Tell me about yourself! 
My name is Antonia. I am from Indianapolis. I have moved around but found my way back to Indy (for now).

Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like? 
I was a transitioner. I stumbled into transitioning. I wasn’t aware I was transitioning for a while. During this time I wasn’t getting relaxers but I was still straightening. Eventually I started doing research and realized I was transitioning and stopped straightening my hair. I transitioned from about Oct. 2010 until Jan. 2011. On January 16, I cut off my relaxed ends. As of Jan 2014, I am officially 3 years natural.

Had you always embraced your texture? 

No. My sister and my mother have always been natural. My mother never relaxed my sister’s hair. They both have a much looser curl pattern than me that I used to envy. I grew up always hearing from my mother that she had to relax my hair because it was so hard to deal with. My stylists used to always complain about how thick my hair was as well. Naturally, I just figured I’d be a fool to go natural because I wouldn’t know what to do with it. There were times here and there where I started growing out my relaxer but I always got frustrated and went back to my old ways.

How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
Everyone around me supported me going natural. My mother and my sister now envy my hair 😉 My mother and I had a good conversation and I asked her why she relaxed my hair and she said, “it was just what people did back then, and you had so much, I didn’t know what to do.” I understand how she felt especially since her hair was so different from mine. My friends also really supported me. They loved it. It wasn’t a really big deal among my friends and family, most didn’t even realize the change, as strange as that sounds.

Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.) 
I think my individual strands are fine but I have a ton of hair on my head. It is so dense/thick. The thickness is what always scared me whenever I would start growing out my relaxers.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair? 
Before I was natural I used to color my hair like crazy. I have been everything from purple to neon orange.

What’s your biggest hair related regret? 
I wish I didn’t cut so much off the first time I straightened my natural hair and trimmed it myself. I couldn’t get my ends as straight as I wanted because they were a bit dry so I just chopped them. However, when I went to a stylist she was able to get my hair bone straight. I did that a few times, just started chopping away. Had I not done so my hair would be a lot longer.

What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets! 
I can’t say I really have a routine. I just do my hair when I feel like I need to. I do mostly wash and go’s. I would say I get anywhere from 3-5 days from my wash and go and then it is time to do it again. I pretty much shampoo with a sulfate free shampoo every time I do my hair. I just feel shampooing brings back life to my curls. My hair hates build up. If I have build up my hair doesn’t behave. I really like any sulfate-free shampoo, no big preference. I detangle and co-wash with Aussie Moist. I can’t live without a huge bottle of it. I also use Kenra Color Maintenance Conditioner (protein) and Biolage Aqua Immersion Crème Masque (so much slip). I love Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter as a leave in as well as Kinky Curly Knot Today and Mop Top Bamboo Daily Conditioner (it’s a rinse out but it works great for me as a leave in). For styling I rotate,  Deva Curl Styling Cream, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Camille Rose Fresh Curl (I loooooove this so much but don’t get many days out of it and it flakes at times) and Eco Styler Argan Gel. I also really like AG Hair Cosmetics Recoil.

What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration? 
As I said, my go to is a wash and go. I want to experiment with my hair but I just don’t have time. I usually have to be at work at 7:30 am. My hair takes forever to dry so I can’t do styles and expect them to dry overnight. I get inspiration everywhere from tumblr and instagram to ladies I see in the grocery store.

Who is your curl crush? 
Ugh I have so many…as of late though it’s @_kfatime @yazmine @msbeautifulcurls @marvadlc @coraliekory and @afroblast  …..OOOPPPS is that too many? I just love my natural ladies, too hard to choose.

How do you maintain your hair at night? 
I do a pineapple bun. It really helps to stretch my curls because I get really bad shrinkage. Sometimes I even do multiple pineapple buns to target the areas of my hair that shrink the most.

How do you maintain healthy length? 
Allowing my hair to touch water often really helps me. My hair gets dry really easily. Sealing with oils and aloe vera juice just don’t seem to work for me. Because of this I have to do my hair often. This really helps.

What’s the best thing about being natural?
I just feel like I am truly accepting myself and not conforming to the ideals that I used to be so tied to. Just being real, I feel like I used to always be known as the light skinned girl with the loooooong straight hair. I let go of that and now I don’t give an F what people think of my hair.

Where can folks find you on the web? 
Instagram: @toekneeroyale