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Curly Nikki

Kimberly Elise talks Healthy Natural Hair Care

By January 27th, 202158 Comments
Reposting ’cause she’s so damn cute and down to earth!  Her hair is EVERYTHING!  Enjoy! 

Kimberly Elise, acclaimed actress best known for her roles in ‘Set It Off’, ‘John Q’, ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman’, and ‘For Colored Girls’, is On the Couch! She’s one year into her healthy hair journey… she prepoos and utilizes protective styles! I’m sure by now, you can tell she’s a member of the natural hair community, even calling sites like CurlyNikki, the Natural Hair University!

Kimberly Elise talks Healthy Natural Hair Care
To achieve this look, Kimberly set her hair in small bantu knots while damp.
She released when dry then lightly spritzed with rosewater.

CN: Your hair is stunning, so thick and healthy. Have you always been natural?
KE: I had my last relaxer in the early 2000s. I grew up with the pressing comb, had a Jheri Curl and then I started relaxers. I have a very sensitive scalp and no matter what I did, they always burned. My hair wasn’t happy and didn’t do well. And so I just stopped at a certain point and my last one was probably in 2000 or 2001. I reverted to using the pressing comb, then I tried braids, sort of leaving it alone, and I found that that made it really grow.

Just last summer, 2010, I thought I’d try something a little different. I had heard about the keratin thing and I understood it to be a temporary process… something you could put in and wash out in like 2 months. I thought it would be a nice change. Well, it didn’t wash out and my curls were gone. It was really upsetting. I pulled back again, put it in and braids to let it grow
and recently cut off about 6 inches, all the keratin, and now I finally have my curls back.

It’s been almost a year of letting it regrow itself. That’s where I am now. My curls are back and honestly, I didn’t know a whole lot about how to take care of my natural hair until this last year. I learned so much on your site. I don’t even know how I stumbled across it… it’s like so educational, a university for natural hair. I’ve also learned so much from Youtube, everyone from CurlyChronicles, Naptural85 to NaturalChica and Kimmaytube. I so love and appreciate the community and I’ve learned what my hair does, what it is, and how it thrives in a way that I really never understood before. I felt like I’d been given a key to a secret room and all the answers were in that room. It’s very empowering because you really are in your own little world trying to figure it out (hair), and to see this whole community of support and education and sharing information, it was refreshing.

CN: I see that you’ve been wearing your natural hair on the red carpet quite a bit. How has it been received?
KE: I’m extremely protective of my hair and so I don’t let them use it. Like in my last movie… they wanted to style my hair and I said no. I’ll do wigs, but I don’t want the stress on my strands. There are too many people that don’t know how to take care of it and I’d be bald by the end of the production. It’s too sensitive for the rigors of production.

As for your question, people love it. Certainly on the red carpet people love it and they’re excited to see natural hair out and wearing it and feeling free about it and I’ve received nothing but compliments and good feedback from just being myself.

CN: What’s your current routine and staple products?
KE: I went through the whole junkie phase and tried all types of things. And now I have a very simple routine. I spritz day and night with rosemary water I make myself. I get rosemary herbs from Whole Foods and boil them and let them sit overnight in purified water. Then, I’ll either use shea butter or coconut oil to seal in the moisture. And that’s it! Very simple. I’m still trying to find the right shampoo because I’m very particular about products. I’m a vegan, I was a vegetarian for 13 years and just became a vegan. And I’m very particular about natural products, organic products and that’s been like my biggest challenge. And that’s why my routine is so simple because I am so selective.

Mostly I prepoo with Aubrey Honey Suckle Rose or coconut oil and then I was using the Giovanni to shampoo, but it wasn’t quite right for me. So I’m still searching there. And I find that that’s a part of it too. The journey to find what works. My mom is on the journey with me. She’s been natural forever but again didn’t really know how to care for her hair. She grew up believing ‘black girls don’t like water’. We need water, we need to drink it and put it on our hair. So she’s really on this journey with me too. Things that don’t work for her, might work for me, and vice versa. I don’t have a good answer for that. I’m still figuring out what’s best for me, which is why i don’t want to put a brand name out there.

