I would have been a slow transitioner, if I had the option. I was one of those girls who had relaxers since she was four. Literally, my mom dyed my hair and gave me a relaxer at age four, so I grew up not embracing my natural hair. In college I got my first sew-in, then something happened.
Maybe it was my plethora of AFR college courses or images of Angela Davis but for some reason I decided I was tired. I was tired of relaxing, flat ironing, blow “frying,” sewing in or gluing in other peoples’ hair and spending numerous hours attempting to straighten mine. I decided I would take out my sew-in and embrace my natural hair.
Unfortunately it was already too late for my damaged hair. I washed my hair with a bad shampoo and as I lathered it into my hair, I could feel my hair begin to tangle and get knotted. In a panic, I tried to rinse it out. I doused my head with conditioner, detangling sprays, and oils but nothing worked. I spent hours with an ugly cry face trying to detangle my hair. I was dying to get the knots out but nothing worked.
I had to chop it off. It was so short, I was so embarrassed. My boyfriend had to take me to the salon so that they could style what was left of my horrid boy hair cut.
This was not the way I wanted to start my natural hair journey.
Had you always embraced your texture?
I haven’t always embraced it. I wanted what I thought most people wanted. Long, pretty, straight hair like Barbie. Barbie didn’t come with curly hair. In fact, none of my dolls did. Plus there wasn’t a community of influencers in the naturally curly world like there is today. There were no cool people on YouTube doing curly hair tutorials and product reviews yet.
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?
My family and friends didn’t really make a big deal about it, at least not to me. All the women in my family, with the exception of my mom (she converted) still relax their hair. My friends thought it was cool, and most of them are natural girls too. Having a support team really made the transition easy. I told them I was just tired of trying to make my hair fit into a mold. I think it is WAY more beautiful and healthy the way it is after a wash and go.
Describe your hair.
My hair is closer to coarse than fine, and thick. The funny thing is, when I straighten my hair the texture is completely different. It’s fine and flat. I believe that I am a happy mix of 3B and 3C.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
I condition my hair once or twice a week and apply a deep conditioner once or twice a month. I kill conditioner. I love to put a coconut oil on my scalp and let that sit before conditioning. After I condition, I grab a shower cap and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. I only shampoo like twice a month, I rarely shampoo. Once I dry my hair with a t-shirt or a soft fabric, I use a vat (literally pouring it out in globs) of Mixed Chicks leave-in conditioner, 4 drops of argan oil, and a little Kinky Curly on my ends. Then I twirl a few pieces and pineapple. It lasts for two or three days before it becomes a dry, frizzy mess. To make it last longer sometimes I just spray my hair with water and rub it in.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
The pineapple and a silk cap. I try to sleep on my back as well (but that honestly never works).
How do you maintain healthy length?
Moisture. My hair eats up moisture. Sometimes, I find myself in bathrooms at work wetting my hands and patting my curls. I’m sure it’s not the best way to go about it, but when my leave-in conditioner or other hair products fail and I’ve gone a few days without some upkeep… desperate measures are taken.
What’s the best thing about being curly?
Freedom. Freedom from heat and harsh chemicals. Freedom to jump in the lake and not worry about getting my hair wet. I love to swim, it’s my favorite exercise. I used to get so upset in the Texas summer when my hair was freshly done and I had to figure out if it was worth getting wet. The water never won that battle. Plus, I just love my hair curly. It makes me stand out. It’s “just hair” but it makes me feel special, confident, and beautiful.
Where can folks find you on the web?
I blog my fashion, beauty, and lifestyle diaries at http://chanelwears.com