How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural since June 2010—2.5yrs
Did you transition or big chop?
I transitioned for 24 long months. I measured my hair at 12 inches, and assumed my growth rate was one ½ inch/month; so, that’s how I set my goal. I trimmed away the remaining relaxed ends June 2010. I wanted to maintain length.
Did you always appreciate your hair texture?
Even though I crushed over others’ textures during my transition, I’ve always appreciated what God has given me. I’ve learned what works for my texture & density, and what doesn’t work just doesn’t, and I move on. Shrinkage was a big issue, but I’ve overcome that by growing out my hair much longer than it has ever been—in a matter of 4.5yrs.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural?
I had to do a lot of convincing to get Hubby onboard. Now, four years later, he doesn’t want me to straighten it. My immediate family was very supportive. I had a younger sister who has always been natural, and my two older sisters had just transitioned to natural. I had some relatives to tell me that my hair was too thick to go natural, and I wouldn’t be able to do anything with it. Others would say, “Are you going to straighten it or just wear a fro.” If it wasn’t for the natural hair community on the web, such as curlynikki.com, I would have reverted back to the lye.
What’s your current routine?
– I co-wash weekly with Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa. I also use it as a leave-in & styler (diluted w/water to a lotion-like consistency). It moisturizes my tresses better than leave-in conditioner.
– I seal my hair and oil my scalp with raw Shea butter infused with natural oils (homemade mixture)
– I cleanse my scalp monthly or when needed with a clarifying conditioner, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. I use water-soluble ingredients, so conditioner suffices.
– I deep condition with my hair steamer after clarifying, or when needed.
– I stopped using combs a year ago and noticed a big difference in density. I recently started a no-brushing routine—I’ll have to use a scarf to slick back those edges.
– Heat makes my hair thirsty, so all my sets have to be air-dried. I normally rock twist-out variations. I’m now, experimenting with rod set.
Night time routine?
I always sleep on a satin pillowcase or with a satin bonnet. I pineapple at night to preserved my curls—another tip from you. I also use a satin hair wrap to protect my hair line at night.
What’s your favorite thing about being natural?
The best thing for me about being natural is the versatility. I have the best of both worlds without chemicals. I can change my look from overnight, with no heat, no sitting hours at the salon, just water & conditioner. Of course, being stopped by random strangers to talk hair is nice too.
Where can we find you on the web?
You can find me on Fotki and YouTube.
Anything else to add?
Thank you, Nikki, for having such a great resourceful tool for those who are contemplating going natural, for the transitioners, and for the natural ladies. I’ve been following your blog since 2009, and I’ve learned so much about how to care for my natural tresses. Congratulations on your new book!