-How long have you been natural?
I have always wanted curly hair, my entire life. But it was on October 26, 2006, when I got the last of my texlax cut off, that I became truly natural. This was the last of 3 “little chops” done over 14 months. Before that I had been fully natural since age 15 (with a BAA). Then I caved and relaxed for a few years, then big chopped (TWA) because I hated straight. I began my quest for “curls” with the infamous Jhericurl. I BC’d the Jhericurl out and began texlaxing for the “naturally curly” look until I decided to trust my own natural texture. I’ve pretty much been through it all including being blond for 8 years. Currently, I am transitioning to my natural gray/silver color.

-What is your regimen?
My routine is the same, no matter what products I use. I typically cleanse every 3-4 days and avoid products with sulfates, DMDM hydantoin, mineral oil/paraffinum/petrolatum, heavy waxes and non-water soluble silicones. I follow a modified CG (Curly Girl) routine:

  • Every 7-10 days or so shampoo with Chagrin Valley or Anita Grant soap bar . Co-wash between. After cleansing I use a rinse-out conditioner, a buttery product on my ends and more conditioner (lots more) left-in. Then I plop, then gel after plopping. Air dry if possible. In the winter I diffuse more. Otherwise, no heat other than a heat cap for deep treatments.
  • I start the detangling process by smoothing/raking oil into dry hair, before I even hit the shower. Even my shampoo is part of the smoothing/detangling, and I finger detangle conditioners, only combing when my hair is almost totally detangled, to get those shed hairs out.
  • Between washes, I either wear my hair down and out, in a bun or with a scarf headband.
  • I never sleep on loose hair. Always, always protect hair at night in 1 or 2 loose pony puffs and a silk headband to protect my fragile hairline; I sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase.
  • I use a small amount of combined moisturizing products as a creamy hairdress on my dry hair days to keep ends hydrated and hair fluffed out.

-What is the one thing you’d tell a newbie to help her on her journey?

  • If your hair is hyper-curly or highly textured, there is no such thing as over-conditioning and over-moisturizing.
  • When you transition, make sure your attitude and beliefs about hair are transitioning along with your hair. The perfect texture is the one on our head.
  • Take pictures to chart your progress. Photos don’t lie, they are fun, and they help other curlies.
  • Other naturals’ Fotki journals are your friends; stalk their routines. I learned so much from other curlies this way.
  • Join a curly/natural hair on-line community. The support on boards like www.naturallycurly.com and other boards is phenomenal. Check out all the great hair blogs out there.
  • Enjoy your hair, enjoy pampering it with product. And when you feel like you are being a PJ, remember how much money you save by not relaxing. I saved $1200 a year in salon services by eliminating texlaxing, 2-process hotfoiling and coloring . I only spend around $240 in cuts per year. Of course there’s my product junkyism, but we won’t go there.

How do you maintain length?
It’s the single most difficult thing for me to do, and I’m still trying to master it. I got tired of seeing photos of women with shoulder length hair who only 2 years ago had TWAs! I’ve had good progress with leaving in a lot more conditioners than I used to, using Jamaican Black Castor oil, raw shea butter, and keeping my dry hair — especially the ends — hydrated between washes with moisturizing creams and lotions. Pamper your ends! Protect them!


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