-How long have you been natural?
This is my 11th year natural. I transitioned for a year in 1997 braiding my own hair into cute styles and ponytails and rocking hats. I never did a “big chop” I trimmed it until I had a head of natural hair which took about a year. There were not a lot of people with natural hair in ’97 that were growing it out, most people had the really short texturized natural styles. I really didn’t know what to do with it until I found the hair boards.
-What is your regimen?
I wash once a week with either Suave Humectant or Creme of Nature Herba Rich Shampoo and condition with either Suave Tropical Coconut Conditioner or Trader Joe’s Nourishing Spa. I deep condition every two weeks with the Trader Joe’s conditioner or Cholesterol. Once in a while I will use the ORS Replenishing Pak for a deep conditioner. Thanks to Curly Nikki’s Twist- N-Curl technique, I can wash my hair more than once a week since it takes less time to twist it. I now conditioner-wash every three to four days which helps maintain moisture. My hair gets extremely dry if I only wash or condition once a week. After I wash my hair, I always detangle with my Denman Brush while my hair is loaded with conditioner, then rinse out the conditioner with cool water. I apply the Suave Tropical Coconut as a leave in and add a small amount of oil before I twist it up or braid it. After it dries (which takes a while so I usually wash at night) I take down my twists (or leave them in) or take down my braids before I pull it up for work. When I want a big curly fro or a pony puff, I use my Denman brush to brush through Proclaim Curl Activator and fluff my hair up as it dries. I found that a good cut is worth its weight in gold when you are trying to get a good fro or a nice shape to your hair. I try to use cheap and affordable products since I feel like I go through them so fast. My staple products work well for me, so I don’t purchase the expensive products everyone talks about. I use to buy every product mentioned on the hair boards, but I found that my cheap products work just as well and you get more for your money.
-What is the one thing you’d tell a newbie to help her on her journey?
Don’t rush out and buy everything you see advertised or the latest “rave” on the hair boards. Start with one product at a time and see how your hair responds and know that just like our bodies your hair is unique and different from everyone else. Patience is also important with natural hair. It took us time to learn to do our hair when it was permed and it will take time to learn to do it in its natural state.
-How do you maintain length?
No heat. I only put heat on my hair once a year and sometimes less than that. When I wear twists or a twist-out I can pull my hair up and pretty much not mess with it for a couple of days. I wake up and pull my twists into an updo for work. I wear my hair out and big on the weekends. It is the same idea of why little girls have long hair when their mother’s keep it in cornrows most of the time. Less manipulation and wear on the ends. I pressed my hair four times in 2005 because my friends were getting married and wanted their bridal parties to be “uniform.” I didn’t mind, but lost about 3 inches of damaged hair and got a scolding from my stylist. I think it has almost grown back to it’s length, but I haven’t straightened it since then.
-What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?!
I can walk through the rain!!!! I went to an outdoor party/fundraiser recently and it started to rain and I laughed when everyone scattered crying about their hair. I simply walked to my car and enjoyed feeling the rain on my face. It is a step closer to embracing the real me. There is nothing wrong with wearing a perm if that’s what you choose to do, but I get more stares now from men and women. And it is not just about my hair, but the energy I give off. For me, it is one step closer to embracing and appreciating me. Being at peace with what God gave me and enjoying me in my purest form. During the first part of my natural journey my friends were asking me “why are you doing that” or “what are you going to do with your hair” and now they say “your hair is so cute” or my favorite “I can’t imagine you with a perm now, natural hair suits you.” I just laugh and say “Yep, I agree.”