On Sunday, I’ll shampoo and condition. It’s an all day thing. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m in a protective style. I have learned that with my hair less is more with as little manipulation as possible. I will wear cute braid/twist/bantu knot style, a pretty scarf, a cute hat and always some sort of hair accessory that brings it all together. My hair grows very fast, over a 1/2 inch a month. Protective styles allow my hair to grow at it’s full potential so when I do want to wear it out, it’s healthy and vibrant.

And if I have something that I’m going to go to and I want to wear my hair out, that’s a special thing. I don’t just wear twist-out and curl outs everyday.

So Sunday, I’ll do that and braid it, spritz it and put my silk scarf over it or find a cute braid style that I can wear out. Come Wednesday, I’ll cowash with Aubrey, and then do it again on Sunday. And in between, every morning and every night, I spritz with the rosemary water and seal with coconut oil.

For events, I’ll stretch it with… I learned from GirlsLoveYourCurls about threading. So I stretch my hair and then very lightly spriz and either twist it or roll it and then finger it out and apply a little more coconut oil. And that’s how I got that look.

Kimberly Elise talks Healthy Natural Hair Care

CN: I’ve seen pics of you with your daughter. She’s adorable! Does she love her natural hair too?
KE: My mom and my youngest daughter. My daughter is feeling more and more comfortable about her natural hair as she watches me embrace mine. What’s really amazing to me is that growing up, the pressure was, ‘when are you going to get your relaxer?’ or ‘when are you going to change what your natural hair is?’ And you didn’t feel good unless it was pressed or somehow chemically processed. My daughter is 12, she goes to school and the girls are all natural. And they’re teaching each other how to take care of their natural hair… really supporting each other in their natural hair. And these are 12 year old black girls, all kinds of textures of hair and they’re all natural! No one has any chemicals and it’s a whole different world. And so my daughter comes home from school with a new technique that she learned from another girl about how to flat twist or another moisturizer, and it’s beautiful. They’re learning from us as mothers but they’re being very strongly influenced by their peers.

CN: Any words of encouragement for a newbie or a woman thinking of making the transition?
KE: It’s so incredibly personal. I definitely wouldn’t try to persuade someone because there is a lot of commitment that goes with it. But if a person is at a point that there sure that this is what they want to do… I’d say get as much education as you can even before you big chop! I recommend reading ‘The Science of Black Hair’. Be patient with it, listen to it. What works for your sister may not work for you. It’s an exciting, magical process to watch your hair come to life and thrive. My mom is 73 and she said her hair is saying ‘finally!’ It’s true because your hair really will talk to you. Surround yourself with a community of support. Not everyone will be supportive. There is still a lot of stigma against us with our natural hair. Pressures to have it straight. It’s important to have a support group, even if it’s just strangers on the Internet. Have fun with it. Create some new styles and share them. It’s a magical journey and it’s liberating. You can walk out in the rain and not worry about it… it’ll create a new fantastic hairdo!

CN: What’s the best thing about being curly?
KE: I love how my curly hair is such a personal expression of the woman I am. The woman God created. I get excited as I see it grow and grow and I see it as a direct reflection of my own growth into myself and accepting me as me. I find that though not everyone embraces my hair most people do and they love to ask me about it, learn how I care for it especially if they are struggling to understand their own hair. I am always open to answer their questions and advise them as much as I can. They will start asking me about my movies and we always end up talking about hair care! Also I find that people of other ethnicity’s really really love our kinky curly hair and are always full of compliments and praise and simply cannot stop the flow of positive words about my big kinky curly hair. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate self and be celebrated by others who may be different from me. I love it!

CN: What projects are you working on?
KE: I just finished a really fun film… ‘Hannah’s Law’, a western. Me and Danny Glover and Billy Zane. I had a blast creatively, it was a really fun experience. I played a cowgirl.
For that project, all my projects, I cornrow my hair and wear character appropriate wigs and that’s what I did for ‘Hannah’s Law’.

**Kimberly is on twitter and she wanted me to tell you that she responds!**


  • Afrikan Latina says:

    Kimberly is one of THE most underrated actresses of our time. I absolutely love her as an actress and when I saw her beautiful curls I loved her even more. I think it is sooooo important for little black and brown girls to see women who actually embrace their natural and true beauty.

