Tell me about yourself!
My name is Amber. I’m 21, a student, and have been natural for 2 years. I study international affairs and economics at Northeastern University in Boston. I love to travel and have been to quite a few places (Spain, France, Italy, China, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands). I also write and perform spoken word poetry. A link to my YouTube page is below for anyone who’d like to listen.
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I transitioned for about a year and a half before I cut all my permed hair off. Trying to work with two textures was really difficult. By month 6, my permed hair was really thinning and I was frying my natural hair by straightening it all the time. In January of 2014, I did a semester abroad in Barcelona. It was impossible to keep my hair straight with foreign products made for European hair, so I cut all the permed hair out. Working with shorter hair was so much fun and 1000x times easier. Plus, the short length was a great way to try out different styles and see the versatility of my natural hair.
Had you always embraced your texture?
As a child, all I wanted was straight hair. I can appropriate that to a family with processed hair, and everything I saw on TV. Once my permed hair was cut off, I committed to wearing my hair natural. It was weird at first with my hair being extremely short, but I got used to it. I just recently looked back at a picture of myself from a year ago, right after I cut out the perm, and it’s amazing to see how long and healthy my hair has become. I’m in love with my curls.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
My sister was actually my inspiration. She was natural for a year before I decided to give up relaxers. We both were big supporters of each other, but our mother is still a creamy crack queen. Our family loves our natural hair, and most of them are natural or have locs. It was more so a decision I made for myself, so their support was not my priority. I know I wanted to find beauty in the way my hair is intended to look, and I have.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
I have really thick hair. I don’t get into the numbers and letters of 3a or 4a etc. I think all of that is way too confusing. My curls are really tight at the crown of my head, and get looser further out. Now that my hair is colored, my curls are looser all around.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
During the process of messing with colors on my hair, I made the tragic decision to put a blond on top of the copper/bronze color I had. What I ended up with was bright yellowish pink hair. Needless to say, hair scarves and I got pretty familiar during this stage.
What’s your biggest hair related regret?
Coloring my hair! Overall it was such a traumatic experience, but you live and learn. I wanted to have auburn hair, so I went to a natural hair salon that I trusted to get the color done. Not only did they over-process my hair, permanently loosening my curl pattern, but I ended up with a rusty blond color. After that point, I stuck to doing my hair myself. While I love the color that I have now, which is courtesy of my mother, I know my curl pattern will probably never revert. Switching things up with color can be fun, but I don’t think the risk is worth it.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
I wash my hair once every week and a half to two weeks. I start off with a deep conditioning mask that I blend myself (Mayo, avocado, egg, honey, evoo, coconut oil, and banana). I let that sit on my hair for at least an hour. Then I wash my hair with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo once or twice, depending how my hair feels. Finally, I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Condition, which provides great slip and allows me to easily detangle.
I let my hair air dry as is, or in twists. I am big on low manipulation, so whatever style I do after wash day (high puff or front twist with the back out) is what I keep until I wash it next.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
The high puff is my go to! I was too excited once my hair grew long enough to create this style. It’s so easy to do and a great low manipulation style. I always make sure to have a loose fitting band, so I don’t put stress on my edges. Other than that, this style is perfect.
Pinterest is my go to for all of my hair ideas. They have great pins for hair recipes, styles, and products.
Who is your curl crush?
Mini Marley! Her hair gives me life!!
How do you maintain your hair at night?
Bonnet or satin scarf with the pineapple method.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I trim my hair every time I straighten it, or when I twist it and see uneven ends.
What’s the best thing about being natural?
Being able to wake up, spritz and fluff my hair, and GO!
Where can folks find you on the web?
Instagram – AmberShantae
Twitter – Am_BuRRRRRR
Youtube – www.youtube.com/c/ambershantae