CN: How long have you been natural?

I’ve been natural for 4 years. My story is fairly unique because I haven’t yet read an article reaching out to those who have become complacent at some point in their hair journey. Is it possible to know too much about hair so much so that it’s no longer exciting? Perhaps.

In the beginning, I researched intensely in search of the all the information I could find that remotely had to do with natural hair. I probably went overboard because I acquired so much information that I could talk about natural hair forever!

I was the last person to ever consider natural hair. I never knew other natural women and honestly the ones i saw in the street were not much of an inspiration. I studied abroad 5 yrs ago and I realized that no salons existed that specialized in black hair. That experience changed my life forever. I questioned the relaxer and what my hair really looked like. I was scared, curious and unsure. However, upon returning to the states, I transitioned for a year and resolved to research faithfully.

However, keeping it simple inevitably became my mantra.

Now I aim to reach out to some of the other women just like me who haven’t stopped, stared and appreciated their curls in a long time.

CN: What is your current regimen?

Currently the most important thing for me is to listen to my hair.

If it itches, then it’s time for a wash (kiss my face shampoo, baking soda/water for clarifying and ALWAYS a conditioner-these days Queen Helene cholesterol).

If the curls look stringy or prone to knots then it’s time for a trim (i pull it taut when wet and clip all around at the same length. I don’t pretend to cut dry hair like i know what I’m doing so I go with what i know. I trim sparingly and the curls spring back to life.)

If my hair looks dry-I deep condition (cheap shampoo leave-in/oil mix then wash it out or queen helene cholesterol). If I leave the oil in my hair it breaks out my face. However, it’s great for curl definition.)

Also, I read the labels on all my products and if they first 3 or 4 are not compatible with what I know to be good for my body I put it back. Essentially I take with a grain of salt all recommendations by way of excellent results and also“professional salon use labels”, it has become so important to select products excellent for my hair and skin.

I try to stay away from oils for the most part but when I need an excellent and affordable detangler, olive oil will do. I use the cheap conditioners as leave-ins and Alcohol-free gel for the hairline for emergencies. Generally, I interchange products so that my hair doesn’t become immune to any one product from too much usage. I rinse my hair a lot simply because my hair loves the water and I like creating fresh hairstyles all the time.

At night, it’s a hodgepodge of hairstyles for me. I can be found with cornrows, 2-stand twists, braids, braidouts, scarf, sans scarf (loose ponytail and a satin pillowcase). I keep it protected and it loves me back by “behaving” the next day. My hair does what it wants and I’ve stopped trying to beat it into submission. I’ve learned to love my hair in all it’s glory.

I’m a host and model and looks are vital to getting the next best interview-especially great looking hair. I attend fashion-related events and my hair is always a conversation starter! For that, I don’t bother to straighten it anymore, but i occasionally use the 1/4 inch barrel curling iron when the front curls get flattened. Otherwise, heat is kept to a minimum.

CN:What is your staple style?

I enjoy being a chameleon when it comes to my hair. Technically I don’t have a go-to/staple hairstyle but generally I can be found with a twist-out or braidout preferably a couple days old. As long as it’s fluffy and clean, I’m happy.

All my hairstyles are achieved when wet. I don’t like to handle it dry although I accomplished fun hair by braiding old twistouts. It never worked out looking good for more than a day and it seemed to only stretch the hair rather than create a lovely hairstyle.

Each time I rinse/wash my hair I sleep on it and unravel the twists in the morning. I’ve experimented with twists in small/large numbers and it would range from big wavy to big curly to defined curly or defined zig zag.

On occasion, I plan for a certain look and prep it accordingly but it comes out totally different from what I expected! I love that my hair surprises me. I just have to take it in stride and if it doesn’t work well, I can always start all over again. No worries. I can always revert to a wash-go if necessary (making sure it’s mostly dry before leaving the house-especially in the winter).

Essentially I wear my hair out… A lot! I wore my hair in a ponytail so much in junior high that apparently that’s all my friends remember.

So I promised myself that even with my natural hair I would wear it out as often as possible. These days ponytails are for the gym, lazy spells and quick runs to the store.

CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?

I must admit I was negligent regarding my hair for a long time. Simplicity worked best for me and it still does. Initially, I read all the hair-related articles (some twice), lurked on all the forums, investigated, documented and re-informed myself of all the information that I needed for the long haul.

Then after the first half of the journey I became complacent. However, recently I ran into a newbie in the hair aisle at Whole Foods and she told me about your site, all the things she’d learned. She reminded me of myself and after the initial feeling of shame faded away that I had somehow abandoned my tresses I felt compelled to revisit all my honeymoon hair love just like this newbie.

I needed that awakening.

In order to maintain length, I keep up with trimming, conditioning and essentially paying attention to what my hair needs. I’ve gotten better lately and though I am convinced that I should probably try every product suggested, I stick with what works best for me.

CN: What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?

The best thing about being natural is the freedom. I love the idea of not being duped by excellent marketing tactics, or restricted to working out once or twice a month or even subjected to the streamlined idea of beauty. I’m confident wherever I go. I take pride in changing my hairstyle and have fun discovering a new hairstyle. I’m in a business where the ideals of beauty are morphing and girls get work for looking as ethnic as possible! Ironically it works in my favor.

Also, I keep in mind that people are attracted to confidence. I’ve even had more compliments on my hair since going natural! That comes from both men and women. I even worked with children at one point. Sometimes they made fun when my hair was shorter but I never took it to heart because the same ones that made fun cornered me to ask the most questions! So yes, kids will come around too.

CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?

I tell other naturals the same thing each time- transitioning is first achievement. Make sure to establish a firm foundation on which you can continuously draw. When I first became natural 5 years ago, it seemed that there were about 3 good natural hair sites and with whatever information I learned, I used it to my advantage-whether product suggestions, mental cleansing and learning to love your hair all over again.

Also, just a reminder that you will have days when you miss taking down the wrap and whipping up the instant hairstyle, having those defined bouncing curls and feeling on top of the world with the fresh blow out, but remember all the other girls are lined up waiting to get the same hairstyle as you.

I was just a clone.

People will try to deter you, give you curious stares and even insult you but if you mold your mind into what you want it to be, nothing can separate you and your hair. Beauty is contagious and you are so beautiful when you educate others. Beautiful are the feet that bring good news. Romans 10:15 Stay focused on what you want ladies and everything else will fall in place.



If anyone has any follow-up questions, they may contact me through my site at www.daniellev.com. It is currently under construction but can always email me.