Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?

In 2009, after doing research and watching hundreds of YouTube videos, I made the decision that I wanted to return back to natural. By that time I had been receiving relaxers for close to 20 years and wanted a change. I always had rather long relaxed hair, so I would have been in for a shock of a lifetime if I did a big chop, so I went the transitional route. I received my last relaxer in June 2009 and I transitioned for 9 months. During my transitional stage I did a lot of roller sets, flexi-rod sets, bantu-knot outs, and wore a lot of buns. I woke up on March 13, 2010 with the urge to cut my hair, so I finally did my chop and became all natural.

Had you always embraced your hair texture?
I loved and appreciated all of my many textures; however I was not used to my short hair after the big chop. I honestly did not like my TWA phase. I actually wore half wigs and did sew-in weaves for about 8 months after my big chop until I felt more comfortable with my hair length. Looking back on it, I wished I would have embraced that stage of my natural hair journey.

How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? How did they react to the new you? What was your response to them?
Some of my family and friends were surprised and felt like I might have been going through a crisis of some sort. However, I did have many people in my corner who were very supportive and encouraging with my decision to return back to natural; one being my husband, who never said anything negative throughout my journey. Once, I finally did my chop and did my big reveal coworkers were shocked and didn’t know how to respond. My close family and friends thought my hair was cute and liked my texture. Shortly after being natural my mom and sister made the decision to do the same. I didn’t let the negative comments or reactions affect my decision to be natural. I had my mind made up and as long as my husband liked it, I didn’t care what anyone else thought. I have been told by many women, that I have encouraged them to go natural. I am so humbled by the fact that I can inspire others to take their own natural hair journey.

Describe your hair.
I have medium and course textured hair, which is very thick and has low porosity. My hair is made up of many textures. I have coily curls, mixed with loose curls and waves.

What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
My current routine is pretty simple. I mainly co-wash my hair instead of using shampoo. I will co-wash at least once a week, deep condition every two weeks, and shampoo my hair maybe once every 4-6 weeks. I found that co-washing allows me to keep my hair moisturized, by not stripping my hair like shampoo does and it still gets my hair and scalp clean. My conditioner of choice is Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration Conditioner or Tresemme Naturals Radiant Volume Conditioner. When I shampoo my hair I use Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo. I will first put my hair into 4 workable sections and proceed to wash my hair one section at a time. After I am finished with each section I apply my conditioner, detangle my hair and let the conditioner sit for about 10 mins. I will rinse it out one section at a time and then squeeze the excess water out. I will then use a cotton shirt to absorb any extra water. Next, I will apply my leave in which is Paul Mitchell’s The Conditioner to each section and then I will apply my Moisture Butter or Shea Moisture Enhancing Curling Smoothie to my hair to add moisture. I will then apply an oil to seal it all in. My oils of choice are either Sweet Almond or Jojoba Oil. I will then two-strand twist my hair doing 3-4 twists in each section depending on the look I want. I will let the twists sit overnight. Lastly, I untwist my hair, separate, and fluff. My hair always looks moisturized and is defined when I do my twist out. That is my favorite go to hairstyle.

How do you maintain healthy length?
To maintain healthy length, I try to pay attention to my hair and see what it needs, I keep it moisturized and I Deep Condition. If you listen and look at your hair it will let you know if it needs a trim, a protein treatment, more moisture, etc…

How do you maintain your hair at night?
My night time routine really depends on how I styled my hair. If it is in a twist-out, I will apply a little bit of my Moisture Butter and Sweet Almond Oil and re-twist my hair and then sleep on my satin pillow case. If I have a twisted or braided up-do, a bun, or ponytail I will mist my hair with an oil and water and apply my satin scarf around my hair and again sleep on my satin pillow case.

What’s the best thing about being curly?
I love the freedom it has given me and confidence it has taught me. I love the freedom because it has allowed me to be able to express myself in a way that I never thought I could. I say it has taught me confidence because I now walk with authority with my head held high. I know that I look different and I stand out from the crowd, so all eyes are on me and I welcome it.

Where can folks find you on the web?
You can check me out on my blog: www.TiffanyNicholsDesign.blogspot.com
Watch me on my YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TiffanyNicholsDesign
Follow me on Instagram: @TiffanyNicholsDesign
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