Meet Christa, 21 years old and a recent graduate from Rice University in Houston, TX!  Raised in Chicago, IL, she’s relocating to Washington, D.C. for a position as a project engineer in July! 

When and why did you decide to go natural?
Throughout high school, I only got relaxers every 3 months, and would love the way my roots felt in between touch ups. I decided to go natural freshman year of college because I wanted to learn how to take care of my hair, I hate sitting in a salon all day, and I felt that my hair was constantly breaking off. 

Did you transition or Big Chop?
I transitioned from December 2008 to June 2009. Since my hair grows incredibly fast, the loss of length didn’t shock me because I went from mid back to arm pit length hair. 

How did your fam and friends react to your decision to go natural?  How did they respond to the ‘new you’?
My first relaxer was freshman year of high school. Before then, I rocked the classic press-n-curl ever since I can remember. When I first started transitioning and wearing protective heat free styles, many people would mention how I have “good hair” so I can do “the natural look”. Like what EXACTLY is “the natural look”?!! I don’t believe in “good hair”. Healthy hair is good hair!! However, since many people are beginning to go natural and it is getting more media attention most of the comments transitioned *no pun intended* to “You’re hair looks so healthy! It’s beautiful!” “What products do you use to make your curls so soft and bouncy?” My boyfriend thought I was lying when I said I am stopped all the time to talk about my hair until we ran errands together one day. In every store, someone questioned me about my hair. LOL

What is your current regimen?
I alternate every other week, shampoo & deep condition OR no-poo cleanse my hair. I section my hair into 4 parts and use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration to initially detangle my curls. After I wash my hair, I leave a conditioner on anywhere from 15 minutes to a day (depending on how lazy I am or my hair needs). After I rinse with cool water, I take each section and add leave in, comb through, and two-strand twist my hair while adding sealants. I recently started wearing wash-n-gos. However, most of my staple styles stem from two-strand twists or twist outs! 

Describe your hair…
I have looser curls and waves in the front, coarser curls and waves in the middle, and big corkscrews in the back. My hair definitely has a mind of its own. I love my big hair!! 

What do you love about your natural hair?
I love that my hair is moldable. Since my hair is so springy, I can stretch it for longer bouncy curls, wear wash-n-gos for more compacted yet full look, stretch the HECK out of my twist outs for a kinky-curly extra textured fro style, or take styling pomade and smooth out the curls creating slick wavy designs. My hair offers me so much versatility!

What has your natural hair taught you?!
*PATIENCE IS KEY!! I am not the most patient person; however, working on the health of my hair has definitely taught me better patience. It has taught me that creating then maintaining a healthy lifestyle (hair, body, self-esteem, etc.) comes with time. Finding the perfect balance is not an overnight process, it is a process of self-discovery and knowledge.

Advice for others?

*CREATE A ROUTINE!!! THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!! The routine is the foundation of healthy hair. Take your time. Explore products. Learn about ingredients. Pay close attention to how your hair reacts to different stimuli. Don’t have a routine? Start off simple: Cleanser, Conditioner, Deep Conditioner, Moisturizer, Sealant
· NEVER rush into adding color to your hair unless you are willing to quickly adapt your routine AND dedicate extra time to paying attention to your hair’s health. I lost about 3-4 inches (not including the few inches I cut myself while frustrated by my raggedy ends one evening LOL) due to damage from the color in my hair. I knew I would not have the time with senior design requirements to complete my engineering degree AND take the utmost care of my hair every week. So, I paid for it later.
· If you want to go natural… don’t doubt yourself. Be confident and JUST

*GO FOR IT! Otherwise, you may be sitting there 2 years later still contemplating the thought!

What products do you currently use, and how are they working for you?

**Giovanni Organics Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo and conditioner– I have dry scalp and I’m prone to dandruff. The tea oil works wonders in keeping me scratch and flake free.

**Leave-In: Kinky Curly Knot Today– Distributes easily through my hair and makes it SO easy for me to comb through post-wash tangles. My hair feels moisturized and bouncy I use this leave in; Curls Crème Brule **2nd Day Hair Moisturizer: Curls Lavish Curls Moisturizer—I use this every other day when I am wearing a twist out. It keeps my hair very moisturized. **Sealants: Curls Blissful Lengths Kukinut Oil Elixir; Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter **Deep Conditioner: Carol’s Daughter Lisa Hair Elixir– added to regular conditioner or used as hot oil treatmets; Giovanni Organics Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor

Where can we find you on the web?
I don’t have a blog YET. I am currently in the brainstorming process for a blog I want to start when I begin my journey in D.C. Looking forward to the possibility of guest blogging for the CurlyNikki community!! In the meanwhile, find me on Instagram & Twitter @xta28.

Any last thoughts?!
I am so grateful for this online community. CurlyNikki has been a great resource for me during my natural hair journey. Thanks!!