Tell us a little bit about your background.
Hey, my name is Ajah. I’m originally from Long Beach, Ca. born and raised but I reside in Riverside, Ca. Moved out here in 2009 to further my education but I am now approaching my last semester (graduation quickly approaching in December, class of ’14 stand up woot woot). I’m a down to earth spirit that loves being around family and friends, I do however enjoy my alone time and love listening to music and reading. Neosoul and pretty much any afro-centric novel are my go to’s but I don’t discriminate. Four months shy of a Bachelor’s in Journalism with a minor in photography, I plan on soon after pursing a masters in speech language pathology.
How long have you been natural?
I would have to say I have been what I call a “part time” natualista for over five years. By that I mean, I would wear my hair in its natural form for so long then go back to adding heat when I got bored. I’ve been completely natural for the last two years.
What motivated you to transition?
My motivation was mostly due to one day waking up and being tired of my hair looking unhealthy and literally loosing what looked like clumps when I actually combed it out. I underwent a big chop about three weeks ago, very spur of the moment and unplanned. After my twenty-third birthday I just wanted a fresh start and felt like I could get that with a drastic hair cut so I went from my hair being past my bra strap straight to shoulder length and a curly afro in its natural form. Dye damage has been another thing that assisted in my transition. Four years ago I went from dark brown to light brown but every time I went to get my roots touched up the beautician would “forget” what color she mixed together and my hair slowly but surely got lighter and lighter till one day is was honey blonde. I ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. So, I put a stainer on my hair to turn it jet-black.
How would you describe your hair?
I would describe my hair is as soft tight ringlets that dry out to a nice curly fro.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love the diversity of my hair. It’s like every day it has a new personality and looks different to me. I go back and forth with new products to see what works and what doesn’t. One thing I don’t like is for my curls to feel hard. I prefer them soft and easy for me to run my fingers through.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey?
The most memorable part of my journey is mostly just the confidence that I’ve built, to me that stands out more than anything. I use to compare my hair to other people with curly hair and either get encouraged or discouraged buy how they’re hair looked dry in resemblance to mine. Now the diversity of the curl inspires me. How no two people have the same texture and no matter if your related or not, your curls will always be different. This progression has been both easy and hard. Easy because I have always went back and forth with wearing it natural. Hard because I had to get use to not getting bored, coming up with different hairstyles and doing whatever it takes to fight the urge to add heat.
How is dating while natural?
Dating while natural has been better than I thought to say the least. I assumed that most men would want a woman that like everyone else has straight, long hair. But to my surprise, most of the men I’ve ran in to just love a woman with hair that’s hers. Curly hair is taking over the world, slowly but surely. No matter the length or style as long as you are confident, everything else will fall into place. You are as sexy as you feel. If you feel sexy with your hair pinned back, pin that hair back. If you feel sexiest with your hair on face, rock that curly bang. You are your hair, and your hair is you. Sexy is feeling, not a look, remember that.
What are some of your favorite transition hairstyles/ current dos’?
My favorite “dos’ would have to be twists in the front with a pin up half up, half down look, a basic Mohawk using banana clips, headbands just to push back the hair out of my face and two loose french braids that go up to a curly ponytail.
What have your experience been as a natural. Any memorable reactions from family or others?
My reactions have been all types of memorable. I’ve always had long hair so after I did my unannounced chop I had reactions that I wasn’t expecting. My mother didn’t talk to me for almost four days because she didn’t like it. My grandfather still talks about how much he wishes I had left it the way it was. Besides that, everyone else was just shocked but a good kind of shocked. My immediate friends were supportive and encouraging.
What is your hair regimen (including favorite prodcuts)?
My hair regimen mostly includes completely wetting my hair every other day (not washing but just letting the shower water run on my head), or using a spray bottle to spritz water mixed with any type of leave in conditioner in daily. I then alternate between three of my new found favorite products coconut curling cream by Cantu, curl sealer by Taliah Waajid or Curl Keeper by Organics by Africa’s best. I’m usually open to try any type of curl moisturizer that has an amazing scent, I love being able to catch a random wiff of just how good my hair actually smells. My go to shampoos and conditioners would be tresemme’ curl hydration, renewing moroccan argan oil, garnier fructis daily care two in one and aussie moist.
What are some of your favorite natural websites, blogs or youtubers?
My favorite natural hair blogs would be, blackgirllonghair.com, blacknaps.org, naturalhairrules.com, curlynikki.com and iammyhaircampaign.com, a few youtube channels that I enjoy are chary jay, my natural sistas, and kimmaytube.
Anything you want the readers to know?
The only thing I would want anyone either new to being natural or someone thinking about transitioning is just to be confident. Your hair won’t always come out how you want everyday but that’s ok, nothing to be discouraged about. It takes time to get in touch with your natural side but when you do, it is very liberating.
Where can people find you for more information?
For more information or any questions that I could answer or elaborate on my instagram is AjahNicole, my twitter is @I_Am_AjahNicole.