vitamins abot 3 times a week. These vitamins make my hair grow super fast! I swear by them. I'll be in touch soon :)

Nadia


_______________________________________________________________

Original post--10/12/2009

First, I want to say thank you thank you to everyone for all the support and very kind words!! Everyone has been so sweet with all of their comments. I am happy that I have inspired others to think about making hair changes themselves. I really do not miss that mess at all!!! This style is so easy and healthy. My hair is growing really quickly, and I haven't decided whether I will grow it out or get it cut again. I really like it like this, and you guys have convinced me that you like it too :) Here is a picture I took on Friday. This makes a little more than two weeks since my big chop.

Luv,
Nadia

________________________________________________________________

Original Post--10/8/2009

Hola Chicas,

Due to the positive reaction from all of you, and Nadia's unique situation (a spontaneous and drastic BC), I thought it'd be interesting (and fun!) to watch her over the new few months as she, and the folks around her adjust to her new look. She'll be regularly updating us with pics, her innermost thoughts and feelings, and reactions from friends and family. She'll be handling business as usual...all while rocking healthy, chic natural hair.

I emailed her this afternoon to propose the idea and she agreed! Here's her response:

Absolutely! I was wondering how I could do just that. I'd like to send you monthly updates on my journey.
I really love the change. I wanted something that was easy to maintain, and looked great at the same time. It's been almost 2 weeks and I really do not miss my long hair at all. The biggest test for me was going out to a bar, and even my gym. I was sure I would notice a negative reaction from guys and thought no one would talk to me. It was good that I did resume my normal activities so quickly. I completely forgot my hair was so short because everyone treated me the same. It's sad how we have images in our head of how we "should" look according to society, and that if we don't fit that mold then we are not beautiful. For me, I never realized that having relaxed hair was my way of trying to fit in with society's expectations.

I sent a link to my family yesterday, and my dad already wrote back. You're welcome to post his response. It really surprised me how sweet his reaction was (I promise I didn't make it up myself). His message is below:
Nadia, nice spotlight, you look great with your natural hair and you have captured the spirit of others who will benefit from your break from the relaxer cycle. I am so proud of you. Keep reaching.

Stay tuned ladies, as we take a peak inside the Diary of a FLYY Black woman.

______________________________________________________________

Nadia writes, "Nikki, please publish my story to give some courage to girls who, like me, have been using relaxers all their life." Check it out, and show her some love!


CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
N: While deciding whether or not to put in my next relaxer, I had a conversation with my oldest sister. She convinced me not to further damage my hair with yet another relaxer. I had about 5wks of new growth, and decided to do a BC instead.

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
N: I did my BC on September 25, 2009. I thought I would cry at the shock and drastic change, and the realization that there is no going back, but I didn’t. I looked in the mirror, and realized that I could pull off this look, thanks to having a small head. I felt immediately free and happy. It was really different to have hair that was immediately less damaged, and healthier.

CN: How did you moisturize your hair?
N: I use Pantene Pro-V Relaxed & Natural for cowash, and Hawaiian Silky 14 in 1 to moisturize. I use either one of these as my leave in overnight. In the morning, I rinse out the conditioner and use Garnier Fructis Wet Shine Gel to activate and hold my curls throughout the day. I only shampoo after going to the gym to wash out the sweat/salt.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
N:
I wanted healthy hair that was easy to manage. I have NEVER been without a relaxer in my life. Seriously, there are pictures of me on my first day of kindergarten with relaxed hair. It just doesn’t make sense to have long hair if it’s really damaged and breaking.







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Naturallynana-- Naturally Glam Hair Idol

Naturallynana shows us just how fabulous natural hair can be...the versatility of curly hair at its best :)


CN: How long have you been natural?
21 months - since Feb 2008

CN: What is your current regimen?
I mostly wear my hair curly. My favorite style is the twist-out, but sometimes I'm pressed for time and opt for the wash-n-go or a pony puff.

CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?
In 20 months, the top of my hair (longest part) has grown to 9.5 inches when straight and I've trimmed it 3 times. The back is shorter by about 2-3 inches, but I've also had it cut into a bob. The secret to retention seems to be consistent tender loving care and not too much heat or extreme styling. I actually believe I would have retained a lot more length in the back (where my hair is more coarse and tightly coiled) if I had not chemically altered my curls by coloring my hair.

CN: How do you protect your curls a night?
My hair does not like to be tied down. I usually sleep with it "out" and I lay on a satin pillow.

CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?
Be patient, enjoy every stage of the journey and build your network of supporters...you're going to need them! Also, don't be too anxious to color and when/if you do, make sure you get someone who knows what they are doing, and make sure you MAINTAIN the TLC that your hair needs after it's colored.

CN: What's the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
It's unique and very versatile. I don't have to worry about looking like every/anyone else because my hair and style are uniquely my own. Also, I can rock so many different looks and switch it up whenever I want. Last bonus...I no longer have to run in the rain. :-)

CN: Anything else you want to add?
Embrace your naturaly beauty and just have fun with it! This journey is full of ups and downs, good hair days and bad ones, folks who will LOVE and covet your natural look and others who will constantly try to persuade you to go back to your old, chemically straightened look. But, do it for yourself, based on your own personal reasons and give it a real chance before you bail out. Enjoy the journey...

Thanks,
Nana



Catrina-- A Story of Transition

Meet Catrina... a curly momma setting a good example for her beautiful daughters!


CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I was a short term transitioner. I transitioned for five months. I planned on doing it for a year, but I was anxious to see my hair without the permed ends. Managing two textures can be quite difficult.

CN: When did you BC? What was your initial reaction to your natural hair?
I BC'ed on April 11, 2008. I loved my hair instantly. I wish that I would've cut it sooner because I loved my short length.

CN: How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
My family was very supportive. I received nothing but positive comments.-- it made me feel great about making my decision. It took a while to get used to the looks from complete strangers or the random comments that I overheard, but I knew that I made the right decision.

CN: What was your transition routine (products included)?
I used to keep my hair in micro braids. I would shampoo/condish with Mizani Moisturefuse and moisturize my scalp with braiding spray. Sometimes, I did twist outs. I used Africa's Best Lock and Twist gel. That worked well for my transitioning hair, but not so well when I became 100% natural.

CN: How did you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
I just used any moisturizer with shea butter in it because everyone raved about it. As I continued my journey, I started to make my own hair products using 100% natural ingredients.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
I went natural for a number of reasons. After years of wearing curly/wavy weaves, I wanted to embrace my own God-given texture. I wanted healthy hair that could retain length and I wanted to be a positive role model for my daughters. I knew that I would never perm my girls hair even before I went natural. I wanted to show them that kinky hair is beautiful too. What better way then to show them by example?


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