CN: How long have you been natural?
This is my second go at being natural. I big chopped for the second time in May 2009 after a 10 month transition.
CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I believe that I was a short-term transitioner. I transitioned for about 10 months until I could not take it anymore. My hair had grown past shoulder length after my first big chop fail/relaxer relapse. Therefore, in order to lighten the shock this time, my mother and I decided to cut my hair several inches each month. By the 10th month, I had a cute chin length bob. However, I got sooo tired of pressing my roots…. Basically how I transitioned and not recommended. I spent so much time pressing or trying to do some kind of rod set to blend the textures, and in the end I did not know why I was doing it. I made up my mind that I would go for it and stop the blending. If I had to do it all again, I would have big chopped the moment that I made the decision to go natural.
CN: What is your current regimen?
My current regimen like most is a work in progress. It seems to change for me quarterly. However, I think I have found the groove that works for me.
I wash my hair once a month with shampoo and co-wash every two weeks in between. When I shampoo. I wash my scalp with a sulfate free shampoo (currently Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo) and let the run-off cleanse the rest. I just do one cycle of that. I detangle in the shower with a good, cheap detangling conditioner (currently V05 Moisture Milk Conditioner) and a wide tooth shower comb. I divide my hair in either two or four sections depending on how tangly it is. I section them off with clips and detangle from end to root. Then I apply a deep conditioner (currently Giovanni Smooth as Silk or Jane Carter Nourishing Conditioner) and twist each section and secure with a clip to prepare for sitting under my Heutiful Hair Steamer. I sit under the steamer for 20 minutes or until it goes off without a plastic cap. If it is a co-wash week, I use my cheap detangling conditioner to wash and then steam treat with a deep conditioner.
After conditioning, I use a turbie-towel/microfiber towel to lightly dry my hair so that it won’t be sopping wet, but remain undamaged. I apply Kinky Curly Knot Today (staple product) to do a final run through detangle (really quick). I then begin twisting my hair. I divide my hair in either 4 or 6 sections and create about 5-10 twists in each section. The determining factor is my energy level and how much time I have since I usually do this late at night. I do not make them perfect because I don’t want it to be piecey-looking when I take them out. For each section, I use One N’ Only Argan Oil Treatment (staple) from Sally’s before twisting. I love it, it makes my hair so soft and easy to twist… it is also another great detangler. I then run my Denman Paddle brush over each piece, apply less-than dime size amount of a cream on the strand, and begin to two-strand twist. This whole process takes less than 1 hr for me. I do not have a staple twisting cream, I find that a lot of things work, as long as it is moisturizing. For my latest twist-outs I used the “My Honey Child Twist Out” cream because I am trying to use it up. I have also used Aloe Vera Gel or Shea Butter. My most trusted is actually my own concoction of shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil/ Vatika Oil, and a little bit of my Argan Oil treatment whipped together. I let my twists air dry. It usually takes my hair one night and a complete day. I leave my twists in for about one to two days and wear them in an updo or ponytail. I then take my twists out the night before…. Never in the morning because I don’t like the fresh look. I find that if I take them out at night and pineapple in a high ponytail that night, it turns out great in the morning. When I untwist, I mist my hair with Rose Water (staple) purchased at the local Indian store for $2.99 for a 12 oz bottle. I then untwist each twist individually with an oil by diving each strand into three sections. Therefore, one twist is six pieces. Once finished, I put both hands through my hair to the roots and pull up and out about 3 inches… once again because I don’t like the fresh look and it blends it well. I then shake my head around into the desired look for the day. I always finish with a few dollups of Oyin Shine and Define (staple) to tame and add shine. I don’t know what it does, but I always feel like my hair is perfect after using it!
This is my complete routine. My twist outs usually last me about 1.5- 2.5 weeks. I am a true twist-out girl…. I NEVER do wash and gos because my hair despises them and it is a headache at wash time.
CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?
I think that I have acquired and maintained length by not paying attention to the length and just letting my hair do its thing. I notice growth by the styles that I am able to do or the length of my twists. I think that my low manipulation routine helps as well. I never comb, brush, or finger-comb my hair except for when I am detangling it after washing. I wear my hair down and out 90% of the time, but I try to keep my hands out. Also, I never go to bed without prepping my hair with moisturizer and putting it up, and I never sleep without my satin pillowcase… ever. I do allow my mom to straighten my hair every quarter for a trim because the twist/trim and search and destroy is not effective for me.
