CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
C: I BC’d in September 2010. I was a bit nervous and apprehensive at first. I had been relaxing my hair for so many years. I had no idea what my natural hair was going to look like or if I would be able to take care of it properly. However, I was tired of relaxers, curling irons and weaves and all of the damage they had done to my hair. I was ready for a change. As I watched the hairdresser chop off all of my relaxed hair, I remember feeling relieved and proud. When she was finished, I looked in the mirror in amazement. I loved it! I felt so liberated. Six months later, I love my hair even more. I love the way it feels and looks. Even though I know it’s not a good thing, I can’t stop touching and playing with it. It seems that I learn something new about my hair every day. Going natural was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
C: After I BC’d, I was worried about how my family would respond, but I’m happy to say that everyone has been completely supportive. I have three sisters, and they have all told me how nice my natural hair looks. When I first told my husband about my plans to go natural, he gave me tons of encouragement and said that if it would make me happy, then I should do it. However, I was still worried about his reaction because he had never seen me with short, natural hair. It turns out that he loves it, and he even says that I look better with natural hair than I did with relaxed hair. I agree with him. So far no one has said anything negative to me. I’ve received lots of compliments and admiring glances, even from strangers.
CN: What are your plans for your hair?
C: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a huge, puffy ‘70’s style fro. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to achieve that style, but I want to try. Right now, I’m focusing on growing a big, healthy fro. On the other hand, sometimes I look at photos of my hair when I first BC’d, and I love the way I look with only 1/2 inch of hair on my head. If and when I achieve my dream fro, I will probably rock it for a while, and then BC again super short. I love having options. I’ll see how it goes.
CN: Do you find it necessary to “doll up” your look to feel more feminine?
C: Right after I BC’d, I found myself paying more attention to accessories and makeup. I built up a collection of big hoop earrings, chunky necklaces and colorful headbands. I also started experimenting with new lipstick colors and eyeshadow. Now that I’m more comfortable and confident with my natural hair, I don’t feel the need to “doll” myself up as much as I did in the beginning. I feel beautiful and feminine with or without the makeup and accessories.
CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
C: I live in a colder climate, so my hair gets very dry and needs lots of moisture. I make sure that I drink at least 12 cups of water every day. I deep condition once a week. Every morning, I apply a water-based moisturizing lotion to my hair. Before I go to bed, I spritz my hair with water and seal it with a light application of avocado oil. So far, this routine seems to be keeping my hair soft and moisturized.
CN: What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
C: I am strictly a wash and go girl. I shampoo, condition and deep condition my hair once a week. I have to shampoo with a special anti-dandruff shampoo because I am prone to dandruff and dry, itchy scalp. This shampoo is the only one that can manage the situation for me. Right now I am also experimenting with Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Shampoo, Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo and Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo. After washing, I condition with Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Conditioner. I deep condition with the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak. I add 2 extra tablespoons of EVOO to the conditioner. I put on a plastic cap and leave the deep conditioner on for an hour with no heat. I’ve been reading lately that it’s actually better to sit under the dryer when deep conditioning. So I might try that. For my leave-in, I use Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner. After applying the leave-in, I very gently detangle and moisturize with Wave Nouveau Finishing Lotion, seal with avocado oil and air dry. That’s it.
I haven’t experimented with any other products, styles or routines so far. Now that my hair is growing out, I’m at a point where I want to try some new styles like twist outs or braid outs. I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous to experiment. I don’t know why! It took me a while to find a routine that worked, and I don’t want to mess with it too much. I’m in a comfort zone right now, but I know I need to break through and experiment more. I just bought some of the Kinky Curly products, so I’m looking forward to trying the Curling Custard on my hair. I try not to manipulate my hair too much. I just want to focus on growing the fro!
CN: How do you preserve your curls at night?
C: I spritz with water, apply a bit of avocado oil, and put on a satin bonnet. In the morning, all I have to do is apply some moisturizing lotion, gently pick out and shape my fro. Then, I’m good to go!