How long have you been natural?
I stopped getting relaxers in April of 2008, but I didn’t fully embrace being natural until July of 2011.
What motivated you to go natural? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I went natural partly because I noticed my hair starting to get too straight from getting my relaxers so frequently, and partly because I was envious of all the girls that could wear their hair curly or straight or however. I got sick of always having straight hair, and always needing a curling iron to emulate “natural” looking curls. I decided to transition in April of 2008, but still put heat on my hair frequently. In July of 2011 I decided to challenge myself to a full year of no heat, I wanted my hair to be at it’s normal thickness and to grow out longer. I decided after the year was up that the fro look looked better on me than straight hair. I’ve been a heat-free natural ever since.
How would you describe your hair?
Conversation starter, wild, big, fluffy, resistant, amazing.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey was the day I realized I could pull my unstretched hair into a regular ponytail. My shrinkage is ridiculous, and i was worried for a long time I’d never be able to pull my hair into a regular ponytail. My journey for the most part has been easy, my hair isn’t too picky about products and is able to take a beating when I’m being lazy and not caring for it properly.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love how much it has grown over the last 2.5 years. When I started my little heat free challenge I was just grazing collar-bone length, now I’m below my bra strap. Which is right where I was when I decided to stop getting relaxers. There were so many people who told me my hair would never grow again if I stopped, and to know that in 2 short years my hair is not only the same length but its 10x stronger than before.
What are some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’?
I used to love doing bantu knot outs, they always give my fro a new look and I can easily stretch them out for 7-10 days. My main look is a good headwrap though. It can go with any look, and not only keeps your hair protected, but its stylish on even your worst hair days.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
At first strange looks from random people made me self conscious, they’d stare if it was out in a fro, up in a puff, in a head-wrap, whatever. I couldn’t figure out why they were starring or what they were whispering about, and for a while it got to me. I stopped wearing my head-wraps for about 6 months until I decided that i wore them because I liked them. I never started wearing my natural hair for other people so i couldn’t let other people talk me out of wearing it. Now I live for the looks and stares and whispers, I love that no matter how my hair is I catch attention. I love when people try to figure out if its a wig, I just love my hair and all I can do with it. My family always knew me as the one with long straight hair, but they got used to it in a big fro, they love it as much as I do.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I wash my hair about once a month, I’ll start with an ACV rinse on my scalp with my hair in sections, then shampoo my scalp with Trader Joe’s nourish spa shampoo, after rinsing out the suds I detangle in the shower with V05 conditioner and lightly rinse out the extra conditioner as I’m twisting my hair under the water in the shower. I do that to every section of my hair, and usually wash using 8 sections. If I have some special occasion from there I’ll split all my sections in half or thirds and bantu knot each newly divided section, but 90% of the time I just turn my 8 twists into 16 twists and then wear my head-wraps for a week. I redo the twisting process about once ever week or two. When necessary I deep condition or put a protein treatment in. My favorite products are the ones I’ve already mentioned plus Africa’s best hair grease, olive oil, and castor oil.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
My favorite hair YouTuber, and pretty much the only hair guru I pay attention to is Naptrual85, she was the very first natural hair video I watched and I credit her for learning how to bantu knot my hair.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Just remember that it’s just hair, it’s not life or death. If you want to dye your hair, do it. If you want to straighten your hair, do it. Don’t be so caught up in trying to have “perfect hair” that you don’t do the styles and looks that you really want to do. If it goes south, just weave it up or braid it until you feel comfortable wearing it out again. Seriously.
Where can people find you for more information?
Instagram: QueenQui___ (3 underscores)