-How long have you been natural?
My last relaxer was in August 2006. I transitioned for 11 months and did my BC on July 17, 2007. So it’s been about a year and a half since I became completely natural.
-What is your regimen?
I tend to fluctuate with my routine as far as products go. I co-wash every 3-4 days sometimes with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner or V05 Moisture Milks Strawberries and Cream Conditioner. After I co-wash I split my hair down the middle and take one side and section it in to about 4-5 sections. Then I apply another conditioner to each section, usually Suave Humectant or something thick, moisturizing, and cheap since I use a lot. I finger comb the conditioner through each section and get rid of any tangles then twist each section and make mini Princess Leia buns (or bantu knots….just something to get the hair out of the way) and pin them up. I repeat with the other side of my head. Then I go back to the first side and take each section down, apply a little more conditioner and brush with my Denman. Once I finish the side I smooth the hair and make one big twist. I then repeat on the other side. I rinse with cold water and spray on Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In. Then I apply Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey or diluted Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner. If I’m going to sleep I pat with a paper towel to get rid of drippies, then I make about four big twists on each side and put on a bonnet. I sometimes smooth it back in a bun if I wash it in the morning so I won’t have to deal with wet hair all day. Other times I just leave it loose let it air dry. I’ve only diffused once, and I don’t really prefer it.
I wash my hair with shampoo every two weeks or so, depending on how much product build up I have. I substitute it in the first step and everything else is the same. I use Carol’s Daughter Rosemary Mint Herbal Shampoo.
I also henna my hair with Jamila brand henna once a month. My henna mix usually includes lemon juice, olive oil, and paprika (supposed to help bring out deeper red tones). I seem to try a different mix every month, but I always use lemon juice.
In between wash days, I put on Carol’s Daughter Lisa’s Hair Elixir and pineapple at night. I tie a satin scarf over the pineapple. In the morning I take down the pineapple and rub in Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter then get in the shower. The steam from the shower loosens up my hair and refreshes it. After I get dressed I fluff and go. By the third day I use Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk with a little water to smooth it back into a puff.
-What is the one thing you’d tell a newbie to help her on her journey?
Don’t give up! Everyone goes natural for different reasons. Just be sure that your reason is about you and your hair and not rooted in a desire to look like somebody else. You’ll get frustrated and give up quicker if you have unrealistic expectations. Just accept your hair for what it is and work with it to make it the best it can be.
Ignore people with negative comments. My family had a lot to say about my hair, especially in the beginning when I was just getting the hang of it. I had long straight hair for all my life and after my BC, I had maybe three inches of tightly curled hair. People weren’t used to seeing me like that and my family is very vocal about their opinions. If I let them get to me, I would have gotten a relaxer a long time ago. Now that I have learned how to care for my hair and it’s grown, everyone loves it 🙂
-How do you maintain length?
I don’t really have anything specific I do to maintain length. I just started bunning, so we’ll see if that makes a significant difference in length retention. I try to get my ends trimmed regularly, that seems to help reduce tangles, which in turn leads to less breakage. My hair is very tangle prone so I am sure to detangle very carefully to prevent breaking off my hair. Minimal heat is important as well. I think my hair has grown so much since I’ve been natural because I haven’t put a lot of heat on it. I’ve only straightened my hair a handful of times and I always air dry (except one time lol).
– What advice would you give to naturals that want to dye their curls?
Do it naturally! I use henna monthly and all of my friends always comment on the results. It leaves a reddish tint in my hair and looks just like some of my friends who get a professional rinse, but mine is cheaper :). For those who want more dramatic color I’m not really sure if that can be done naturally, you may have to go the chemical route. I had a bad reaction to chemical color in high school, so that’s why I decided to use henna. A down side to henna is it seems to loosen the curl a bit. I have tight curls so it doesn’t bother me that much, but those with a looser curl pattern might be a little more affected by the results. But at the same time, chemical color does the same thing and in my opinion it’s worse. My cousin is natural and her curl pattern is looser than mine, and she has a Mary J. Blige blondish color in her hair and it’s just like she has a relaxer. For me, one of the reasons I went natural was to cut out all major chemical usage, so chemical color wasn’t really an option for me.
-What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?!
The best thing is being different. When your hair is straight, it’s so easy to blend in. Everyone’s hair looks the same. When I wear my hair curly, I’m the only one with my hair. Even when I’m around my natural friends, everyone’s hair is different. It reminds me of my family. There are so many different shades but we are all united by one commonality. That’s what it’s like, no two heads of hair are the same, but we are all naturally glamorous!