  • Shashou says:

    She is such a wonderful actor. And she has absolutely beautiful hair.

  • Mynameis says:

    I too am having trouble coming up with a solid hair routine. I'm allergic to a lot of natural products. I found that shea moisture and kinky curly knot today makes the LENGTH of my hair grow. Yet causes itching and shedding which effects the thickness of my hair. A damp scalp without washing, causes a lot of dandruff on my scalp.So wetting the scalp frequently is out of the question. Although I do wash my hair every week. I just don't know what to do. I know the importance of protective styles on tightly coiled hair. However, most protective styles that I know how to do ( like twists) don't fit my face………… so I've been told. Any suggestions folks? Right now I have just settled with Miss Jessie curling butter and herbal essence shampoo and conditioner. Products with chemicals are the only things that don't irritate my scalp.But one has to wonder about the effects of having cones and mineral oils on natural hair, you know? So far I have come to the conclusion that I am very, very, very, allergic to jojoba oil. I also think I am allergic to soy and wheat. Again, your advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • DiscoveringNatural says:

    I love you, Kimberly! Your hair is so gorgeous!! I also, thread my daughter's hair and when I was younger, got my hair threaded. It is a wonderful way to stretch hair, and if done well, you can wear it out. I have several pics on my blog: discoveringnatural dot com

  • monniej says:

    i just love kimberly elise and love that she's fine with being an advocate for natural hair. some of the natural celeb's i've been hearing from lately seem to be having some difficulty when talking about their natural hair, so her being so open with her opinions and processes is quite refreshing. thanks so much for sharing!

  • sharon-jefferson says:

    She's so pretty! Wonderful hair and great talent as an actress.

  • Alwina Oyewoleturner says:

    Awesome actress! I enjoy every movie she's in!

  • CurvyCurly says:

    Jeanette you are so right, CurlyNikki is the 'go to' site for many celebrities now which is just awesome! Kimberly Elise, Kim Wayans, Kim Coles, Tracee Ellis Ross, Wanda Sykes, just to name a FEW.

  • sandy says:

    I was touched by hearing that 3 generations of her family are embracing this journey.

  • CurvyCurly says:

    That was cool how she tells the stylist during production she does not want to put her hair through the stress of daily styling but is willing to wear wigs instead. I've heard more actress with natural hair are requesting this as well. Ya'll know us natural ladies get rather *protective* of our delicate strands!

  • CurvyCurly says:

    That's interesting that your father actually told you he did not feel your natural hair was glamorous. Kinda sad but I guess he's entitled to his opinion. Beauty and glamore is in the eye of the beholder. As long as YOU feel beautiful and glamorous that's all that really matters. Remember that, and don't cave in to the pressure 😉 Glad this article was an inspiration.

  • CurvyCurly says:

    I was thinking the same thing, that you can sense how sweet she is and receive her positive energy through her writing.

  • CurvyCurly says:

    Kimberly is one of my all-time favorite actresses! She's so beautiful, poised, graceful, and talented AND representing Team Natural. Not to mention she seems so down-to-earth, like someone you would love to hang out with just as Nikki did at the VMAs….woohoo. Enjoyed the article and continued success for Kim!

  • Gwenn4ya says:

    I've always loved Kimberly Elise! She's such a wonderful actress. Very talented!

  • lala pop says:

    great article! I love Kimberly Elise she's one of my favorite actresses!

  • Imani BeautifullyPissed Monroe says:

    she is so adorable 🙂

  • Crist says:

    her hair..its so shiny! and soft-looking!

  • Derika says:

    Kimberly seems like such a sweet person. I really enjoyed her interview. It's like I could feel her sweet spirit through the print. Her hair is the bomb too!

  • Megan M. says:

    *Sheds a tear* this just what my mom and I are doing this. What works for me does not for her but our hair does loves products with Shea butter in them. Great interview Nikki with an incredible actress.

  • Thetruthisoutthere says:

    "Kimberly is gaw-geous!" Drops mike and walks off stage.

    (ps – go to girlsloveyourcurls and watch Nadine's "Things Ghanaian Parents Say…" Please!)

