My name is Bri Lawson, and I’m a 21 year old college student at the University of Missouri- St. Louis. I am originally from Kansas City, MO but reside in St. Louis for school. I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a Gender Studies Certificate.
How long have you been natural?
I chose to stop relaxing my hair in May of 2012 at the age of 20. I transitioned for nine months before I decided to do the Big Chop.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper & why?
My transition was motivated by a desire to start a new chapter in my life. Somehow, I decided that the new start was going to begin with my hair. I cut my hair into a bob in March of 2012, but somehow that wasn’t enough for me. I added highlights to the bob in April and still wasn’t fully satisfied. In May I made the ultimate decision to stop processing my hair. I transitioned for 9 months, and finally decided to chop out all of the remaining relaxer.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of this journey has been the many compliments on my hair. I started off somewhat insecure about my hair being cut so short. However, my peers and family have been very supportive of my hair transition. Overall, the transition has been relatively smooth. My biggest challenges with my hair now consist of containing myself from buying every natural product I see at the hair store. My curls are very manageable and easy to mold into different styles. I love playing in my curls and so do my peers. The only thing I have struggled with is patience as my hair is growing back from my big chop in February.
What were some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles?
During my transition, I was fond of micros. I wore micros for two and a half months. I took my micros out, and thought I was ready to take on my natural texture, but since I had not cut all of the relaxed hair out, it was very difficult to manage. I tried a sew-in for my birthday in January of this year, but I was not completely happy with weave. Once I took the sew-in out, I decided it was time to take that next step and chop out the relaxer. Now, some of my favorite hairstyles are mainly everything with my puff. I will sometimes put twists in the front of my hair to add a bit of edge, or incorporate head scarfs or bows. My hair is now at an acceptable length that I will also do a wash and go from time to time if I didn’t feel like doing my hair the night before. With wash and go’s I usually use a lot of different products on my hair while it’s still wet to make sure that all my oils and creams absorb into my hair. Ecostyler has been a great addition to my wash and go regimen. It separates my curls beautifully and keeps the curls intact as my hair dries so my curls do not mass into a fro.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
Once I chopped the relaxer out of my hair and my natural curls took over, my family was ecstatic about my hair. They love to see it with different scarfs, bows, going in different directions, and even occasionally in a fro. My peers have been very supportive in my natural journey. They have offered tips to find more hair scarfs, new products, and even new accessories to compliment my short hair. All of my male friends have been excellent in their compliments and encouragement to embrace my curls. I was thinking about trying a new hair style one night and decided to show my male friends before it was time to leave in case they didn’t think it was a great look for me. I asked them, “Does this style make me look ‘bald-headed’?” One of my friends responded, “No, you just look like you have short hair. It looks good.” Even when I’m questioning my appearance, I know that my friends have my back and tell me the truth.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I usually try not to wash/co-wash my hair more than three times a week. Normally, I like to wash and deep condition my hair on Sundays, so I have a fresh hair style for the beginning of the week. After the wash and conditioning, I immediately do a protective style and sit under a hooded drier for at least 45 minutes. Once I feel that the majority of my hair has dried, I grease my scalp with Africa’s Best Super Grow formula. I use mainly Cantu products to wash, condition, and style my hair. My regimens started off with twist outs during the beginning of my transition. I found that twist outs did not hold much length when they dried. I then tried braid outs and loved the definition and the fullness that it added to my hair. From time to time, I also like to do finger coils. I try to fluff out my fro for at least two or three days before I will wash it again. To fluff out my fro I use a mix of Jojoba, Carrot, Olive, Argon, and Africa’s Best Herbal Oil. However, this is by no means the only products that make it into my hair. I grab anything that is on my counter, which can include: Pink moisturizer, Cantu Curl Activator, Motions Hydrate My Curls pudding, Motions Define My Curls cream, Cantu Curling Cream, Motions Hair & Scalp conditioner, Ecostyler with Olive oil, etc. Whatever floats my boat that morning in moisturizing my fro.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I really don’t have any favorite websites or bloggers at the moment; I just go with the flow with my hair. From time to time I will go and seek out videos on YouTube for new hair style ideas, but usually put my own spin on it in the end. I feel like everyone’s curls and kinks are unique, so I don’t always depend on videos and sites to showcase something epic for my hair journey.\
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I know that the natural journey is not for everyone, but for those that choose to embrace it, it is incredibly liberating. I always thought that long, processed hair was one of most attractive things about my physical appearance. Once I chopped out my relaxed hair, I became so much more conscious of what my beauty was really all about. I’ve found a confidence in myself that was seemingly hidden by my processed hair. I definitely feel like my natural hair has added an edge to my personality. I love my hair being natural; the way it looks, feels, smells, everything. I’m glad I chose this journey, and I don’t foresee me ever going back.
Where can people find you for more information?
I am on Facebook (Bri MsStrawberri Lawson) and Instagram @Brown_Suga_Luv