My name is Elysia Hines and I was born and raised in Chicago. I am biracial, my mother is Caucasian (Scottish/Welsh heritage), while my father is African American. I started getting relaxers at the age of 4 (yes, crazy to fathom that thought now.) My mother says my hair was so thick and unruly, that she didn’t know how to handle it. So, she cut all my hair off when I was around 5 (yes, I looked like a little boy walking around lol). Being someone who had gotten relaxers my whole life, (faithfully every 2 months at that) I didn’t even know what my natural curl pattern looked like.
How long have you been natural?
I started my natural journey September, 2010. Almost 3 years since I received my last relaxer. This pic was right after I decided to stop (thin and dry).
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
There were several reasons why I chose to transition when I did. Probably the biggest reason was damaged hair. Growing up, I always had long hair. Never really dealt with being teased for being biracial like I hear so many others dealt with. I was always told how pretty my hair was etc. but as I got older I realized long hair does not mean healthy hair. After high school, I began noticing how my hair didn’t seem to grow as much and it was becoming very brittle and dry. I would look at pictures when I was younger and wonder: why doesn’t my hair look like this now? What went wrong? I was in denial of how bad it was. So, my final year of college I decided to do something about it. I started researching natural hair care and I knew by the time I was 30 that I wanted to be completely natural (I just turned 26). My last relaxer was September, 2010. I chose to transition instead of doing the BC mainly because I love my length. I was too scared to cut it, but was willing to if transitioning didn’t work out. This was my transitioning style, I only wore it straight.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey has just been the liberation of being natural. I would say after the first 7 months, the process became easier. Seeing my hair become thicker and healthier is definitely the most exciting part of it all.
What are some of your favorite hairstyles?
My favorite current do is the “puff.” It’s super easy, convenient, (especially for work) and low maintenance. I also loooove the 2 strand twist out. I do this once every other night using the L.O.C method. During my transitioning days, I wore it straight to blend the 2 textures. Probably not the best, but I only flat ironed it once every month. I stopped for a year and then recently straightened it and clipped the rest of my relaxed ends (about 2 inches) The picture on the left was about 6 months into my natural journey; my hair already began to look healthier. The picture on the right is my completely natural hair flat ironed back in April. Big difference. 🙂
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
As a natural, I get so many compliments on my hair, at least once a day. My family loves it, especially my mom. I joke with her now and say: “See, it’s your fault my hair was jacked up! Lol” It’s all in fun. I get a lot of questions from my friends on what I do differently, because the change in my hair is so drastic from my “creamy crack” days.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
Absolute staple hair care products are: Satin scarves/rollers, Aubrey Organics GPB Protein Conditioner, Shea Moisture Shampoo/Conditioner, ORS Olive Oil Conditioner, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, EVOO, Coconut oil, Castor oil, and Mixed Chicks Leave-In and now DIY homemade mayo deep conditioner. I mix castor, EVOO, Coconut oil with a little water as a sealant after applying Kinky Curly Knot today or Mixed Chicks Leave-In. I then, finish off with the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I deep condition twice a month. At night before bed, the pineapple method is the way to go. I love it.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I love BlackGirlLongHair.com, CurlyNikki.com, and NaturallyCurly.com. As for my fav YouTubers, where shall I start? Arispella has probably been my biggest help. She was the first one I watched and have been a faithful subscriber since. I also love: Naptural85, FrenchyFatim, HeyFranHey, MahoganyCurls, ItaliaCeleste, ShamelessMaya (IG:MayasWorld)
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
For those who may be apprehensive about going natural, just remember that with a little patience, the process is so well worth it. Also, do what feels right for you. Although I didn’t choose to do the BC, I admire those who have the confidence to do so. I can honestly say my confidence has gone up so much since I started my journey. Not to mention the amount of money I’ve saved! Lol. Never will I return to a relaxer. The diversity and liberation you experience once you make that decision to be natural, is priceless.
Where can people find you for more information?