1. Tell me a little about yourself and your hair journey.
Hey Naturalistas! My name is Shanay. I’m 24 and I’m originally from New Orleans but I’ve been living in Houston for about 10 years now. That whole “negro and creole” thing… yeah, that’s pretty much me! 🙂
My whole life, I had always had long hair. But just like every girl growing up in the 2000s, my hair was damaged from perms and flat-ironing. I had to cut off inches of dead ends in 2008 and after that, my hair never grew back to its original length. After going off to college in 2010, I decided to never have a perm again. Although, I was going “natural” and I cut my permed ends off gradually, I continued to use heat. Being away from home made me more open to different styles. I dyed my hair multiple times, got my first set of Senegalese twists, and got my first sew-in during those days as a college student. I had experienced everything from heat damage to my edges breaking off after deciding I was done! In December of 2014 (post graduation), I threw away my flatiron. On February 17, 2015 while listening to the Wendy Williams Show on TV, I BIG CHOPPED! Since then, I’ve been a coconut oil-lover, proud wig-wearer, and the happiest Naturalista ever!
2. How long have you been natural?
Although I haven’t had a perm since November 2010, I consider my real NATURALversary February 17. So, I’ve only been natural for 1 year and 2 months.
3. What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
My brother’s girlfriend and I went to the same college in Beaumont, which is about an hour and a half away from Houston. She and I got really close because we would ride home together from school. She had just big-chopped and would tell me all about natural hair on our little road trips. She explained to me my options and that I didn’t have to cut off all my hair in order to go natural. She introduced me to the idea of transitioning and I was all for it.
4. How would you describe your hair?
I wish I could. Lol! I’m still trying to figure it out. Its really curly and doesn’t do well in humidity, at all (but whose hair does, anyway, right?) Its definitely very coarse and thick.
5. What do you love most about your hair?
I love the fact that my hair is very bushy and wild. I’m obsessed with big hair and I know it’ll be even bigger once it grows out.
6. What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
Hmm, so many memories! Lol I’d have to say my favorite and most memorable part of my journey is seeing my curls take form. I think that’s a great part of anyone’s journey. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or finally seeing what it is that you have been working so hard for. Natural hair is not easy. It takes time, sacrifice, and patience. So to see my hair grow out, kinky and coily just the way that God made it, was really a beautiful experience.
7. What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’
Definitely my wigs!!! I can leave my hair in braids underneath and still be Beyonce’ on top. Lol I love it. I like to change my hair a lot and I can’t commit to one hairstyle for a long time. I also like being able to see and feel my natural hair. So, the fact that I can wear a wig to work and come home and take it off is fabulous!
When I’m not wearing a wig, I love wearing my halo braid. Its fast, easy, and always cute.
8. What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I remember telling my brother my plans to BC and he was like “oh no, your head is way too big!” (This meant a lot because he had been teasing me about my large head since I first made an appearance on this Earth!) Lol! Also, my mom said that it was too much work and that I needed to just get a perm. Then, she saw how my curls really started to form and shortly after, she decided to stop getting perms, too 😉
9. What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I use all Shea Moisture products on my hair, I can’t live without my coconut oil, and I love braiding my hair to the scalp as a protective style. I deep condition every week or so. I use 1 banana, mayonnaise, and 1 egg to make a homemade, hair masque. This combo leaves my hair super soft and my curls extra defined. It reealllyyy works for me! You guys should try it!
10. What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
Sunkiss Alba and Mahoghany Curls greatly influenced me to embrace my natural. I’ve been watching their YouTube channels throughout my journey. It was great to see them in the new Shea Moisture commercial, btw! Also, Alba has a great video on heat damage that really helped me deal with my struggle.
11. Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Not everyone’s going to like your hair. Not everyone’s going to agree with your transition. Who cares?! Being natural is one of the most beautiful experiences you could ever go through. Almost everyone in the natural hair community is friendly, informative, and supportive. Never let someone make you feel bad about your natural hair. Your hair is probably one of the most unique things about you. Learn to love it, learn to take care of it, and learn to accept yourself just the way that God made you. Protect your crown, queen!
12. Where can people find you for more information?
Y’all can follow me on Instagram!!! I have a personal page: @MissLovely.Nay and my new page dedicated to my hair: @MissLovely.Hair. I created my hair page for natural hair ideas, inspiration, and a way to document everything I’ve been through. Helping other people embrace their natural is really important to me. Follow me today!