When I was three years old, my mother sent me to the salon for my first texturizer. A year later I got my first relaxer and for the next 20 years I maintained chemically processed hair. I never thought anything of it because it was how life had always been for me. I didn’t know what natural hair was about, nor did I have any desire for it. My hair was long, healthy and my mother helped me maintain it well. Shortly after college (2008), a few ladies from my college clique began transitioning. They began pressuring me to let go of my relaxed hair, touting the damage and overall unhealthiness of the process (especially for me because I was giving myself super-strength relaxers every 6 weeks or so…my goal was to eliminate any/all traces of curls/waves from my hair and super-strength was the way to do it. That sounds so AWFUL to admit lol). After fighting them on it for about a year, I gave in to the peer pressure and found myself skipping relaxers (Dec 2009). Four months in I decided it was do or die, so I cut my armpit length relaxed hair into a short bob (April 2010). From there, I slowly snipped away an inch here or there over the next year until all of the relaxed hair was gone. Today I am three years in the game, slightly past bra-strap length.
***I find it important to note that I was also beginning my quarter-life crisis around this time. I was completely overwhelmed and a bit depressed at the fact that being a college grad with a Bachelor’s degree wasn’t enough to give me open access to the American dream, as promised by society. Entitled much lol? My mother’s side of the family has a history of battling depression-I was determined to not let it take over my life. In my attempt to grind through this dark period I relocated from the Midwest to the East coast without a plan or a clue, other than to figure my life out.
Had you always embraced your texture?
No, I didn’t always embrace my texture, mainly because I couldn’t quite figure it out. I held on to relaxed ends for quite a while and never had the patience/interest to do braid outs and twists outs to blend the textures. I hated the relaxed pieces and was puzzled by the curls underneath. I relied on creams/gels to help make my crazy wash n go’s look like something lol. After cutting off all of the relaxed ends, I let go of gel and now only use creamy moisturizers which allows me to see/feel/work with my natural texture that I have grown to love.
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?
I had all the support in the world from my friends, which was great, seeing as it was their fault anyway lol. My family thought it would be a fleeting stage I was going through and it wouldn’t be long before I was right back to my beloved relaxers. I was RIDE or DIE for my relaxed hair, known for having my identity wrapped up in my hair, and they didn’t think I’d be able to handle it. I was honest with them in admitting that it was new and I was getting overwhelmed, but I was determined to stick it out and make it happen. Since then, my mother, sister and a few cousins have successfully transitioned. I guess I showed them!
Describe your hair.
My hair is both fine and coarse, thick and has low porosity. It has a strongly defined curl pattern that always finds its way to the surface (even those super-strength relaxers could never get my hair bone straight). It’s also relatively low maintenance – I don’t need to pile on multiple products. Finally, it doesn’t take anything more than a spritz of misted water to make a curl pop back up to the surface amid a sea of frizz lol.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
I’ve yet to subscribe to any specific hair regimen – I just do whatever seems right for my hair at the time. On average, it sees shampoo once every 2 weeks or so. I cowash 1-3 times a week, more in the summer and less in the winter. I don’t deep condition really…I hate being under the dryer or sitting around with baggies on my head and don’t have the patience for it. I straighten/blow out my hair once every several months. I get bored easily so I get it colored 2-3 times a year as well. My hairdresser also shapes it during those times to help keep my curls looking their best. My go-to shampoos and conditioners are Herbal Essences but since I also subscribe to Curl Box; I rotate some of those products in and out at whim. My hair absolutely LOVES one product Curl Box introduced me too, nuNAAT’s Intensive Hair Mask, so I use that about once a week after shampooing or as a co-wash. My hair responds really well to Wen also so I use it whenever I can get my hands on it (I’ve yet to actually purchase it myself so I scrounge off my friends…I love you Ashley lol xoxo). I use Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie as my go-to hair moisturizer/curl enhancer. Elasta QP’s Mango Butter and Olive Oil is my favorite when it comes to moisturizers and I love how it makes my hair feel. While my hair’s wet from the shower, I throw some of the Smoothie or Mango Butter and Olive Oil in it, and either let it go like that for a wash n go, or I will put in 6 twists for a twist out. I avoid gels because I hate the crunch they leave and the intense curl definition. I like my hair to have a mix of defined curls and frizz all wrapped up in one. I’m not incredibly picky about ingredients, mainly because I’m not vegan myself. As I become more particular about my diet, I’ll probably adjust my hair and makeup choices accordingly.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I am NEVER caught without my satin pillowcase which is the #1 way I protect/maintain my hair at night. I’m also a fan of pineappling or bunning for bedtime. In the morning I take it down, spritz lightly with water and go.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I try to limit the daily manipulation I put on my hair to maintain the length. I think that’s another reason I’ve never been too big on the twists or braids every night before bed…I’m such a fan of low maintenance styling and upkeep. I may put it in twists while it’s wet to stretch it, but after taking the twists out I bun or pineapple to keep it stretched until my next co-wash or detangling session. I generally don’t like to have my hands deep in my hair unless it’s soaking wet and dripping with conditioner. By doing this it limits breakage (because I can be heavy handed). That, coupled with my occasional visits to my hairdresser when she colors and trims my hair is how I maintain healthy length.
What’s the best thing about being curly?
The best thing about being curly is that it’s an accessory I ALWAYS have with me. Sometimes when I’m out and about I forget to throw on some flashy earrings or a great necklace and that’s okay because I always have my hair to hold my look down. Straight hair just doesn’t do it like textured hair does so having a fabulous head of textured hair on your shoulders with your choice of an array of cuts, colors and styles does so much for your overall look. As a result I don’t spend nearly as much money on jewelry or other accessories because honestly, it’s not needed. That’s also why I rarely rock straight hair.
Where can folks find you on the web?
While I’m super active on the social networks, unfortunately my personal blog has not fared as well. That quarterlife crisis really did a number on me lol! As I am currently emerging from it, I anticipate the frequency of those posts increasing. Bear with me please! Thanks so much for reading! XOXO
FB: Fancy A. Yancey