I was a slow transitioner and big chopper, mixed. Lol. For real. I fell into this natural hair takeover on accident. Before going natural I was the “Weave Queen”! I was always weaved up. I thought it was absolutely insane to keep getting perms if I was constantly covering my hair up with a weave. So I just stopped getting perms. I rocked weaves without perming my hair from November 2011 to May 2012. I would do my own sew in and I always left my hair line out, especially in the back to allow me to rock a ponytail or bun. Well having that leave out was a bad idea because I didn’t take care of that leave out. So the very back of my hair was extremely damaged. All of the permed hair basically broke off and I was left with mostly natural hair and then some strands of the permed…what was left anyway. It was a mess, trust me. So in between installs I noticed how much my hair was growing- the protected sections were growing like crazy. But the back/leave out- not so much. I would just start cutting the back of my hair that wasn’t growing. Eventually all of the back was natural and one day it just hit me…I loved my natural hair and I immediately became disgusted with my permed hair. My natural hair was so thick and strong…and then the permed was so thin and weak. In May of 2012 is when I finally decided that all of the permed hair had to go! I watched a bunch of YouTube videos to give me courage. Lol. I recorded my big chop experience. It was amazing! Again, most of the back was already natural…so all I had to cut was from ear to ear and forward! So I transitioned from Nov 2011 to May 2012- what’s that…6 months! When I BC’ed I had approximately 3-4 inches of hair… maybe it was a little shorter. Either way, I love it! So after that mouthful, I would say I was a fast transitioner and big chopper! I still consider myself newly natural.
CN: Had you always embraced your texture?
I absolutely do embrace my texture now. At first, I was on the “I want defined, mixed people curls” bandwagon…but I quickly got over that. When seasoned naturals tell you, “embrace what you got!” they know that’s the right thing to do and they mean it- so you better listen. When you finally accept your texture, learn it, and ‘werk’ with it, that is when you truly feel comfortable with your hair. I have several textures in my hair so that is still difficult but for real, once I learned how to deal with my unique texture is really when I started to truly enjoy being a naturalista! So for those that are still obsessing about the perfect curls, trust me…you will get over it. Lol. And then it will get easier.
CN: 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?
OMG! Family and friends are not helpful. I love them to death but they are not supportive. At least mine weren’t. “Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy y’all! Love you!” Lol. But seriously, they do not support something they don’t agree with themselves or what they don’t understand. We have truly been brainwashed when it comes to our natural hair. Its absolutely insane. I didn’t really talk to anyone about going natural. I personally was ready and didn’t need anyone’s opinion. When comments did make their way to me, I don’t think I really responded. I think my response was more “action”. I showed them. Once I cut my hair, boy did the opinions come! But you know what…once my hair started growing like a wild fire those unsupportive comments turned into praise. Isn’t that funny? I hope I don’t sound bitter. Lol. But for real, once they saw how stylish and unique it was is when they became supportive. And that’s fine with me. I’m just glad I was mentally ready to do something so dramatic and have an impact on so many women- friends and family. I even have my Mom ready to go natural. Hey Mom! She wants to start transitioning in May of this year (2013). I’ve said it before, family and friends may not understand but you have to have a support system so that is why I love how supportive the natural hair community is. Everyone on FB, twitter, instagram, etc have helped me so much with this journey. We help each other and that’s beautiful.
CN: Describe your hair.
My hair is very thick and I have several textures mixed all up in there. I’m honestly not really sure if my hair is considered fine or coarse; highly porous or low. I don’t get all technical with my hair. I just figured out that I have a mixture of 4A and 4B. Most of my hair has an amazing curl pattern. But from ear to ear and forward- just a small patch doesn’t have a curl pattern. Its so frustrating. The front is so important to an overall look and that section gives me so many problems. That is a main reason why I rather rock a twist out or whatever. But overall, I think my hair is very thick, soft, and easy to manage. I love it! Conceited much, huh!?! Lol.
CN: What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
My current routine consists of washing my hair with shampoo once a month. When I use shampoo I always follow up with a deep conditioner. I co-wash as much as I want to! That can be once a week or sometimes 3 times a week. I’m not strict at all. I do what my hair tells me basically. I style my hair A LOT! I refuse to have my hair look busted. I want it to look flawless at all times- besides bedtime. Lol. But I usually style my hair every night or every other night. Don’t have a heart attack…it doesn’t take any time. When I retwist or reknot it takes me approximately 10 minutes to do a few big sections to set my hair for the following morning. My fav styles are the bantu knot out, twist out, hanging bantu knot out (I made that up, lol), high bun, and a wash n’ go puff!
OMG products! I’m excited! *claps hands* I use Garnier Fructis shampoo & conditioner, Pantene Co-Wash, Pantene Deep Conditioner, Cantu Shea Butter, Organic Root Stimulator Pudding, Garnier Fructis leave in conditioner, Kinky Curly Knot Today, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Shea Moisture Curling Souffle’, Eco Styler Gel, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Giovanni’s Conditioner, Aloe Vera Juice…oh my gosh…the list could go on. I’m very care free when it comes to products. As long as they are not harmful I will switch it up and use several products.
CN: How do you maintain your hair at night?
At night I usually set my hair in approximately 11 large sections- twists, bantu knots or hanging bantu knots. I also understand when I need to moisturize my hair. During the week I always moisturize my hair at night. This allows me to reset my hair! Whenever I moisturize my hair I focus on the ends of my hair only. This eliminates shrinkage! I have a video on my youtube channel on this process (www.youtube.com/etcblogmag). Once I’m moisturized and set, I will wear a satin scarf or sometimes I will just sleep on a satin pillow case.
CN: How do you maintain healthy length?
I think I maintain length mainly by finger detangling. I don’t use any tools on my hair with the exception of a wide tooth comb to hold my hair as I twist or knot. I haven’t purchased any clips like most naturals do. Oh and let’s not forget my afro pick but that’s for styling not detangling. I keep one of those at all times! Lol. But yea, I think finger detangling is best for maintaining your length. Its just that sense of touch from both your scalp and your fingers that makes you more aware of whether you are being too rough. I also think that keeping your hair moisturized is important to keeping your length. And I know some are waiting for me to say something about clipping my ends. But I don’t clip my ends. I feel like its so unnecessary. So yea, both finger detangling and moisturizing is important for length retention.
CN: What’s the best thing about being curly?
OMG…the best thing about being curly is honestly the power to inspire so many women. I bet that’s not the response you expected, huh!?! But seriously, since becoming natural I’ve been able to inspire sooooooooooo many women and that is the best feeling in the world. That alone keeps me inspired and extremely proud of my natural hair!
So now for the response you were expecting…I love that it’s different and so versatile. And honestly its just easier! I can work out and not worry about sweating. I can go swimming and not worry about keeping my head above water. I can run and splash in the rain without worrying about an umbrella…well I wouldn’t go that far because my hair would be a big frizz ball, but you know what I mean. Being natural really just makes things less complicated. That’s how its supposed to be…its a natural thing. I just feel soooooooooo free! And I love every little thing about being natural!
CN: Where can folks find you on the web?
I am literally everywhere. I’m on facebook, instagram, tumblr, Twitter (@etcblogmag), YouTube, and of course please don’t forget about my blog, www.etcblogmag.com.
Anyway, thanks so much for having me. This has been a lot of fun. I hope I’ve inspired someone to go natural, stay natural and everything in between. Thanks so much for reading and I will see you on my blog, www.etcblogmag.com! Happy Growing, ladies!