Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I transitioned for 7 months before I couldn’t bear the itch to see my full, real texture. I impulsively grabbed a pair of scissors in the wee hours of March 26, 2010 and chopped my hair off. When I was done, I stared at my reflection for a long time in disbelief wondering what I had just done! Fear, regret, and doubt all came rushing in but thankfully it was short lived! I was staring at a different person but I liked it!
Had you always embraced your texture?
I always liked my hair … even when I was relaxed. My early memories of my natural hair are associated with the pain of having someone trying to beat it into submission at a young age. Now, I was taking care of it on my own and while I was not sure if I’d be able to handle it, I was curious. The very beginning, say the first two weeks after I big chopped, was the only time I ever felt conflicted about my texture. Since then I have come to love it and cannot imagine it any other way!
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 then boyfriend, now fiancé, didn’t seem to care either way. He was more concerned with whether I liked the new look when I chopped. I didn’t talk much about transitioning – except with my cousin and her husband – so most people really did not know till I chopped! And then the reactions were mixed; some applauded, others had jokes. But none of the negativity seemed to faze me. I was confident in my reasons for going natural and I let that guide me. Soon enough people were asking me haircare tips and I felt encouraged to start my YouTube channel.
Describe your hair.
My hair is thick (a lot of volume) and of medium porosity. My scalp dries quickly so it’s a constant battle to keep both scalp and hair moisturized but I believe I have found a happy balance. There are curls and coils throughout and it pretty much does what it wants to do.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? favorite products! Deets!
To maintain my hair I keep it simple. Wash every 7-10 days, either co-wash or cleanse with a mud wash. I deep condition (Aussie 3 minute miracle, coconut oil and honey) every time I wash, and then I rinse with a diluted apple cider vinegar mix (ACV) to seal my cuticles and maintain shine. I put in my leave-in (a kimmaytube-inspired concoction) and proceed to style as needed. I usually put it in medium twists, which I’ll then wear throughout the week, or jumbo twists which I’ll separate for a twist out the following day. Then I wash and start the process all over again. I do protein treatments, henna and trim as needed. My favorite product is Curl Enhancing Smoothie from Shea Moisture but also all the products in the mud wash, which is the simplest most clarifying homemade shampoo alternative anyone can make. I use bentonite clay as my main product in this mud wash, which cleanses really well without stripping, offers shine and leaves my curls popping! If you’re interested you can see how I mix my mud wash here.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
Depending on the style and my goals for the following day, I either re-twist (if in a twist out) or I pineapple. It also all depends on how lazy I’m feeling. Either way I always sleep on a satin pillowcase.
How do you maintain healthy length?
To maintain healthy length, I keep my regimen very simple and very consistent. Moisture is key for me with deep condition treatments whenever I wash my hair. I’ve learned to strike a good balance between protein and moisture to optimize length retention. I also enjoy low manipulation styles like buns, and protective styles like twists and fingercoils.
What’s the best thing about being curly?
I feel great. I feel confident. The versatility means getting bored and burnt out is not an option! It is all mine and on any given day I can decide whether I want twists, an updo, an Afro, a twist-out, or even straight hair! Being curly compliments who I am and allows me to express that freely to the world.