Born and raised in St. Louis, I’ve been on my natural hair journey for three years now. I first tried in 2008 but after five months of frustration with two textures, I gave up. I didn’t do my research that first time around…I only knew relaxers were beginning to negatively affect my scalp and I needed to find an alternative! But the second time around in 2010 I had begun watching YouTube religiously to find out what I needed to do to be successful.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
After six months of growing out my hair, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I wanted to be free of the straight hair! So I cut it. I cried! *Lol* I felt I looked like a boy. It took me a couple months to get used to it because I’ve never been one to have such short hair. I’ve always had my long hair to make me feel beautiful. So I really had to grasp hold of the concept that “I am not my hair” and I am beautiful on the outside because of who I am insideJ.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?! AND What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I can honestly say this journey has opened doors for me I wouldn’t have expected years ago. I have a passion for writing, so starting my website has allowed me to be introduced to so many great people that I may not have come across otherwise. I’m able to feature business owners and beautiful women from all around the world. Hearing family members and friends say, “I watch all of your videos,” or “I saw this and that on your site, so I tried it” is what’s memorable for me. It’s also ALWAYS a surprise when I meet strangers and they say, “I recognize your voice/face…My Natural Reality, right?” WOW! People know me?! That blows my mind every time it happens! My journey has been a simple one.
Many women in my family have been natural for decades off and on; so for me to do it wasn’t a big deal except the fact they were used to seeing me with long hair. The natural community is very different than it was in ’94 when my mom came home with her hair cut in a fade. Back then, women cut their hair because of the convenience, not because they’d watched videos or seen pictures of other women gorgeously rocking a natural.
What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles and current dos? I wore my hair rodded or in kinky twists the majority of my transition. Since the BC, twist outs have been my go-to style. I have not yet mastered the wash n go but I sure do wish I could make it work on my texture. I like braid outs for the slightly different look it offers over twist outs. What I haven’t done in three years is flat iron my hair. That still surprises me that it’s been since September 2010 since I flat ironed my hair. I guess because I wore it for two decades prior, I don’t miss it. I enjoy the versatility of my natural hair texture WAY more than the straight look.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I must say I don’t necessarily have a regimen besides cowashing every other wash. That is a big deal for me because I was very I-ain’t-usin’-conditioner-to-wash-my-hair for the first two years. But once I caught wind of cowashes that have detergent agents as an ingredient, I realized it could be a good thing. Regular conditioner makes my scalp itch (and always has), but Ouidad, L’Oreal Evercurl, and Eden Bodyworks cowashes are awesome! They leave my hair soft and my scalp clean. When I wash, I absolutely MUST separate my hair into 4-5 sections (so perhaps that’s part of a wash-day regimen). Anytime I try to rush and wash my hair like I used to when it was straight, I end up with buildup remaining in some spots. It’s rather annoying actually because I spend at least 30 minutes in the shower, but I only wet my hair thoroughly every 7-10 days. I guess it could be worse. I have so many products since I vlog for Naturally Curly (http://naturallycurly.com) and I don’t like to name my favorites because I’m not loyal to any of them for too long. I do however have brands I think are very moisturizing and worth the money like SheaMoisture, Elasta QP, Miss Jessie’s (particularly the Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo and Super Sweetback Treatment), and I’ve always loved Herbal Essence, Dove, and Pantene shampoos and conditioners! They’ve never done me wrong and I’ve been doing my own hair since middle school.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
Nikki Mae of Natural Chica (http://naturalchica.com) and Whitney bka Naptural85 (http://naptural85.com) were the first two naturalistas I subscribed to on Youtube. I have been following both of their journeys since their beginnings! I vividly remember Mae’s big chop video and Whitney’s TWA styles! I have also followed Curly Nikki’s blog for years (http://curlynikki.com). Because I like to do interviews and feature new-to-me businesses, I always liked how she would have articles featuring others on her site. My cousin is another naturalista I enjoy keeping up with online (http://napturallycurly.com). Watching her number of subbies on YouTube grow as it has is encouraging! There are so many women out here that are supportive of one another and it’s great to watch this play out in the life of someone I actually knowJ!
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” This is a quote by Oscar Wilde that I like to tell my students. It applies to adults as well! We need to focus more on what makes us wonderful human beings while giving credit when it’s due to others but NOT having envy over what others have (especially when it comes to their DNA). If you find yourself looking at others and thinking, “if only I had her ________”, stop! You can find twice as many awesome traits about yourself than you found about the person you hardly know!
Where can people find you for more information?