Hello my natural loves! My name is Amanda, and just like many of you I am a natural hair fiend! (lol) I am 22 years old and a born and raised New Yorker!
How long have you been natural?
I have been natural since my senior year of high school which was 2009! It was the winter of this year that I decided I would no longer relax my hair. Prior to this, I would relax my hair about 2 times a year. As a child I had long hair however after years of relaxing and cutting, my hair got shorter and shorter. I would say that after cutting off my relaxed ends that I have been natural for about 4 years.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
What motivated me to go natural was my beautiful aunt. She had a head full of curls and I loved them and knew my hair could do just that so I decided to give it a try and cease relaxing. I did not do a big chop. I didn’t even know what a big chop was at the time when I went natural. I did grow my hair out a pretty significant amount though before cutting off about 3 inches of relaxed ends. When I did this my hair was about shoulder length.
How would you describe your hair? I would describe my hair as thick, coarse, curly, wavy, kinky, and every other word to describe natural hair! My hair has many textures in it. I believe many of these different textures are a result of using excess heat on my hair, however I have recently decided to minimize heat and to take better care of my hair and witness my hairs’ true potential.
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 would probably be changing people’s outlook on natural hair. When I first went natural some people were confused and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t straightening my hair and keeping it “tamed”. Years later, after having mastered tending to my hair and growing more confidence in general, I have noticed that my hair has become the topic of many of these same individuals (positive) discussions and that they have also considered wanting to go natural as well and now look to me for tips and tricks for natural hair. I would say that my journey had a frustrating start at first due to the fact that I was so consumed with buying products and trying new things over growing and maintaining healthy hair. I watched Youtube videos all day about product reviews and just bought a bunch of products. I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying new products, I just think their should be a limit and that your hair’s health should come first of all!
What are some of your favorite hairstyles? I did/do a lot of twist outs. They really helped disguise the straight ends and took the stress out of seeing those pesky little pieces at the ends of my coils. One of my favorite styles was a faux hawk style which I do using one of my moms retro banana clips! I’m a wild spirit though, so I usually prefer to wear my hair down (twist-outs and braid-outs), but the faux hawk and high buns were usually my go to hairstyles when my hair was up.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural?’ Any memorable reactions from family or others? My family had iffy reactions to it at first, they didn’t think my hair looked “combed” lol and they just weren’t used to it at first, heck I wasn’t used to it either, but as time went on they grew to love and embrace it and I’ve even encouraged some of them to go natural as well.
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)? My hair regimen typically consists of using coconut oil, eco styler gel, and some kind of moisturizer (shea moisture line, carols daughter, miss jessies, dark and lovely au natural line, etc.) in my hair doing twist outs and braid outs or wearing it in a high bun with leave-in conditioner and Tresemé hair spray.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, Youtubers or blogs? I started my journey watching many of Taren Guy’s videos and MsNikkimae on youtube. I am a big Instagram fan now so there are a number of wonderful natural hair pages on their that I follow for natural hair inspiration. As for sites, I occasionally check in on natural hair tumblrs, and various other blogs here and there. After having being reached out by Global Couture and checking out the blog, I have added this blog to my list of go to sites for natural hair inspo.!
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words? Anyone can go natural in my opinion, but having the confidence in yourself is necessary to really rock it. Not everyone will like your hair or understand it, but that is not the point, liking and understanding yourself inside and out is and that is what I taught myself and hope to teach others. In a world full of clones, I choose to be me and to love myself for the way I was intended to look and be, and I hope to encourage others to do the same.
Where can people find you for more information? I share a pretty good amount of information about my hair, fashion, and makeup on my Instagram page @mandajesspanda . Follow me! I used to think curly hair couldn’t be sexy and that I could only be sexy if my hair was sleek and straight, now I feel almost the opposite, when my hair is big, wild, and free with a set of red lips and a little winged liner I feel like the sexiest woman in any room. You can’t tell me nothing when I have that combo, but when I do, someone always wants to tell me something! (positive) 😉