1. Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey. (Name, where you’re from, etc)
My name is Olivia Johnson and I am from Detroit, MI. I decided to go natural in September of 2012 after watching a video by HairCrush. She was talking about how we should love ourselves as we are and I have always wanted to wear my hair naturally, but I received a lot of laughs whenever I did so I would get discouraged. When I watched HairCrush’s video is when I decided that I was not going to let other people dictate how I should look anymore. I wanted to love all of me, including my hair.
2. How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I have been natural for almost 3 years now, and I tried to embrace my hair a few times, but I would always hear “do something with your hair” and it bothered me. When I started experimenting with bantu knots in the summer of 2010 is when I fell in love with my hair a little more. Even though I have never had a relaxer, I had bad heat damage and was ignorant to what it was then, so although I went most of the summer with no heat, I still did not know my true texture.
3. What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
Once I decided to return to my natural hair texture I watched a bunch of Youtube videos and found out that I had heat damage. I didn’t want to cut all of my hair off at one time, so I transitioned. I always had long, bra strap length hair so I was afraid of how I would look with extremely short hair. After 3-months is when I did my first mini chop and I cut about 5 inches off. Looking back I wish I would have big-chopped, the short hair would have been a nice change and I hated dealing with the different textures while transitioning.
4. How would you describe your hair?
I have thick, kinky, coily hair. My hair is mostly thick and kinky in the back and on the sides and in the middle my curl pattern is much looser. Based on the hair type chart I have the textures 4a, 4b and 4c, mostly 4c.
5. What do you love most about your hair?
I love how full and thick my hair is. I can do all sorts of styles because it is very versatile. I love my little spirals, and people are always fooled by the length because of my major shrinkage. I love that I do not have to worry about my hair blowing out of place when I am outside on a windy day. My hair blowing everywhere was one thing I hated when I used to wear my hair flat-ironed.
6. What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part for me is when I went into my parent’s bathroom at my baby sister’s birthday party and cut 5 inches of my hair. I did not plan on cutting my hair that day, but I looked into the mirror and was tired of looking at the heat damage so I grabbed my dad’s scissors and went to work. I was proud of myself and felt like I had made a huge step. It was not just about cutting off heat damage to me, but starting a journey to who I really was and not caring about length. It was not very difficult once I made up my mind because no one was going to change my decision about being me. Falling in love with my hair completely and having the confidence to wear my hair anyway I want is another memorable part of my journey. I have confidence I have never had before. When people stare at my hair I no longer feel insecure, I feel liberated and love the person that I have become.
I loved twistouts and buns when I was transitioning, I also wore bantu knot twist outs often.
8. What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I had very few supporters from family when I decided to go natural. I received a lot of “when are you going to do your hair” and “you need to flat iron your hair” comments, and most thought that it was a phase. After a while they figured I was serious and I don’t really hear those comments anymore. I did receive positive reactions from most of my friends, and my then boyfriend now husband. The natural hair community was also very positive and encouraging. When I am out, people compliment my hair all of the time, some even ask if my hair is real or if it is a wig. A lot of Caucasians can’t believe that this is my real hair and they are amazed by it. I am sure I get a few negative looks from people, but I never see them, who cares anyway (lol). Since I have been natural I receive more compliments on my hair from both men and women.
9. What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
My regimen is fairly simple. On wash days I wet my hair and section my hair into 4 parts then pre-poo with coconut oil to make detangling easier after a wash. Sometimes I twist my hair up and wash section by section in the shower because it is easier for me that way. I wash my hair with shampoo (I use all natural shampoo) if I have a lot of product in my hair, or build up on my scalp, and sometimes I just co-wash. After a wash, I section my hair then apply Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie as my moisturizer, then I use raw coconut oil to seal. I know a lot of naturals use the LOC method, but the LCO method works better for me as far as keeping my hair moisturized. I use a wide-tooth comb or a denman brush to detangle and I always detangle on wet hair. I love Shea Moisture products and I will also use anything that contains all natural or organic ingredients.
10. What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
Whitney (Naptural85) is one of my favorite vloggers and MahoganyCurls is as well. I love Kinky,Curly,Coily Me website because it is very informative and kept up to date.
11. Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
I never thought that making a decision for me would also impact others. People tell me that I inspire them to go natural or to stay encouraged on their journeys. Some people recognize me while I am out and it is a great feeling to know that others look up to me in a positive way. I let everyone that I speak with who are afraid to go natural know that the decision is no one else’s but their own. We should never be afraid to be who we really are, we were conditioned to believe that our hair is subpar to everyone else’s and we have to let that mentality go. We were all created differently and that is what makes us unique. We should never be ashamed to wear our hair naturally because of what others may say, so what? Your standard of beauty is your standard, forget society and their narrow-minded views, we are beautiful just the way we were created, and just try to view yourself through God’s eyes and you will see just how beautiful you are. A lot of people wish that their hair can do what our hair does, we should love it and look at it as a gift. Stay encouraged, if going natural is what YOU really want to do then do it. Forget what others think, God thinks you are beautiful and that’s what matters. I can honestly say that going natural was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s not just about hair for me, it’s loving who I am. It has impacted me physically and spiritually and I am grateful for what I have been blessed with.
12. What are some dating experiences while natural?
Not one of my past boyfriends liked my hair while I was experimenting but my husband supported me 100% when I decided to fully go natural. When I made the decision in 2012, my husband was my boyfriend at the time and not once did I hear anything negative from him, even after I cut my hair. After a couple years is when he was honest with me and told me he hated the change at first because he was used to my long, flowing hair but it grew on him after some time. Now he never wants me to straighten my hair. I appreciate him for supporting me even though he did not like the change at first, and I appreciate the fact that he did not try to change who I was.
13. Will you teach your children to be natural?
When I have a daughter I will teach her to love who she is. Even if she decides to straighten her hair one day while older I want it to be because she wants to switch her hair up and not because she feels her hair is less than. I will teach her that she is beautiful and that society does not define her. I will never put a relaxer in my daughter’s hair and I will teach her about our hair because a lot of people are ignorant to African American hair since we have been straightening and relaxing it so much. I want my future daughter to be able to look in the mirror and love all of her because that is what she will see me doing.
14. Where can people find you for more information?
I am in the process of creating a website but for now I can be reached on Instagram @Livey_J or through email email@example.com.