CN: Have you always embraced your natural curls? If not, who or what inspired you?
I have not always embraced my natural curls. I didn’t even know that it was an option! As far back as I can remember, my hair was always styled straight. First, blown out and put into ponytails; then I got my hair pressed; and finally a relaxer. I didn’t even know that I had curls. I had a younger cousin who had big long black luscious curls, and she was able to where her hair out. But, I just didn’t have that kind of hair. I didn’t really envy her because I was bit of a tomboy growing up. But I did notice the difference in our hair texture. She is also light-skinned, so in my naivety, I just assumed that was why her curls where so much looser than mine. As far as my inspiration…that only came in the recent years when I began to see more and more people wearing their natural hair. Especially at my church. That, and my frustration with hair salons led me to research natural hair where a whole new world was suddenly opened up to me! I’ve been hooked ever since never even having the desire to go back to straight. This totally suits me and my personality.
CN: How have family, friends, and strangers responded to your curls? How do you respond to them?
Lol! This is funny because my entire family thought I had lost my mind. They did not like it at all. And my mom still doesn’t. I kept thinking that maybe when it got longer (I chopped with only 2 inches of new growth) she would come around. Negative! She still asks me when I’m going to get a relaxer. Am I really going to wear my hair like that forever? I just laugh because they know me well enough to know that I march to the beat of my own drum. They can love it or hate, but I’m gonna do it if I put my mind to it! But all is not lost. I have inspired one sister to go natural. She’s been natural for about 2 years now. And while the other is not natural, she did recently tell me that me going natural was the best thing I could have ever done. It really suits me. I was like “WOW!”
Friends were very receptive. Some just look at me and shake their head because I’m always doing something “different” with my hair. But most thinks it’s fabulous, but swear they couldn’t do it themselves. Then I have my natural friends and of course they love it. Strangers, co-workers, bosses, and the general public- it’s been nothing but positive. I haven’t really had any negativity thrown at me, and I think that is in part because of my attitude about it. It’s my hair and I love it! I don’t walk around thinking I look any different.
CN: What are your must have products?
A really great conditioner. This is an absolute must because my hair tangles like the devil! So far, I really like Elucence Moisture Balancing condish and Yes to Cucumbers. Carols Daughter Healthy Hair Butter is my holy grail go to product when I want good predictable results. Other than that, I am a little bit of a pj and have cabinets full of products. For me, it’s becoming less about the product (I just love getting them!) and more about how I style my hair. I can get it to look the way I want with any product. The only difference is more water- based will make it bigger and fluffier, and more oil-based will make it tighter, more defined and shinier!
CN: Routine for the the perfect curl?
My perfect curl is the flat-twist and curl. I’ve been doing this almost from day 1, so I have it down to a science by now! This was born out of not being able to cornrow. So instead, I put a part down the middle (or sometimes off center) of my head and make flat twists down the sides of my head. Once I get to the end of the twist, I make a bantu knot. When I take it down, it’s perfect! I can shape it the way I want or pull it up for an up do. I have even learned how to make this style last a whole week by simply not fluffing it out. I just untwist and let it be defined. As each day passes it gets bigger and bigger. As it gets bigger, I can wear a head band or a flower, or whatever! I absolutely love this style. Below is an example of it. But it’s really loose because I had just gotten my hair blown out to get my ends trimmed.
CN: How do you deal with the high dew points and humidity of summer?
I will either wear my hair in twists or a wash and go with a gel- based product. I live in the South, so humidity comes with the territory. You don’t really get too worked up about it. It is what it is.
CN: Anything else you’d like to add?
I always try to tell people not to be deceived, it’s work to wear your hair curly, just like it’s work to wear your hair straight. It’s all about your personality and how you want to look. I tell people, if I have a bad hair day, it’s not my hair’s fault! It’s mine. I’m responsible for how I look. And if I want to glam, I can glam. And if I want to be carefree and not do anything to my head, then I can do that too. Natural is not “a look”. It’s a texture, the texture that grows out of your head. The styles are the things you come up with based on your personality. That’s what makes it so versatile. And versatility is my middle name!