Hi! My name is Saleemah Cartwright. Co-owner of the Hydratherma Naturals healthy hair products collection. I live in metro Atlanta and I’m from Buffalo, NY. I have done EVERYTHING with my hair! I have been relaxed, natural, color treated, curly permed, texturized and texlaxed. I have worn all types of braids and even faux locs J . I did my first big chop in 2003. I then texturized and relaxed again in 2005. I then did the 2nd big chop in 2008 and haven’t looked back since.
How long have you been natural?
I have been natural since 2008. I transitioned for about 5 months before doing the big chop. I was going to transition a bit longer but I couldn’t take dealing with the 2 different textures anymore. It was so liberating to chop it all off!
What motivated you to transition?
I thought about transitioning for a few months before I actually did it. I really missed feeling my natural kinks and curls. I also LOVE big hair. I couldn’t achieve the “big hair” type of styles that I loved so much with my relaxed hair! When I was relaxed, I wore a lot of rod sets and bantu knots to get the big hair look but it just wasn’t big enough J
What has been the most memorable part of your journey?
That is hard to say. I have so many. When I did my big chop I warned my husband for 6 months prior to cutting. I warned him that I was going to cut off my long / healthy relaxed hair. He was a bit weary but was cool with it. When I actually did the big chop he was surprised that I actually did it and he actually loved it. It took some getting used to initially. I also have so many memorable moments of my hair going through the various lengths and trying so many cute styles along the way.
Has it been easy or difficult or both? I would say both. I have had times when I was so frustrated with my hair and there are times that I am totally in love with it. The love outweighs the frustration by a long shot.
What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
I think that the best bet for transitioners would be to wear curly styles. Curly styles will help disguise the 2 different textures. Straw sets, rod sets, bantu knot styles, braid outs and twist outs were my go to styles. Worked out well in the humid Atlanta heat!
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others? Some people were in shock when they found out that I cut my hair. I had healthy/ long relaxed hair so many people found it perplexing. I even got crazy comments from my online followers. I am never afraid to try something new with my hair so crazy comments didn’t bother me at all. For the most part, I got so much positive feedback and people were always asking me about my hair.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
The core of my regimen is based on balancing the moisture and protein levels in the hair with the Hydratherma Naturals products. While working as a stylist I noticed that too much protein or too much moisture in the hair would lead to breakage. Once the hair was well balanced, it would thicken, become stronger and length would be retained. Once I began to practice this balance with my clients and with my own hair, I noticed that our hair would just flourish! This is why I created the Hydratherma Naturals line. I wanted to create a line to take the guess work out of the moisture / protein balance. Weekly, I cleanse my hair with the Hydratherma Naturals cleanser and deep condition. I alternate with moisture and protein deep conditioning treatments every other week so that my hair would be balanced. Week 1 –Hydratherma Naturals, Moisture Boosting Deep Conditioning Treatment and week 2 – Hydratherma Naturals, Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioning Treatment. After deep conditioning I apply the moisture / protein balance core products. Protein Balance Leave In Conditioner (infusion of protein), Daily Moisturizing Growth Lotion (infusion of moisture) and I then seal with our hair growth oil. I massage these products into my scalp and through my hair ends. I then style as usual, Braid out/ twist out etc. This makes my hair super soft and well balanced -(minimal breakage). If I wear my hair straight, I use the Hydratherma Naturals herbal gloss heat protector to protect my hair from heat and it gives my hair a nice shine. If I want extra hold and humidity protection I would use one of our stylers (botanical defining gel or forming sea silk curly styler).
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I absolutely love Afroniquely you, bglh, nappturality, lhcf and of course… Global Couture!!!! There are so many others that I love (too many to name J)
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I just want people to ENJOY your hair journey. I see so many people stressing out about their hair. Hair shouldn’t be stressful. It should be fun so just have fun with it!
Where can people find you for more information?
You can find out more about me and the Hydratherma Naturals line at www.HealthyHairJourney.com
We are also on Fb- Hydratherma Naturals
Thanks a million!