CN: How long have you been natural?
About 4 years this April!
CN: Were you a long term or a short term transitioner and why?
I went ahead and did the Big Chop. I love short hair (or really really BIG hair) and had it previously in high school. I like drastic changes or things that throw me into new situations and force me to adapt. I was also so determined to go natural that I allowed my relaxed hair to begin dreading and thus there was no turning back. I was so done with the process of burning my scalp, having that lye smell in every whiff of hair as I turned my head, and the tapping to slapping of my head to keep it from itching before I could get it relaxed and actually wash it (I just laugh every time I think of this). I got my first relaxer or I “creamed” my hair (as we Jamaicans say) when I was 5 or 6. My hair was jet jet jet black and the texture was like doll’s hair or so my mom told me. I was nicknamed Pocahontas for that period of time until my hair started falling out in strands…….and then in clumps. So that little “do” was not going to last as long as I thought……..after some months, my mom cut off all the processed hair and left me with a cute little afro that got stares upon stares but I reveled in the attention because I was going against the status quo in second grade. I didn’t realize until now that I had my first BIG CHOP at the age of 6 or 7. Fast forward to freshman year in college. Some hair altering event happened somewhere in between the previous two memories. I had now had my hair relaxed since 7th grade. I would find myself beyond fascinated with the new growth that I would find after washing my hair. I just wanted to see what it would look like all by itself.
CN: What is your current regimen?
Ideally, I will wash my hair every week. Lately, I have been letting it go to two weeks but by the middle of the second week….its about that time. Unlike a lot people I see in tutorials, I detangle first and I saturate my dry hair with the conditioner (I will dilute it a little bit) because I think it absorbs the conditioner much better and gives my hair more slip during detangling. I try to use good conditioners. The more natural the better, I believe. I have been using Tresemme Naturals recently and I sometimes use the professional sized conditioners from the beauty supply store but I am still on the lookout for a really good conditioner and shampoo combo. I stay away from the cheap ones (Suave, VO5, etc). I just bought the Tangle Teezer and used it for the first time yesterday. I am not using anything else to detangle my hair. It actually doesn’t pull your hair out like other brushes. Its just awesome. After I detangle, I will put my hair in twists or braids and then I will shampoo.
For my hair texture, I just cannot seem to wash it is unless I have just detangled it and massaged it really gently in the shower. Other than that, I will be at tangle central and not a very happy camper. This works for me and I know some other curlies do this as well. Once I finish detangling, I wash with my twists using sulfate-free shampoo. I do sometime use the sulfate shampoo when my hair gets really dirty and needs a good clean. I haven’t been able to find my original Shampoo (Creme of Nature) that used to be sulfate free. I moisturize with a natural leave-in that I found online at growafrohairlong.com and a combo of shea butter and coconut oil. I just try to keep it simple and natural. I do use Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in from time to time. I then twist or braid or bantu knot depending on what I want but I mostly stick to twist outs. I am gonna get into protective styles and little more……trying to jump on that hair challenge!! 🙂 . I also deep condition every week or two weeks.
CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?
I haven’t really struggled with the length part of it but definitely with the moisture. I was seeing that my hair growth was beginning to plateau and realized it was as a result of a couple of things: Allowing my hair to dry, leaving it untwisted at night, not re-moisturizing the next day…basically foolishness. My hair grew the most when I was washing on a weekly basis without question. I am learning that with your hair, the more you put into to it, the more you get out. So now I am considering wearing more protective styles, especially during the winter when your hair gets drier faster and being vigilant about protecting my ends by sealing them every night. I do trim my hair from time to time but not on a consistent scheduled. I think trims are a good idea to just be preventative about any hair damage. The way I eat may also have something to do with it. I eat bird food as my friends like to tell me….yes, vegan. So no milk, cheese, meat…you know and lots of fruits and veggies and grains and nuts. I love eating this way. I just feel like I am doing something good for my body.
CN: Night time routine?
I sleep with a satin hair cap/bonnet with my hair in twists. I might wear another scarf on top just to keep it secure. If I really have no time, I will do a pineapple but I really suggest the twists at night because they keep your hair the most protected. I will make sure to seal my ends with some kind of oil (either shea butter or coconut oil).
CN: What would you tell a new natural or a transitioning diva?
You are beautiful, courageous and you are making the right decision. You don’t need validation from anyone. A lot of people are going to have a lot of opinions but what always matters is what you think of yourself. You will experience an incredible sense of freedom and confidence because you know you are just being who you are. Wear your hair with confidence!! 🙂 You never know….you might end up inspiring those same people who had negative things to say to you. But I think you will find that you will become more comfortable in who you are. Also, just enjoy your hair as it grows through the stages. People get so caught up in reaching waist length and it makes their hair journey burdensome. This shouldn’t be the case. You are learning about yourself and your hair everyday and you should allow yourself to enjoy the entire experience. You can be creative as you want, so experiment with anything and everything (updos, twists, parts…everthaaang)!
CN: What is the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
PNB: Pure Natural Beauty in addition to Versatility, Bounce, Courage, Bigness, Strength, Uniqueness, Boldness….its just an incredible thing all around to wear your hair naturally. My hair can do whatever I want it to do and it fits me more than anything else. I love my hair texture!! I am still as fascinated with it as I was the first time I noticed it in freshman year. I literally have a head of coils. It forms the smallest but most defined curls I have ever seen and does not lay down even under water. It is so bold and big and bouncy. I think it represents me too well. 🙂 I just love knowing that the hair coming out of my head is not altered in any way, shape or form. I also find that when women go natural, to me their hair seems to fit them perfectly. It is as God would have it and I feel awesome accepting that. I just love to see Black women with natural hair wearing it with confidence and grace. It is so empowering and just gets me all happy!!
CN: Anything else you want to add?
I will continue on my soap box about seeing Black women wearing their hair naturally….. 🙂 …..It is really so beautiful. It just symbolizes a lot of strength and power to me! To everyone reading, you are unique and special in a way only you can be… so please add something different to the world and be YOU!! Thank you to CurlyNikki for featuring me and doing something incredibly awesome for natural women all over the world. You are affecting lives in such a positive way and doing it with style and grace in the process. They need to bring you on Oprah next… and then we will probably see you in a couple months with your own talk show. Love and Love!