Tell me about yourself!
My name is NiAmbi` Agent. I’m 22 and a recent graduate of Arizona State University with my degree in Communication, Technology & Society. I’m engaged in my community, from marching for justice to open mics and networking with I Am Root Co. I’m the Media Relations Officer for National Association of Black Journalists on ASU’s campus. My name means “the melody is heard”, so I enjoy singing, songwriting, playing the keys and performing live; there’s much truth in a meaning of a name. Currently, I’m working on branding NiAmbi` Speaks! — a blog that touches on anything and everything to do with society. I’ve interviewed South Carolina hip-hop artist, Jesse Davis; hip-hop activist, Jasiri X; 2007 Super Bowl winning coach, Tony Dungy and singer-songwriter, Ellis Martin – who has written and co-produced Jidenna’s next single, “Some Kind of Way”. I’m brainstorming some other ways to get NiAmbi` Speaks! out there, so I’m excited with what I’ve been able to do so far.
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I didn’t transition in the traditional way, nor did I Big Chop. My way of transitioning was to stop pressing and flat ironing my hair. Just like many girls, I straightened my hair because I thought it was easier to maintain and it looked prettier when it was straight. I constantly put heat on my hair for about 5 years, from my early teens until my freshman year in college. My mom was watching hair tutorials on YouTube one day, and from there we started researching more and more. We became educated on the beauty, versatility and healthiness of being naturally curly. I transitioned from not knowing to knowing and loving myself just as I am. I stopped using the flat irons, hot combs, hard-bristled brushes and cutting out sulfate and paraben products. The journey has been easy.
Had you always embraced your texture?
During those 5 years of flat ironing and pressing my hair, I would say that I hadn’t embraced it. Before high school, it was pigtail braids, knockers and barrettes, water and Blue Magic. Going from that to finally learning how to do my own hair, I’d say I embraced a more mature look going into my teens. Even though that was only 2007, kinky and curly wasn’t looked upon as the go-to hairstyle. When you know better, you do better.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
I honestly don’t think any of my friends were surprised at all. Even in the midst of me straightening my hair, every once in awhile, I’d go to school with big kinky hair or have curls from the rollers I put in the night before. Me and my mom did it together, so she was all for it. It wasn’t something that I talked about to anyone before acting on it. All in all, I think people loved the new look. I started noticing more compliments from friends and strangers than I did when I was frying my mane.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
My hair description varies. I have two textures and I maintain my accordingly. My hair is generally fine, but the lower half of my hair is finer. The upper half of my hair is the thickest. I have normal porosity; it retains moisture very well. After a good wash, conditioning, and sealing with oils – my hair will completely dry naturally within 24 hours.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
For my college graduation in December 2014, I decided to get Senegalese Twists. The length of my natural hair was bra strap length, so the twists had to be longer – they were waist length. I was told long I would have to sit, but I thought it was worth it until I had to wrap hair up for bed. It was very painful and I dealt with the pain for 2 days. I had to remove the first row and cut several inches of the front of my hair. My hair was so heavy, painful and oily, it caused a huge zit on my forehead that took two weeks to go away. After all the money and time I spent ($265 and 8 hours in the chair), the twists weren’t freely flowing like I wanted. I had to wear headbands to cover the huge ugly and painful zit. What would’ve been worth it was wearing my own curls.
What’s your biggest hair related regret?
Although, I’ve always been chemical-free, I didn’t realize that being natural also included healthy hair. It wasn’t until four years ago, that I realized the importance of maintaining natural hair through proper care. My biggest regret is that I didn’t realize much sooner.
What’s your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
First thing I’ll mention are the products that bring life to my hair: Infusium 23 leave-in conditioner, extra virgin coconut oil, shea butter, and Lily of the Desert aloe vera gel. I mix these products together and apply to my sectioned hair. I get the best outcome on freshly washed hair and while it’s still damp. Every other week, I wash my hair with Alaffia African Black Soap and deep condition with Hawaiian Silky Dry Hair Conditioner. The weeks in between, I co-wash. My wide tooth comb is my best friend in the shower. I’d like to point out that I braid my hair in 4 or 5 sections before I begin my washing process; it makes things much easier. I style my hair about two times a week; my hairstyles last about 3 days before I have to style again.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
I love big and curly hair. I’m inspired by the 60s and 70s and my mom who loves everything huge – hair, earrings and sunglasses!
Who is your curl crush?
Whitney a.k.a naptural85
Ambrosia Malbrough a.k.a. xGOLDn
Domineque Banks a.k.a. longhairdontcare2011 (RIP)
How do you maintain your hair at night?
Every night, I make sure that my hair is moisturized, paying special attention to my ends. I twist my hair or pineapple my curls into a silk scarf. I also put on a silk bonnet over my scarf just in case it falls off during the night.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I maintain my healthy length by moisturizing, weekly scalp massage, deep conditioning, co-washing, protective styles, finger combing and trimming my ends when needed.
What’s the best thing about being natural?
Freedom, flexibility and feeling fabulous!