Tell us about yourself and your hair journey.
My name is Stacie Wade and I live in Los Angeles. I started a natural hair blog called Tight Strands, which celebrates the beauty of natural hair.
How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I have been natural for about 15 years. This past summer involved me ditching my pressed pixie-cut, and opting for wash and go’s and roller sets. My first undocumented attempts of managing my natural hair were…ummm…WACK! I couldn’t stand it. I used Kinky-Curly products and wasn’t a fan of the results. My curls felt coarse and dry. My hair was thick, short and silent-It didn’t do or say ANYTHING! I looked and felt like Arnold from the 1980’s hit TV show ‘Different Strokes.’ I began to seriously question my decision of wearing wash and go’s!
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
I didn’t have a heartfelt reason changing my look. I just felt like rocking a fro!
I took the long route to transition out of my perm, and primarily wore wigs and weaves. I was much younger when I transitioned and didn’t have the confidence to chop it off! However, my hair would have been much healthier had I big chopped. My prolonged wear of wigs and weaves made my hair drier and more difficult to manage during style changes.
How would you describe your hair?
I’m a type 4, kinky-coily girl. The crown of my head is probably in the 4B range. The sides and the back are a texture that hasn’t been invented yet.
What do you love most about your hair?
I am in love with the health, texture and shape/cut of my natural hair. My hair is healthier now than it was when I wore a press n’ curl. It fits my personality and lifestyle of creative expression.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
I remember when this guy told me that he couldn’t “figure me out.” My style was “intriguing,” and “different.” For the record, he was Black! It’s like really…me being natural is something to “figure out?” On the other hand, I love when women approach me to ask about products, regimens, etc. They get excited about starting their own natural hair journey. It’s unfortunate that many of us have to be coached on how to be ourselves and wear natural hair. The hardest part of my journey was figuring out which products work best for me!
What are some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’?
Wash and go’s!
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
Ha! My family looks at me like I’m crazy. I remember when my uncle Charles (lol) asked, “What are you finna do to your hair?” I said “This is how I wear it uncle.” His response: “Oh.” That’s the gist of my family’s reaction!
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I ALWAYS pre-poo with castor oil, rosemary and/or coconut oil before cleansing.
I love SheaMoisture, Soul Ingredient’s Heavenly Hair products and LRC’s Shake & Go leave in conditioner.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
As for YouTube, I enjoy watching KashTV, Shameless Maya, and Mo Knows Hair. I love reading CurlyNikki and my natural hair blog, Tight Strands.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Here’s my advice if you’re in the valley with trying to keep a positive self-image, maintain your natural hair and develop a personal style:
-DO NOT compare yourself to other naturals. I remember finding a picture, getting my products, trying the style and WHOMP, WHOMP, WHOMP…epic fail! I expected my coil-out, twist-out, and all the other outs to look like the photo, given the similarities in hair type. That approach doesn’t work since our tresses are usually made up of several different textures.
-DO NOT feel like you have to GO BIG with accessories. After my fro was cut my mother asked, “Baby, do you need me to buy you some bigger earrings?” But I wanted to get comfortable with my look and branch out slowly. Overcompensating with a lot of “stuff” is not good in any area of life! I switch up between all sizes and types of accessories. Sometimes I wear none at all.
Whether you wear a tapered fro, or bald head, just do you! Nothing beats the best accessory of all… self-confidence.