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
@mizcreativelyme Try your local mega beauty supply store. If not, you can order from Amazon.com
beautiful chica! i'd like to know where to purchase alter ego DC?
@Deborah Thank you! The tees were designed for my girlfriends and I. We were participants in the NYC AIDS walk that took place in 09. Our team name was Divas Inspired.
Wonderful story! I love your Tshirt in the first picture. Where did you get it?
Thanks again guys! Glad that I could be an inspiration to you all.
For those that want to know how I achieved the updo that a wore for my wedding, check out the cinnabun (sp?) videos on youtube. The only change that I made was that I pinned the circumference of the bun as opposed to using headbands.
The pink sweatshirt updo was achieved by pushing my hair up and securing it with four hair combs. Two on the sides of my head and two at the back. I hope this helps.
You really show the versatility of afro hair! It looks like u have different hair types in each picture. Thanks for restoring my confidence in what our kind of hair can do!
From Lela 7 – a black british natural
Thanks for sharing your story. Gorgeous Updo. im attending spelmans graduation and wanted to know how to achieve your updo. Your story was really inspiring to me because I have a case of " Hide my hair syndrome" but your story gave me the boost I need to break out of that habit.
Colouredbeautiful I meant to type in…
Your hair and the hairstyles are gorgeous, and I love the last 2 pictures especially. I could swear that you were mentioned on Natural chica with your gorgeous wedding photos listed. Anyway you definitely are working the natural look, and congrats on the wedding.
Also to ladies that like wearing wigs for protective styles. Check out this gorgeous wig from fellow youtuber "Colourbeautiful" titled BESHE "SHELLY": THE PERFECT CURLY FRO. It looks so realistic that I'm tempted to buy it myself.
thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations on the your matrimony. keep inspiring us DawnieMich!
DawnieMich, you're absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing your story. I know you've inspired many ladies not only in the hair but style department! God bless.
HOW CUTE IS SHE??? That smile! I love your hair too. I've always wished my hair was thicker so that I could do different styles. I've been in the wash n go matrix for about 3yrs now. But I've realized if I comb out or twist a wng, it gives me more volume to play with. I love that wedding 'do! I'd love to see it from different angles (hint hint lol) and the updo is really cute too.
Thanks guys! Ya'll make a girl feel REALLY good on Good Friday! Lol
Happy Resurrection Day to you as well Anonymous!
Great story. I can especially relate to having to deal with my hair and not use extensions (when a braider stood me up last year), and it was the BEST thing. Congrats on the marriage. Happy Resurrection day as well.
Beautiful lady and hair! Thanks for sharing.
i thought this was a post about a group of women- then i read the title, nope- just one. You look fabulously different in every photo. Your hair in its different phases reveals different sides of your beauty! LOVE IT!
Gorgeous. I love seeing pics over months/years, gives me hope lol.
A Girl's Next Best Friend
I just have to say, the versatility of styles you are displaying in your pics is wonderful. So nice to see that! Thanks for sharing your story with us.
Umph looks like she has type 4a hair and 4a-ers please take this as a sincere compliment the amazing thing about type 4a hair is it can have a kinky look sometimes, yet a curly look other times. Really versatile. Ms. DawnieMich your pictures and hair give me hope. Gone on gurl. Do u!
@Lea I haven't had a professional cut in so long. The natural hair stylists were trying to take ALL of my money. And if I went to the barber, they were always too concerned with making my fro perfectly round and giving me straight edges. I like my baby hair, thank you very much! Lol. To achieve the roundness they would always take too much length off. So now I trim my hair myself. I eventually want someone to shape it for me though. My hair has grown a lot in the past year, so now the back is longer than the middle. I kind of create the tapered look by saturating the back and sides of my hair with water and letting it shrink for the appearance of a tapered look.
@Honey Thanks! Shrinkage will get you through those in between stages. I'm going through one now, so shrinkage allows me to adjust the length of my hair. I just use the end of a rat tail comb to gently stretch and shape my hair. Bam! Lol
It was a very enjoyable and encouraging read, your hair is breathtaking. I love shrinkage too, I have a twa that is growing out and shrinkage helps me achieve some of my styles
Hi DawnieMich, I am in the same situation where I was growing my hair out, went to a male barber to get it shaped, he messed it all up and I am in the process of growing it out again. I love that you tapered it and can see in your picture with the scarf that it kind of grew out in that shape (which is so freakin cute) and ultimately the look I want to achieve once I get a bigger fro going.
My question is, who shapes your hair now? I have clippers and accessories but scared of letting anyone cut my hair at this point.
Thank you for sharing your hair story. I am transitioning out of a relaxer and I feel encouraged every time I read about people who stuck with the transition and did not give up. I love the photos too because it shows me the possibilities.
@nellboogie Thank you!
@Anonymous I'm glad that my story inspired you. It amazes me how people will make negative comments about the decision to go natural, as if my decision affects them. Smh…as far as the workplace, I worked for a VERY corporate firm and people STARED at my hair. It was uncomfortable at first but I eventually got over it, gave my best work product and got promoted. Your work will speak for itself. No worries. I even converted a couple of people. Lol
@DrChuck24 LOL. I didn't even see that.
@Riz YAY! Hair twins in effect! Thank you!
Beautiful hair, beautiful spirit. I can relate to her story. Thanks for sharing!
I think I've found my hair twin! hair type, hair story and all. You're beautiful and fabulous 🙂
oops just realized I said DawnieMice and not Mich lol…
I'm going to add glycerin into my water mix and see the results…thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I found it to be very encouraging. I recently went natural (last relaxer in July 2010) and I have been receiving some discouraging comments regarding the perception of natural hair in the workplace and the possible negative effect it may have on getting promoted, etc. I found your hairstory to be a breath of fresh air 🙂
Your pics are giving me life today!!! Well played, Sista!!!
@DrChuck24 Yep, the last pic is from my wedding. I got married in January. Woo hoo! Lol. As for the water mix, incorporating that into my regimen has been the best thing for my hair. It's always so soft and fluffy now. I think the addition of the glycerin has done wonders!
first of all DawnieMice..thanks for providing tons of photos. Especially of when the hair was much short. You and your hair looks great! Is that last photo from your wedding…looks like it. Love the hairstyle 🙂 I need to get back to spraying my fro with a water mix. Thanks for sharing.
Girl you are Beautiful!!!You better WORK MISS THANG!(in my best alternative lifestyle voice!)