CN: How long have you been natural?
I had my last relaxer in August of ’06, Big Chopped around April of ’07, and revealed my natural hair to the world in late June of ’07. So I’ve been completely natural for 4 years.
CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I suppose I was long term. In ’06 I remember saying, “If y’all see me with braids, that means I’m going natural.” In October of ’06, I went and got some box braids. I wore that style until February/March, but soon got bored, so I switched it up and got an afro weave. I loved my new weave and looked forward to seeing how my natural hair would compare. I was so anxious about the texture of my hair. I had worn a relaxer since I was about 7 years old, so I wasn’t familiar with my texture. Plus I wasn’t sure how my hair would be received. Most people weren’t all that supportive of my decision, so I wondered if I’d be shunned for my choice.
In April of ’07, I was taking out my weave, preparing to wash and condition it so that I could have it redone. As I combed out my hair, (I still had relaxed ends) I was amazed. It was so long! As I proceeded to shampoo my hair, I wondered how long it would be if I relaxed it. I attribute this next part to God. While washing out the shampoo, my relaxed hair started to MAT up on my head and I wasn’t able to comb it out. It was like God said, “Oh, no! You are GOING to go natural.” So standing in front of the bathroom mirror on that Saturday afternoon, I Big Chopped. When I was done, I had about 3 inches of hair on my head. I felt liberated. I did not cry like I thought I would. I admired this new look while I stood in that bathroom, but I wasn’t ready to face the world just yet. The next day, the weave was back in full effect.
In May of ’07, my money got really tight. So instead of having my hair re-done in June, I decided to take out the weave for good. I was hyped with my 5 inches of hair and decided to go to the barbershop to let them give me a shaping. Bad move. They cut about 3 inches of hair off and suddenly I was back to where I started! LOL. I was so frustrated! But I’m glad that it happened. For one, wearing my hair that short FORCED me to get comfortable with myself. For two, I got to know my hair at such an intimate level. I learned to LOVE it AND myself. I also learned that people can be very shallow and ignorant. Certain guys who spoke to me when I had flowing, relaxed hair, stopped speaking once my hair was short and coily. Friends who attributed my natural hair to religion said that I had gone over the deep end since I “got saved” (I had recently given my life to Christ). And suddenly I had become everyone’s “sistah”?!?! O_o That period in time taught me not to care about what anyone thought and that ultimately, how I felt mattered most.
CN: What is your current regimen?
I wash my hair every two to three weeks. When I do, I wash in four sections. The shampoo that I use depends on my mood. Sometimes I’ll use a Mud and Clay shampoo bar, other times I’ll use HE Hello Hydration shampoo or something comparable. For conditioner, I mainly use Hello Hydration but if I want to treat myself, i.e. have time and money, I’ll use Alter Ego Garlic Deep Conditioner. It smells so yummy and makes my hair feel super soft. Plus the slip is crazy. I also use Nexus Humectress from time to time. Once the conditioner is in, I detangle each of the 4 sections, divide each section into three more sections and twist. Ultimately I’ll have 12 twists in my hair when I’m done. I rinse the conditioner out with cool water while the twists are still in. Sometimes I leave a little conditioner in; sometimes I wash it all out. When my hair dries to the point where it is slightly damp, I’ll either spray my homemade spritz of veggie glycerin, water and grape seed oil on each section or I’ll use Kinky Curly Knot Today. Then I seal each section with either castor oil, shea butter, Kinky Curly Custard, Miss Jessie’s Baby Butter Cream, argan oil, etc. I let my hair air dry and rock the twist out the next day.
CN: How do you maintain Length? Moisture?
My hair likes tons of moisture, which I usually don’t achieve on freshly washed hair. So the night after washday, I add more product and re-twist my hair. The next morning I’ll release the twists and fluff. By this point, my hair has a good amount of moisture and I can let my twist-out shrink and do what it wants to do. I’ll also spray my hair daily with a mix of glycerin, grape seed oil and water. I might do a braid-out once or twice before washday if I want to display length. Sometimes I wear twists all week and rock a twist-out on the weekend, which I’m currently doing now that it’s getting warm. I try to leave my hair alone as much as possible in order to prevent breakage.
CN: Night time routine?
At night I just try to sleep on my satin pillowcase. Some nights I’ll re-twist or re-braid my hair, but most nights I just leave it to do what it does. As long as my hair is moisturized and soft, I’m happy.
CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?
There’s so much to say, but ultimately I would tell the new natural and the transitioning diva to be patient. Learn your hair! Don’t be so quick to put it away when it starts to act unruly. If you’re always putting your hair on time out, how else will you learn what your hair likes and doesn’t like? It took me 2 years to figure out what my hair makes my hair behave. But with the help of blogs like CurlyNikki, a little patience and a willingness to experiment, I was able to develop a regimen that works for me.
Another thing that I would say is to not get caught up in shrinkage. Shrinkage is dope! It’s yet another way to rock your hair. I used to hate it for a while, especially when people would ask, “Did you cut your hair?” and give me the puzzled look when I said no. But since I learned to embrace it as a characteristic of my hair rather than fight against it, I’ve learned to work with it and make it work for me.
CN: What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
The best thing about being naturally glam is dispelling the myth that natural hair is nappy, unkempt, dirty, sloppy, ugly, and all of the other negative associations that come along with natural hair. I love when relaxed women approach me and ask questions about transitioning or when a little cocoa complexioned girl looks up at my fro in awe, or when the Asian lady in the nail salon wants to touch my hair because it looks so touchable or when the older White woman wants to know how I twisted my hair and then shares her curly hair stories with me. Being naturally glamorous is about making people aware that this is how my hair grows out of my head. Just because it grows coily and up and not straight and down doesn’t mean that it’s unruly. It is not bad hair. I can still get a job. I can still get a man. I can still be fab. This is how God made me, so how can that EVER be bad?
CN: Anything else you want to add?
I just want to thank Nikki for taking the time to create a nook for us naturals to get together and learn from one another. My hair salutes ya! Follow me on Twitter @DawnieMich