My name is Katia Dowdell. I am a 27 year old freelance graphic designer from Auburn, Alabama. I work in a Youth Development Center. My hair journey has been an upward climb. I love my hair more now than I have throughout the entire process. I am still at the “twa stage” and like most naturals, I can’t wait to see my hair grow into a real “jaw-dropper!”
How long have you been natural?
I’ve been completely natural since January of 2013 (I’m a newbie).
What motivated you to go natural?
The damaged state of my hair is what truly inspired me to return my hair back to its natural state. For the past several years, I’d been relaxing my hair every 4 months and wearing Partial Sew-ins in between. My “leave out” was severely broken, and heat-damaged. I was over my damaged ends and I was more than ready for a change. I decided to listen to my hair, and start over (Best decision ever) ! August 2012 was my last relaxer. I “Big Chopped Plus Some” in December of 2012. I left some of the relaxer at the top of my cut, because I wanted to have enough to twist out. I was having to rod the ends of my twists at the time to better blend the two textures. I was fed up with the two textures and decided to do something about it. I dunked my head in water and snipped every straight strand on my head. My ends curled instantly, and for the first time in a very long time, I loved MY hair.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The first most memorable moment of my hair journey was when I cut the rest of the relaxer off of my hair. Seeing my curl pattern for the very first time was love at first sight! I had my hair pressed as a child/early teen and I had no idea what my natural hair would look like. My second most memorable moment was when my picture was featured on @Curlbox on Instagram and it received a 1,471 likes. Before then, I had gotten a lot of negative feedback from my decision. I had received far more compliments, but it is something about a negative remark that truly sticks with us. From that point on, I thought, “The heck with everybody else, I love MY hair!” My journey has definitely had its good and bad moments. I was “Protective Styling” for the wrong reasons. I was doing it to cover up my hair. I had become self-conscious about my hair and in turn put in Box Braids, Senegalese Twists, and a Sew-in so that I wouldn’t have to “deal” with my real hair. Taking out my last run of Senegalese Twists made me see my hair for what it had become. I realized that I was taking care of all of that manufactured hair better than I was the hair the God had hand-picked for me. I made a vow to myself to let my hair rest for the right reasons, and to take care of my real hair underneath. For now, I am loving my kinky strands and plan to wear it out for awhile. My journey has been easiest here recently since I’ve embraced my hair and everything that comes with it! I tell myself everyday that the best is yet to come!
What are some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
My favorite hairstyles right now are wash ‘n go’s, twist outs, finger coils, and fro-hawks. Sometimes I combine one or two of these styles to design them specifically around MY hair!
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
My experiences as a natural have been for the most part really good. I feel that people feed off of your vibes! If a person looks at you and realizes that you are confident in your kinks, and coils, and frizz, they will learn to love it. I’ve learned that not everyone will agree with my decision to revert back to natural hair, and I’m okay with that! My most memorable reaction from a family member would have to be my son’s initial reaction. I had come from the shop from getting my hair dyed light blonde and receiving my Big Chop. The first thing he told me was that my boyfriend was not going to like my hair, because it was “orange!” Lol!
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
My hair regimen is pretty simple. I wash my hair with Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo about once a month. I co-wash my hair with Herbal Essence Long-Term Relationship Conditioner 1-2 times a week. I deep condition my hair with Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner once a week. I try to use an Argan Restorative Mask whenever my hair feels like it needs it. My hair craves a lot of moisture. I use Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner, Shea Moisture Kids Curling Cream Butter, Regis Designline Ultimate Radiance Leave-In Conditioning Styler, and I use Kinky Curly Curling Custard to define my curls daily. I use a spray bottle filled with water everyday along with my Moroccan Argan Oil as a sealant. I use the Olive Oil ECO Styler Gel whenever I need to slick the sides of my hair up for a “fro-hawk.”
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I love looking for natural hair inspiration! My favorite natural hair youtubers are : @Chocolatetresses , @ItsMyRayeRaye , @Tiffany Marie Scott , @SimplYounique . Some of my favorite blogs are “easynaturalhair.com,” “mckenzierenae.tumblr.com” , and of course “globalcouture.blogspot.com.” @Curlbox has offered great inspiration on Instagram as well!
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I would advise anyone who is thinking of going natural to do so for the right reasons. Do it because YOU want to do it. Otherwise, you won’t LOVE it. I don’t care how much research you do, how many categories there are for your “hair-type,” get to know your hair for YOURSELF. Listen to your hair! It will let you know when you need to add protein, moisture, oil, etc. to your routine. Do what it says. Listening to your hair will ensure that your journey moves forward, and not backward. Do not get discouraged if you “mess up!” It’s a process/journey. Until you get to know your hair, you may not see “repunzel-like” growth right away. Know how watching a watch makes the time move slower? Well, the same concept applies with natural hair. Just let it be. The growth will come. Make sure you’re doing everything in your power to love and nurture your hair, and your hair will love you back! 🙂
Where can people find you for more information?
Facebook : Katia Dowdell
Instagram : @stylethrob
Twitter : @stylethrob
Tumblr : @stylekap.tumblr.com