CN: How long have you been natural?
I BC’ed September 30, 2009, so it’s been almost two years.
CN: Were you a long term or short term transitioner, and why?
I started transitioning pretty much by accident. My sister had been natural for six years when I started transitioning and every other word that came out her mouth was “fotki” or “CG method” or “4a hair” or some the other natural hair lingo that I couldn’t follow. I was convinced she was in a cult every time she went to a curly meet-up. She encouraged me to go natural a lot, but all I could remember were lots and lots of tears at even the sight of a comb from the time I was a very young girl.
In the spring of my sophomore year in college, I was taking aquatics, the summer was on its way, and I was preparing to study abroad the following fall. So I knew I didn’t want to be bothered with my hair too much, and straightening it all the time would be too much of a hassle. By mid-summer, I realized I could handle the whole transitioning thing, especially with a lot of help from my sister and my best friend (who went natural a year before I did), and I made a commitment to myself to see it through.
Anyway, I planned on being a long term transitioner because I’ve always had long hair and was afraid to cut it. But the more I saw new growth, the more I was frustrated with finding styles to keep my hair healthy and pretty. After a while, I was disgusted (I know that’s a strong word, but that’s how I felt at the time) with seeing the two different textures, and I wanted the perm gone IMMEDIATELY. So one night while I was abroad (without everyone at home asking why I wanted to cut my “long, pretty hair”), I made the decision to cut it all off. The next day, I walked into a barber shop, and before I knew it, one curl, two curls, three curls were gone. I absolutely have never, ever for one second regretted BC’ing.
CN: What is your current regimen?
Water is my hair’s BFF, so I condition or co-wash about three times a week. When I first transitioned, I experimented with a million and one different conditioners to see what worked for me. But now that I have my staple products, I like to mix it up. And I always, always use a leave-in. My favs are anything from Giovanni, Mixed Chicks Leave-in, Jane Carter Condition and Sculpt, Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner, and Knot Today Leave-in.
I detangle once or twice a week. I section my hair (I’m up to about eight sections now), and I just work my way from the bottom up. When I finish with each section, I braid it and leave it for the night. (I used to twist my hair after detangling, but I’m finding that I like braid-outs better than twist-outs – I never know what I’m going to get with a twist-out!)
I rarely shampoo (maybe once or twice a month, or as needed) because I haven’t found one that doesn’t dry my hair out.
Styling is pretty much whatever I’m in the mood for that day and have the time to – updos, braid-outs, twist-outs, flat twists, etc.
CN: How do you maintain Length? Moisture?
I’m not so concerned about length. Actually, I’m a much happier person with short hair, and the only reason I’m growing it out now is because it’s been so long since I’ve seen my hair long and natural like when I was a kid. (The length I’m at now is pretty annoying because I feel like a 4th grader with some of the styles I find myself doing, so I’m always looking for new ones!)
In terms of moisture, jojoba oil is a God-send! If I seal my hair with jojoba oil over a leave-in conditioner or a cream, the result is always amazing – shiny and so moisturized.
CN: Night time routine?
I don’t have a very strict night time routine, except to follow the cardinal rule: Never sleep without a satin bonnet!
CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?
Know that there will be some rough times ahead. There were times when I just couldn’t understand why my hair hated me so much. There were times when I was so overwhelmed by all of the products, the regimens, the different kinds of brushes – literally, I used to walk through the store reading product reviews on my phone as I saw things I wanted to try.
BUT also know that there are so many more good times. Those I can’t describe to you. You have to stick with it and find out that you’re hair actually loves you.
CN: What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
There are so many amazing things about being naturally glam – like changing up my look so easily, and of course, not allowing the weather to dictate my hairstyle for the day! The best, by far though, is knowing that I don’t have to change a single thing about myself to look in the mirror and FEEL glamorous.