Meet Brandy… a cosmetologist that has developed a new self-concept and is in love with the person staring back at her in the mirror!
In the midst of my ups and downs with deciding whether or not I should go natural, your site stood out in ways you cannot imagine. I’d been toying with the idea of going natural for the past two years, initially just as something to do, but overtime it became much more.
Just a glimpse into my life:
I graduated high school and accepted a Dean’s Scholarship at Spelman College in Atlanta, a traditionally African American woman’s college. Being from a small town in South Carolina (I had less than 80 people in my high school class), I will never forget the sense of overwhelm I initially felt when I arrived on campus. For some reason, this overwhelm was particularly centered around looks and the comparisons between myself and the hundreds of other black women I saw each day. To make matters worse, I got a bad dose of hair coloring in a salon, and sections of my hair literally broke to the new growth! I had to cut my hair shorter than it had ever been in my life, and noticed that my self-esteem meter got lower and lower by the day.
I would tie my hair up in class so that the length wouldn’t have to been seen and compared to the long haired girl beside me. On top of that, I worked hard and maintained a high GPA in the midst of my insecurities, but things still weren’t right. I knew deep down what career I had always wanted, and wondered why I was sitting in a class for a major that I had no desire to pursue.
During my 2nd year, against EVERYONE’s wishes, particularly my mom’s (who has been a cosmetologist for 30 years), I decided to liberate my anxieties and follow my TRUE passion of becoming a successful hairstylist and left Spelman to attend Paul Mitchell the School Atlanta. At that moment, I told myself that if nothing else, I would devote my career to genuinely caring about the HEALTH of the hair, particularly that of ethnic women (completely ignoring the inner issues I was experiencing myself and how changing my career would not be the remedy I sought).
While engaging in my career, I began to find myself feeling hypocritical, lecturing about healthy hair and at the same time having NO explanation as to why my hair wasn’t as healthy as I would like it to be. I even found myself becoming obsessed with gaining length that I could NEVER seem to achieve. At that instant, I began my research.
I knew very little about natural hair and decided to make it my business to learn more about it, which was when I ran across YOUR website. Hearing your story inspired me immediately, and made me feel as though I needed to try being natural to see if that would help some of the insecurities I have felt. My transition went well until…tada…the BIG CHOP! I chopped all my hair off, and on the outside I made it seem to everyone that I LOVED it, but on the inside I couldn’t stop comparing my hair to every natural girl I saw on every site and on every youtube video. I knew that I needed to take a good look in the mirror and find out why I have had always been one to receive so many compliments about my hair and my looks, but go home and look in the mirror and see something different…I would tell others to be confident in the midst of cutting their damaged tresses, but go home and have slight regret over mine…
So that’s what I did…I took a VERY good look in the mirror. I realized that I had often allowed so many aspects of my life to be influenced by my HAIR and how well I felt it looked in comparison to the person sitting next to me or on a TV screen. I then realized that I needed to embrace the hair on my head, embrace every physical aspect of myself, and LOVE it! The hair that grew out of my scalp was there for a reason, and I was neglecting it by not taking care of it simply because it wasn’t the texture or didn’t have the curl of the next girl. I now look in the mirror, and see the person I have always been… strong and confident. I absolutely ADORE my hair and feel more secure about myself than I ever have. I now get on my clients’ nerves with my rants about healthy hair and how they should give natural a try, haha. Being natural has changed my mindset in ways I never even sought out for, and has even changed the way that I as a stylist approach the person’s hair in my chair.
To end my rambling (lol), I appreciate the work you are doing and thank you for your inspiration! I now look in the mirror and feel inspired, I LOVE MY NATURAL HAIR! It has caused me to stop focusing so much on the external, focusing on the next girl, and just loving EVERY aspect of me!
My current regimen:
Shampoo: Shea Moisture Brilliant Curl Shampoo
Conditioner: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration or Totally Twisted, Suave Professionals Almond and Shea Butter, or Kinky Curly Knot Today.
Leave In: Kinky Curly Knot Today and Honey or Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme (Both sealed with Safflower Oil or Vegetable Glycerin)
Deep Treatment: Homemade Blend of Avocado, Baking Soda, Coconut Oil or Olive Oil, and Honey
Twist Sets: Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme or Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie