My name is Bianca Alexandra, born and raised in England and currently living in Puerto Rico. Curly Nikki was and has been one of my favorite “go to” websites that helped me learn as much as I could about transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. I’m pleased to say that one year later I am rocking my natural curls.
Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I would say my natural hair journey started by accident. I’ve had long straightened hair all my life and was definitely addicted to the creamy crack, plus dying my hair every other color under the sun. I would still wash my hair and leave it curly when I wanted to, so I thought I had the best of both worlds. After I graduated from university I noticed my hair would no longer curl when I wet it, which is when I started to realize the major heat and chemical damage I had from the constant blow drying and flat ironing. I decided to lay off of the styling tools for a while, but still kept my hair blow-dried.
It wasn’t until I went through a period where I was under a lot of stress and my hair started to fall out, that I decided to cut it just above my shoulders. I guess the plan was to rock a new do until my hair got healthier to grow it out again. But a couple of months after the cut, I noticed the new growth was a lot thicker and healthier than the rest of my hair, so I decided I wanted to rock my natural hair. I planned on transitioning because having long hair was all I knew at that point, and I wasn’t prepared or in a rush to get a big chop. That plan soon went out the window, when I washed my hair a couple weeks later and was so excited by the two to three inches of natural hair that I grabbed my scissors and cut off all that was left of my relaxed and heat damaged ends ☺. So in a way I eased into the idea and then gave myself the big chop.
Had you always embraced your texture?
Hmm that would be a no, ha ha. See after I went scissor happy on my hair and ended up with only 2-3 inches of it left, my first thought was literally “crap, what did I just do.” I was completely clueless on how to care for it and what products to use. I definitely went through the trial and error phase where I tried out lots of different products until I finally came across ones that worked well with my hair. I think the initial frustration I experienced with my natural hair was due to the fact that I automatically expected it to look a certain way, or be able to do certain styles I had envisioned in my head, so when my hair didn’t cooperate I would get a bit frustrated. I later realized that the initial texture I saw when I first cut it began to change and got even curlier as my hair grew out. Now that I know what works for my hair and how to manage it, I really love it. A lot of people will stop me to ask if my hair is real or if they can touch it, which I always find really funny.
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?
Overall I’d say it was a pretty positive reaction, it may have taken a while to get used to the new me just because everybody was so used to seeing me with straight hair. But my sisters have always been really supportive of me from the very start of this whole journey, which made it a whole lot easier to handle. I think my mom was more shocked by how short it was when I cut it than anything else. I do know that my grandmother prefers the long straight hair, but I told her how much I like my curls and how its much easier for me to manage my hair now than when I was always straightening it. Besides my boyfriend absolutely loves my curls so that’s a huge plus as well.
Describe your hair.
My hair is a few different textures, the right side is tight coils while the top left side has a looser curl pattern and my hair tends to dry out more near the front so I know to give that area a little extra TLC. Overall, once it fully dries it’s pretty thick and I get lots of volume, which I love.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
I am hands down a wash n’ go kinda girl, the simpler the hair routine the better for me to stick to it. I love wearing my curls out, but on days that I’m late for work or can’t really be bothered with it then I’ll bun it or do a quick French braid.
My favorite must have products are:
As I Am Coconut Co-wash (I use this instead of shampoo)
TREsemmé Naturals conditioner (great for finger detangling)
Shea Moisture Deep Treatment masque (as a leave in)
Kinky Curly Knot today (leave in)
Extra Virgin Coconut and/or Olive oil (for the occasional hot oil treatment)
I’d say I wash my hair every other day with most of the products mentioned above, but when I just want to refresh my curls, then I’ll just rinse it with cold water, detangle with TREsemmé Naturals, and add some Shea Moisture as a leave in. I always let my hair air dry, never use any heat or styling tools.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I’m not really a fan of the Pineapple only because it’s never really worked for me, and my hair is too big to put in a bonnet. I mainly just leave it loose and sleep on my satin pillowcase.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I’ve focused more on just having healthy hair as apposed to retaining length. I feel that once you find a hair routine that your hair responds well to and you stick to it, then the length gained is an added bonus to the healthy hair you’re already growing. I don’t have a specific time of the month to cut my ends, so I will just check them occasionally and do a search & destroy on any split ends that I see. I have noticed that with my hair texture I’m prone to fairy knots but nothing too major, so I’m learning to leave them be. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and if it’s not split don’t cut it.
What’s the best thing about being curly?
Ah, where do I start?!
I’d say the amount of time and money saved on not having to straighten and flat iron my hair is a huge plus. I’m all about my wash and goes, and how freeing it makes me feel. Before when I was constantly straightening my hair, it would take so much energy out of me, plus the constant worry of not wanting to wet it once I finally go it that straight. I would also obsess about the length of my hair when I did have it straight. But now with my curls those are the furthest things from my mind. Being curly I just feel more like myself.
Where can folks find you on the web?