*Disclaimer*: I will not even begin to act like I don’t get single strand knots. They are my arch-nemesis and, and I come to the conclusion that it is a part of natural life. Even with moisturizing my ends with oils, butters, low manipulation, shampooing scalp only with sulfate free shampoo, and using a Heutiful, I still get them. Every time I run my fingers through my hair, I always find one… and picking at them has replaced nail biting as my worst habit :-/ However, I am trying to work on that… yet I do think that it may stifle length maintenance a bit for me…. But hey, who cares!
CN: Night time routine?
I can maintain a twist out up to 2 weeks by simply misting my hair with Rose Water, applying a lot of a moisturizing cream (currently Bee Mine Luscious Moisturizer, Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In, or Aloe Vera Gel sealed with an oil) to it at night all over, and then pulling it up into a pineapple bun at the top of my head. I put a satin scarf around the edges and sleep with a satin pillowcase. When I want to be sexy for my man, I lose the scarf and I still look hott that night and in the morning 😉 In the morning, I mist with rose water, shake my head, style and finish with a dollup of Oyin Shine and Define. It never takes me more than 5 minutes to do my hair in the morning with this routine… no matter what style I do. On “bad” hair days, meaning 2 wk twistout, I pull it up into my “ sporty white girl bun” (pineapple bun with a headband around it) or some type of pin-up look. Also, when I work-out, I do this same white girl bun and my hair looks exactly the same once I take it down and shake it out. I never retwist my hair at night because it is not necessary for the look that I try to achieve. I like the free look, and I find that I like my hair best after the first week. If I feel the need to retwist, then I will either wash it or apply a few twists to the top pieces that are driving me crazy for about an hour or so.
CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?
Patience is the key. I have contributed my little tid bits to CurlyNikki.com throughout my journey. If you go way back you may find me. If you notice, my hair has slowly grown over time and my routine changes with the growth. It took me a while to get to this comfortable routine. To be honest, once I was able to pull it up into a pineapple, everything changed… especially with the annoying phase of trying to figure out what to do with your hair at night. I think we all go through it. I am just excited to see what new adventures my hair takes me on, and you too will be amazed at the journey… whether you are transitioning, newly natural, or a veteran embracing the health of your natural hair. To the transitioners: it would be wrong of me to tell you what to do… but so what…. Just go ahead and chop it off! Don’t waste your time with a long transition because if you are not careful, you may mess up the natural hair that you have been trying to grow during the transition with pressing or constant manipulation trying to figure out what to do with it. Also, I think you will find that your hair will probably grow much faster if you just let it start from scratch and grow it out the healthiest way… also, there is no better way to get comfortable in your own skin and reconnect with yourself than going through the TWA phase. You will appreciate the whole process so much more.
CN: What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
The best thing is definitely just being myself to the core. I know in my heart that I am embracing what God gave me, and nothing feels better than that. It is amazing that something as simple as embracing my natural hair has increased my self-confidence of my TOTAL self (not just hair) 150%. I think that when you are naturally glamorous, a natural light really does shine through you… and everyone notices it! Also, I know that there is no one else out there with my hair. Everyone says that… but it is soooo true. Lastly, being naturally glamorous has worked wonders for me in my career. I think that it shows that I am a leader and confident in my skin… at least that’s what managers have told me specifically in relation to my hair. Yes, I work in Corporate America for a Fortune 100 company. I work a desk job and I am the only natural in my area. However, everyone loves my hair. The non-black people love my hair. I get stopped every day in the elevator or on the way to the copier by someone telling me that they love my hair. Even Black people, sometimes we are our own worst enemy, but although a lot don’t tell me, I know they are feeling it too because I always catch them staring and overhear them tell others that they wish they could do that with their hair. I think that we need to get over the crutch of thinking that people are going to judge us by our hair. I believe that if you rock your hair with style and walk around with confidence with your head held high, then no one can tell you ANYTHING. I mean really… what can they say?!….. exactly *chirp chirp*… nada.
CN: Anything else you want to add?
As if I haven’t shared enough… I have a very comprehensive public album on Facebook that chronicles my natural hair journey. I have hundreds of photos during all phases, and if you look at the captions, I give step by steps for certain looks. If you want to add me, please don’t be scared… let’s be friends… I love connecting with my natural divas.
Also, I was at the Orlando meet-up. So if you are in the metro Orlando area (I live in Lake Mary) and you feel like you don’t have time, don’t know how, or don’t feel like twisting, detangling, or washing your hair… hit me up. I will do it for you for really cheap because I think it’s fun! Plus… you can try out my hair steamer!
*Mallorie’s Transition Story