  • Miss Anne says:

    The lovely Kimberly… Awesome interview! her hair is Gorg!!!

  • Davina916 says:

    Great interview! Great hair!

  • Anonymous says:

    Its so nice 2 c a blk Celeb woman go 2 public events with her natural hair! It shouldnt be a big deal but it is bc other blk celebs may claim 2 be natural but never wear their own hair in public.You see them at the pool with a 22" weave at all times even on their down time and u def dont see them at a public event with kinky, curly, twists. Is it bc THEY are uncomfortable or do they think straight is what hollywood expects so they give it 2 them without them even asking?Elise's real fans should understand the smoke n mirrors of hollywood.its the pirahannas of fashion & gossip mags that make mean comments abt ppl in their natural state.They try 2 set the standard that straight is acceptable and naything else is to ethnic, unprofessional or unaccceptable. Elise embraces her beautiful versatile hair and thats nice 2 see!Shes not letting hollywood tell her that even on her down time she needs 2 look fried,dyed & laid 2 the side in order 2 be hollywood glamorous! Good 4 her!

  • Unknown says:

    I love her hair:) I love the fact that her daughter is natural, and that they give each other tips..Ijust love the fact that black women are embracing their curls and coils and waves..I am under pressure to straighten my hair because my father thinks it isnt 'glamorous'. She is right-it is a very personal journey and a very personal experience,and even though im only three months natural currently, im loving every step of the way and cannot wait for my hair to be big and full like all the wonderful youtubers and natural hair sisters.
    Dont give up, people 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I love love love Kimberly Elise!!! What a great interview. As someone else said he is a very underrated actress she nails all of her roles I love to watch all the movies she's in. I do want to give threading a try I have heard that its a good way to stretch your hair.

    I wish you years and years more of success Mrs. Elise

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent interview! It is so refreshing to hear an interview with a natural celebrity who actually LOVES their natural hair. 🙂

  • Levone says:

    GREAT interview! I have always loved Kimberly as an actress. I think her hair is gorgeous and didn't realize she is relaxer free. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am PROUD to be a member of CNU…Curly Nikki University!! Loved how she referenced the site as an university. It is truly quite informative and educational. I spend many hours studying! :))

    LOVED the interview. KE is one of my FAV actresses.

  • Anonymous says:

    This was an awesome interview! I prefer interviews like these to the ones about people who are natural but hide under wigs/weaves 99% of the time.

  • Anonymous says:

    i totally agree. kimberly is an awesome actress!! She is beautiful!!!!

  • MommieDearest says:

    One of the best interviews yet Nikki! I love love LOVE Kimberly Elise. She is so underrated it's maddening. She made "Beloved" watchable for me. While Thandie Newton did an excellent job as the title character, I was more interested in Denver. Kimberly NAILED that performance. She actually gave me chills.

    Her hair is gorgeous. It looks soft, shiny and healthy. I have a new hair crush! Also, her beauty is etherial. (sp?) It's there, but not in an "in your face" fashion. It gradually pulls you in.

    The best part of the interview, IMO, was when she talked about her daughter and how she and her friends embrace their natural textures and share hair care tips. Young black girls who love themselves AS THEY ARE and who SUPPORT each other. How cool is THAT?!

  • MJ says:

    Simply awesome!

    People say I look like her. She's far more beautiful. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Awesome interview. Really loving the simplicity of her routine, and how she protects her hair while filming.

  • Anonymous says:

    You are so amazing! I truly love your hair and have one question:

    Where do you get your dresses? I loved your sundresses in "Diary of a Mad Black Woman"!

    All the best!

  • Anonymous says:

    Super glad to hear that she has embraced a vegan lifestyle. I think more people need to consider it. The hormones in animal products are causing so many problems that it's just not worth it anymore. A vegan lifestyle can reduce cholesterol, BP, blood sugar levels and weight if done in a healthy fashion. It can superenergize you as well.

    Yay Kimberly Elise!

  • Anonymous says:

    That first pic looks like a half-wig? The second looks like hers and it is GORGEOUS just like her!

  • Anonymous says:

    Great interview! Always admire her acting give this lady an Oscar already! Love how simple the hair care is. Seems everyone with gorgeous natural hair has a simple routine. Love that the young ladies are watching us and embracing each other and their natural hair.

