Tell me about yourself!
Hi! My name is Ebi. I am of Dominican (West Indies) descent, and I currently reside in the Philadelphia suburbs. I am a wife, mother and creative director at Casa de la Johnson where my three-year-old daughter holds the position of CEO. She runs our home. Lol. I also have a serious itch for writing.
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I was a transitioner…until I big chopped! Lol. The beginning of my natural hair journey started in 2005, one day before I returned to college in Virginia for my senior year. I needed my hair done and I wanted a quick, yet convenient solution that would cause the least amount of stress on my hair as I grew out my relaxer. My stylist and I somehow came to the conclusion that a texturizer would be the easiest way to maintain my hair while away at school. “Let’s try a Vigorol.” These were her words, not mine. I should have said, “Let’s not”. Well, about two hours later, I left that salon looking almost exactly like I did when I was welcomed inside. It did nothing except disturb the peace with its stifling chemical odor trailing behind me. My mom must have felt really bad for me when I came home because early the next morning she paid for me to get my hair braided. I don’t think my hair would have been able to conform into any other style after my experience at the salon. Throughout the school year, I flat ironed a few times, but I maintained my hair length with protective styles and trims. That summer of graduation, I big chopped. I was ready to start the next chapter of my life with a new look.
Had you always embraced your texture?
No. I remember begging my mom to relax my hair when I was nine-years-old. As a child, my mom always told me that my hair was beautiful, but I thought differently because I never saw that version of beauty in my home, at school, or on television. I didn’t realize all of the amazing things my natural texture was capable of until much later in life when I became a fan of Lauryn Hill. She changed the game for real.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
My mother’s opinion of me ranks really high in my book, so as long as she approved it, I was good. Aside from that, I didn’t care too much about the (negative) opinions from other family members, and I was fortunate to have very supportive friends.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
My hair is coarse, thick, and of low porosity. As far as my hair type, I’d have to say that I am now 100% 4C since the birth of my daughter. (Pre-pregnancy, I had various sections of 4B/4C hair.) Pregnancy is no joke.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
The craziest thing I’ve ever done was put Vigorol in my hair. Smh. In addition to that awful smell, it left my hair very brittle and dry. I know I need to let it go, but I still get upset when I think about that experience. Lol.
What’s your biggest hair related regret?
My biggest hair related regret is cutting my hair. However, I’ve voluntarily had six sequential big chops, and I’ve loved each one! My hair and my writing have always been my outlet for creativity and so cutting my hair is sometimes impulsive. At other times it’s to accomplish a new look. The flip side of this is recognizing that I’ll probably never witness my hair’s fullest growth/length potential. And that is why cutting my hair is also a regret. Woo-woo-woo.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I wash, condition, and style my hair with flexi rods or two-strand twists once a week when I’m on my best behavior. At eight months pregnant, I don’t have much energy to do the things that I want to do, much less the things that I need to do, so I work with the time and energy that God gives me. Funny enough, I get most compliments as my hair style ages, so this works out perfectly. It’s all about recycling these days.
My favorite products at the moment include Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (wash & conditioner), Eco Styler Gel (Olive Oil), Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Shea Moisture Gel Soufflé. I also like to use essential oils such as black castor (Tropic Isle Living Lavender Jamaican Black Castor Oil), jojoba and coconut.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
No matter how many styles I try, a two-strand twist out always wins my heart. When experimenting, I draw inspiration from women everywhere. It really all depends on the mood I’m in or the occasion.
Who is your curl crush?
I am really appreciating Chrisette Michele’s hair, right now. I would love to experiment with lighter color post-pregnancy.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I sometimes sleep with a satin scarf, or on a silk pillow case, but it’s not always helpful since I sweat while I sleep. I attribute most of my next-day hair maintenance to my morning showers. The steam/moisture does a great job revitalizing my curls.
What’s the best thing about being natural?
I think the best part about being natural at this point in my life is that I can demonstrate self love and acceptance to my daughter in so many ways. My daughter is very involved in our morning dress routine, so it’s imperative that I help her keep things in perspective, while having fun. Needless to say, we experience a lot of surprises. And I don’t think there’s a way to avoid that, really. Every morning is a hair surprise for us naturals.