by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics

1. What products do you use?
I use a variety of products depending on what my goal is. You will have to determine which product line works for you but regardless of the line, here are my essentials:

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• Non sulfate shampoo
• Moisturizing conditioner
• Leave in conditioner
• Styler cream – depends on season, hairstyle, etc.
• Oil and shea butter to seal in moisture
• Deep conditioner

I usually tell people to start off with a less expensive product, such as Shea Moisture, or sample size products, for the following reasons:

• Experimentation should never be costly. That way if for some reason they don’t work out, you haven’t lost a fortune.
• Accessibility – You can obtain many on the ground at Target or Walgreens for instant gratification.

2. How do you deal with your edges (while transitioning)?*look of disdain on face*
Define “deal with”…this will probably only be an issue if you desire a straight look during your transition, which I would not recommend. I recommend doing braid outs and twist outs exclusively during this period and “edges” are not necessarily an issue. I use eco styler gel to tame the hair around the perimeter of my face.

3. How long did it take you to grow your hair completely out?
I transitioned for 2 years. It was not easy but absolutely worth it. My hair basically looked a hot ass mess the entire time (in my eyes) but I worked it out. My stylist would gradually clip off an inch or so whenever I would get it done (every 2 weeks) until eventually all of the relaxer was gone completely. Then I had an entirely new head of hair that I had to learn. Again, I would not recommend transitioning the way I did, which was wearing it straight. My hair survived but I had zero length retention and I wanted my hair to grow.

4. How do you wear your hair to work?
The same way you see it right now. I do tone it down a bit for work but that has more to do with the time of day, the occasion, how I’m dressed, etc. I am not afraid of my hair anymore. The great DMX once said, and yes I’m quoting DMX, #dontjudge, “people are afraid of honesty. They are afraid to be who they really are”. I am completely honest about my hair, meaning, I’m not ashamed that it kinks u and I’m not afraid to let the curls do what they do. So if I want to wear my hair out, I do.

5. How do you get it straight?
I wear my hair straight twice per year, this time it will end up being three because of a photo session I am doing. Nothing at all against wearing it straight, it looks nice but I usually grow bored and long for my curls. Plus, me and my color may never part ways so the less damage the better. Anyway, the last time I straightened my hair I applied a leave in conditioner after blowing it dry, sprayed on some heat protector before flat ironing and that’s it.

6. Why won’t my hair grow?
This is such a general question as there are a lot of contributing factors but generally speaking if you are doing the following, you should definitely experience some growth. At least this is what worked for me.

• Trims as needed
I don’t have a “trim clock” so to speak. I trim as necessary.
• Much of length retention is dependent on how well you nurture your ends. Sealing your ends is a crucial step in your process.
• Maintain moisture levels
Add moisture and keep the moisture in.
• Wrap it up!
Satin scarf and pillow case are a must! I can’t tell you the feeling of panic that comes over me when I can’t find my scarf!

7. Do you have to wash it every day?
Absolutely not! When it was shorter, I was partial to wash and go’s which for me meant daily cleansing. As my hair grew, the wash and go was no longer conducive so I started trying other styles such as braid outs and twist outs and I started cleansing once per week. Now, I sometimes go two weeks before I shampoo. Honestly it depends on the weather, how I’ve been wearing my hair and how much product I’ve used throughout the week.

8. My hair would look super short like that. How do you get it to not shrink up?
Shrinkage – battle of the naturals. ☺ Depending on the look I’m going for I don’t mind shrinkage. I sometimes want certain parts to shrink and others to hang a little more. When I want to combat shrinkage I stretch my hair. What does that mean? After shampooing/conditioning I braid my hair into 4-6 sections and allow it to air dry, typically overnight, before styling. The next day when it’s completely dry, the curls are more relaxed and stretched. I then proceed with whatever style I choose. Another way to stretch is through heat which I don’t do often but when I do, I blow it dry and then proceed with styling on dry hair.

9. So you don’t put any relaxer in it …..ever? (Emphasis on “ever”)
This is the question I get mostly when it’s straight. People usually don’t believe me when I tell them I’m relaxer free. I’ve had someone actually go behind my back and ask my stylist if I really had a relaxer. *Side eye* Really? Like who really cares that much? But anyway.
Take the time to learn your hair and have fun with it. You will have your own experiences to share.

What questions do you get about your natural hair?

Sharing hairstories and life experiences from a curl’s perspective. Find Tammy at her blog, Curlychics, on Twitter, and Facebook.