  • Jeannette says:

    Although I never knew about Kimberly Elise's personal life, I always admired her acting. She goes into the depth of it, the core. She's fantastic and so down to earth, OMG! I'm tickled pink that all the Black girls in her daughter's school are natural…that's what's up :). Also, I am so proud of many YouTubers and sites like this curlynikki, because I've noticed many big time celebrities look to the ladies of YouTube and here on CurlyNikki as a source of information and inspiration. You all should be proud of yourself, as I am so happy and proud for all of you.

  • Carla says:

    Beautiful hair, cute photos, great interview!

  • Emmanuella says:

    I've always loved Kimberly Elise. Good interview

  • Jae Manolo says:

    Her hair is beautiful.

  • Hershe_82 says:

    Great interview! I've always been a huge fan of Kimberly Elise, she displays such a strong personality through each character roll that she plays. She is so beautiful inside and out and I absolutely adore her hair. I've been natural now for 5 months and I've embraced every aspect of my transition, I have a TWA presently but I love being chemical free. I love this site, I'm on here everyday checking for new information. Thank you Curlynikki for being the "University" for naturalistas!!

    Shannon J

  • Anonymous says:

    She's gorgeous and what's even more amazing is that she's actually out there doing her research, watching the same youtube gurus we are, even though she could probably depend on someone to do her hair for her. Anyways, I love all her movies, she's a great actress and seems like someone fun to hang with.

  • Anonymous says:

    she's so pretty. i love her hair in the 2nd pic.

  • momoftwinzz09 says:

    Great interview! I think it so great that natural hair can create such a since of community and create a bridge between hollywood celebs and regular everyday folks. We watch her films for entertainment, and she watches youtube and checks out CN to get advice from all of us. Its just really refreshing to read this! And her daughter goes to a school with all natural girls!? That is AWESOME!!! Young people are making a change folks!

  • Anonymous says:

    Absolutely love Kimberly's hair and the fact that her hair routine is so simple. The portion regarding her 12 year old daughter embracing her natural hair with her friends brought a smile to my face. Great interview!

    Bridget D.

  • Candace4life says:

    Wow her hair looks great, and I didn't know that she was natural :). She is a good actress as well, love how she makes each role her own and does a great job of it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great interview Nikki! So cool that Kimberly loves your site! Her hair is beautiful and like another poster stated, I think it's great that Kimberly's daughter has support from her peers who are also natural.


  • JuicesnBerriez says:

    The fact that a famous actress watched Kimmaytube and Naptural85 on Youtube is just mind blowing to me… Wow. Natural hair. This movement is powerful.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hmm…she is so very correct about support. I come on CurlyNikki almost every day or at least twice a week because most people are telling me to go back to relaxing my hair. One of my friends told me it's because I'm not doing anything with it. My hair is still short a year after I BC'd and I'm going to try braiding for a while because I wear my kinky hair open (in an afro) most of the time. I'm from the Caribbean btw so it's mostly humid and my hair is mostly dry unless it's in braids or corkscrews (what you call twists) or canerows (cornrows)

  • socialitedreams says:

    really fab interview, especially the section on her daughter! that made me happy that they are very supportive in the younger crowd. Kimberly's hair is AMAZING in these photos, so pretty 🙂 Talented, beautiful, total package!

    Vonnie of

  • Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    Kimberly Elise is by far my favorite black actress (or female actor as some like to be referred).

    The hair is beautiful and looks like it's doing very well.

  • Ann Noire says:

    What a great interview and healthy head of hair! She really knows her stuff for her (vegan) lifestyle!!!

  • Curly Film Chick says:

    I love her! Great interview

  • GGmadeit says:

    Nikki does it again! Love Elise and that hair is always fab!

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent interview as usual. Her hair is luscious! Thanks for sharing Kimberly and its fun to know celebs are lurking in the forums!

  • HazelEyedErica says:

    Great interview! I had a feeling Kimberly was natural. It's exciting to see a new celebrity add to the natural hair list.

  • Anonymous says:

    Great interview, Nikki. Kimberly's a very talented actress. Wishing her continued success. Her natural hair looks really good.

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