Nickye shares her natural journey with the CurlyNikki.com community:
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My natural journey started against my will, but I thank God that it did!!

Three years ago, you couldn’t tell me nothin’ about my hair. I was constantly complimented on my hair. It was truly “fried, dyed, and laid to the side”. My hair grew like a weed so I would change colors and hair styles whenever the wind blew. My last style before my transition was one of my favorites. An asymmetrical creation from my stylist with a platinum front.

Unfortunately, a series of events, a hair “Perfect Storm” forced me to make some hard decisions about what I’d been doing to my hair all my life.

Within a time frame of about 4-5 weeks, I got a touch-up on my perm, changed/added 3 medications, and had a medical procedure where a dye was injected. Well, my hair couldn’t take it anymore. Upon waking one morning, I’d found that chunks of my hair had broken off. It was a daily routine– check and see how much closer I was to bald. A woman’s nightmare. Needless to say, I was completely devastated. I wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there. After a teary consultation with my sympathetic stylist, the decision was made to stop the breakage the only way possible. Cut it down to the new growth. My transition to all natural hair took 20 minutes.

I walked out of the salon scared stupid. I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. My hair had been straightened by hot combs and perms since I could remember, so I had no clue as to what or how my hair would behave. All I knew is that my hair was a bear that could not be completely straightened. I still remember the stylist who claimed she could straighten my hair despite my protests. So instead of the mild perm that I usually recieved at my regular salon, she put in a Super Strength. A couple of days before my next appointment 2 weeks later, I washed it and sprayed some leave in conditioner, the only “‘do” I could do to my hair at the time. When I walked in for my appointment & told the receptionist I wanted a wrap that day, she advised me that I couldn’t get a wrap with a Jheri Curl. I told her that I’d just gotten a perm, but she didn’t believe me. After the stylist came out from the back and looked at me, she admitted she’d finally met the hair that couldn’t be straightened. Remembering this, my stomach clenched. “Oh Lord, what have I done??” I was going to look like a crazy puffball. God help me!!

I went straight to every hair supply store & bought every product I could. I was panicking. I could not walk around looking like nobody loved me! To make matters worse, with my hair texture, I needed the control of a gel, but who wants hair that feels like plywood?! I didn’t know what to do. My saving grace was already in my cabinet, but it took 2 weeks before I realized it. Elasta QP’s Feels Like Silk Liquid Styling Gel. Praise God for this stuff! I can find it in any beauty supply store, and it’s only $3.50 for 8 oz. I slapped this in my hair, shook what little bit I had around, and a beautiful curl pattern emerged. I would then take a small bit of oil or “hair milk and go over my hair, so when it dried it was completely soft. I was completely floored. I officially began to fall in love with my hair!
I realized I wanted hair that was healthy, so I needed to educate myself. I was shocked to realize that the ingredients in a great deal of mass produced ethnic hair products cause hair dryness, breakage, and loss. So I was on a mission to find lines that were good for my hair. After typing myself silly on the internet, I’ve found lines and products that work for me. And the best part is, the following are all sista owned!

-CURLS www.curls.biz – I CANNOT say enough about their products! I love their site, it has so much info about how to care for curly hair. It taught me so much. Every curly that I’ve recommended it to has fallen in love with it! My faves are the Curlicious Cleansing Creme (Sulfate free), Coconut Sublime Conditioner, CURLS Milkshake and the Whipped Creme for curl definition. The line has products for all textures and curl types. Try it, you will NOT be disappointed!!

-Pretty Natural www.prettynatural-inc.com – all natural products, try the Sheajoba hair dressing..I’ve had mine snatched away 3 times!! 🙂 The stuff is amazing and smells delicious! The creator of the line also gives consultations, links are on the site.

– CURLS BY SISTERS SMITH www.curlsbysisterssmith.com – A line of of conditioners and styling products for curly hair, made fresh for each order,AND the prices are very reasonable. Products come unscented or in various scents using essential oils; you can also special request scents (I have lemongrass on the way to me now). I use the Just Drenched! Daily Conditioner and wear the DEEEEEEP! Conditioner overnight in vanilla scent. My hair feels wonderful the next day and the scent lulled me right to sleep. Also try the Wet Set Hair Pudding (16 oz. $11.15) and the Butter Me Up! hair butter (4oz $5.25)

-Carol’s Daughter www.carolsdaughter.com – I LOVE the Tui Hair Smoothie and the Hair Milk and Hair Balm.

I’ve since found the style I really like. I now keep it cut in a curly platinum bob. It’s so easy and so much fun to maintain.

People stop me in the street asking who my stylist is and what type of process do I have. When I tell them it’s natural, they’re always surprised. Men and women, black and white, compliment me on my hair. I used to get complimented on my hair when it was permed, but NOTHING like what I now recieve.

And the best part is, I am now free! No more all day salon visits, no more fear of humidity and rain, and NO MORE BAD HAIR DAYS, and lets not even talk about the hundreds of dollars I save in weekly hairdos!!! I don’t even know why I’d been altering what God gave me. African-American hair is so diverse and beautiful, and I realized that what I’d been doing was damaging my hair and never even questioned why….it was just what you did. I’ve had women come to me and tell me that after seeing my hair, they were going natural too. ‘Fros, locs, curls, braids, whatever…it’s all beautiful and sooooo liberating!

Nickye Powell