CN: How long have you been growing your hair out?
S: I decided to grow my hair out the summer before my senior year of high school. I really needed to change my look since I had been sporting a low-fade/caesar since I was like, 3 years old. July 2007 was my last haircut.

CN: What is your regimen?
S: My regimen is VERY basic since my hair likes to rebel if I do way more to it than I ought to. I wash my hair every couple of days with Anita Grant’s shampoo bar or Aubrey’s Honeysuckle Rose shampoo. I use Organix Vanilla silk conditioner everyday as a rinse-out (not a very manly scent, but really gets the job done lol). After the wash and/or conditioning, I just apply a shea butter/aloe vera mixture (courtesy of my mom who likes to experiment) and give it a good shake, letting it air-dry. I’m actually looking for a good, natural leave-in to incorporate into this regimen, since the longer my hair gets, the more control it will need. I also try my best to detangle every week with Suave coconut conditioner, since it’s cheap and has good slip. That’s basically it! My hair gets weighed down very easily, so anything more than this will make it limp and frizzy.

CN: What is the one thing you’d tell a newbie to help him/her on their journey?
S: This is probably the most cliche, overused answer, but seriously, DON’T get discouraged. DON’T let people dictate what looks best on you…if you have a vision, stick to it and work hard to achieve it. I also find that the longer my hair gets, the easier it is to care for it. This is because my shorter curls would frizz up very easily, but now my hair does its own thing as long as its moisturized. So keep it moisturized and remember that it will get easier as time passes. Another thing that helps is finding your hair inspiration on the computer. Travis Mccoy from the group Gym Class Heroes (pre-haircut), Troy Polamalu from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Reggie Youngblood from the band Black Kids are definite inspirations and keep me motivated. I google them whenever I lose sight of my goal.

CN: What do you do to preserve your curls at night?
S: I’m actually really bad at marinating my curls a night. I hate covering my hair up since my scalp gets overheated and I can’t sleep. I used to keep it in a wave-cap, but now that method has become obsolete since my hair won’t fit anymore. I’m still trying to figure it out myself, since I like my 2nd day hair and hate to wet it everyday. I figured I’d just wait ’till it gets longer and pull it back every night.

CN: Any stories to share about people’s reaction to your hair?
S: My stories range from “I love your hair” to “when are you gonna cut it? I like it short.” People like to fondle my hair, which either amuses or annoys me at any given day. I get people grabbing it, ooing and awwing which destroys the curls in the process lol. I also get the few that try to run their fingers through my hair like its straight, in which I have to grit my teeth and remind them that my hair isn’t straight and is actually very thick and tangle-prone. But it’s all good. I just have to remind myself of my goal whenever I get discouraged at the occasional “cut your hair!” because, well, it’s my hair and I can do whatever I want with it. If I’m happy with my hair, that’s all that matters. I also get a lot of compliments, from friends and strangers alike, which is the best thing you can do: compliment my hair and my day just gets better.

CN: How do you get those curls to pop?!
S: Moisture is def. one way, but I’ve learned that water temperature is my best friend. I rinse my hair everyday with ice cold water despite the weather, since it closes the cuticle and locks in the moisture from the conditioner. If I want my hair a little less defined and more fro-like, I just up the water temp. until it’s slightly cool bordering on lukewarm. For those who want maximum definition though, just rinse your hair with water that’s as cold as you can stand it.