My name is Courtney I’m from Staten Island. I’m currently in graduate school for biology hopefully to be in medical school in 2 years. My mother relaxed my hair when I was in the 4th grade and I made the decision in Dec 2011 to stop relaxing my hair.
How long have you been natural?
I cut all of my relaxed ends in Jan 2013, so technically almost 7 month (a baby natural) but between all the learning and researching over my transition period I like to say almost a year and 7 months.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I transitioned. Although I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair, I still wasn’t sure it was what I wanted. Aside from people trying to dissuade me, I wasn’t ready fro the big change. So I decided to gradually let my relaxer grow out.
How would you describe your hair?
I would describe my hair as being versatile. I have about 3 different curl patterns 3b, 4a and 4b. It extremely thick. My hairdresser always says I have enough hair for 2 people and other people always think I’m wearing a weave or a wig haha. My hair is strong, over the years I’ve put it through a lot but it pretty much withstood it all. Now that I’m natural I’ve learned how to properly care and maintain my hair so that it can be stronger. Lastly, my hair is intriguing. It draws attention, it’s big, wild, sexy, fierce and most of all and fun. It compliments my personality.
What do you love most about your hair?
The thickness and curl versatility. Depending on what product I use I can achieve almost any style. It can be neat and tamed, curly and sexy or big and wild. I love all the different looks I’ve tried and the ones I have yet to discover
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?
My journey has been both easy and difficult. The beginning was difficult. A lot of people were against my decision; imagine someone being against a decision about hair that doesn’t even belong to them. I was told I wouldn’t link it, my hair probably won’t be nice, it will be “nappy”, I won’t be able to handle it, I’ll probably never wear it out, it will break, why am I transitioning this way, I should just cut it…Oh my gosh the comments were endless which made me want to do it even more. So I put a weave in, which lasted about 2 months. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or that I had to take care of the hair under my weave, especially since I was transitioning. Taking care of my relaxed hair was simple that wasn’t the case now. When I took out my weave I was 6 months into my transition, with a lot of new growth and no idea what to do from here, so I pressed it bi-weekly and wore clip-ins for about a month until I discovered U-part wigs. The best discovery ever!!! This is when it became easy. The wigs allowed my to protect my hair while I transitioned, eliminated the fuss and allowed be to care and maintain my hair daily. I alternated between wigs and weaves until I finally cut the rest of my relaxed ends off. That was the most memorable part of my journey. I wanted to scream “Freedommmmm” hahah. No more worries about point of demarcation, I didn’t have much breaking or shedding during my transition. I constantly trimmed to get rid of those stringy ends. I maintained a good length and my hair was beautiful. After that I decided to continue doing protective hairstyles to maintain the health of my hair and promote growth.
What were some of your favorite hairstyles?
My favorite transitioning hairstyles were my 2nd weave (kinky curly) and 2nd U-part wig that I made (Brazilian natural wave).Currently my favorite hairstyle is my twist out. It is easy and gives my hair great curl definition and Senegalese twists. I’m turning my kinky curly hair into a wig so I’m excited to see how much better my natural hair blends now.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
Well, now that I am natural my mom absolutely loves it, so much that she decided to go natural herself! After I cut the rest of the relaxer out I got my hair pressed. She thought I went and got a perm again! She couldn’t believe how straight and soft my hair was. That was the best reaction.
My friends also like it; some have decided to go natural and those who are already natural we share regimens and information with each other #curlfriends
My boyfriend…not too sure. He likes certain styles but regardless he supports my decisions and he grows to love whatever twist out, Bantu knot or protective style I come home with anyway. He encouraged me to start my YouTube channel because he saw how passionate I was.
Natural hair in the workplace?
I’m sure I’m not the only one as a new natural or as a natural discovering new styles or just as a natural period, who hasn’t had a concern about their natural hair in the work place. It’s not a secret that natural hair is still not the status quo but that doesn’t mean it should be hidden or modified. I remember one particular occasion when I became slightly concerned about my natural hair in the workplace. I was going on an interview am my hair was fresh out of a twist out. I texted my friend asking if she thought that was appropriate and her response was “Of course it is! Your hair is curly what’s the problem”? The problem was I didn’t want to appear unkept or wild because I had this huge curly Afro. A concern I know many of my friends have also shared. One particular experience at my previous job put me on edge; I had been reprimanded for my headscarf because it “wasn’t dress code”…turned out there was nothing in the policies about head wraps, my manager made sure to tell me that and gave me a compliment because I was unfairly being picked on. So you can see why I was slightly apprehensive for the interview. At the end of the day I was not unkept or wild, this was my natural hair. My interviewer complimented me that day and I get compliments and questions daily at my job about my hair.
Dating with natural hair?
Well I’m not dating because I have a steady boyfriend. However, I have noticed a lot more compliments and an increase in diversity of those complimenting me =)
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
Ahhhh my regimen and products. Well my favorite product line is definitely Shea Moisture. It was the first product I ever used and it hasn’t done me wrong since. For most of my styling I use either Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie or their Styling Milk in combination with the Olive oil Ecostyler Gel. At night I pineapple my hair using a satin scarf and satin bonnet to cover my puff. I moisturize every other day with As I Am Moisture milk and little water depending on the style for that week.
Wash Day is a long day:
I pre-poo with extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil and finger detangle. Then I co- wash (still looking for one I love but as of right now I use Shea Moisture restorative conditioner. I recently tried Bentonite Clay from Aztec Secrets to cleanse my hair as well and I really like that. I use a mix of Shea Moisture Anti Breakage Masque and Mixed Chicks to DC for 30 minutes. After I rinse out my DC I rinse my hair with cold Aloe Juice. I recently fell in love with Mixed Chicks leave in conditioner so I use that with a little Cantu Shea Butter leave in conditioner and then seal with EVOO or coconut oil. Lastly I style.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
Naptural85, MohoganyCurls, Taren Guy and for my wigs of course Fabulasityisme. There aren’t any particular blogs or websites I religiously follow or go to, I use a wide range of blogs and websites as source but I’m more of an instagram girl.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Yes! Just be you! If you like it then do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or you shouldn’t do something with your own hair (unless it’s constructive and for your own good of course). If I had listened to everyone else I wouldn’t be here and it inspires me to know that I’ve inspired others to take this step. Go natural for your own reasons; embrace the versatility, the fun and the challenge that comes along with being a natural. There is no “right” way to be a natural, just keep your hair healthy. It YOUR Crown! Let it adorn your head and be fierce!
Where can people find you for more information?
My YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/curlsandcouture
· Instagram: @curlsandcouture
· Website: Coming soon