What is your name?
How long have you been natural?
I have been transitioning for almost 8 months now.
If you could dedicate one song to your hair, what would it be?
A song for my hair and hair journey would be “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child.
What method did you use to go natural (gradually grew out relaxer, big chop, etc)?
Initially I chose to gradually grow out my relaxer; however, it became difficult to manage the 2 different textures without applying lots and lots of heat on a daily basis, which is not healthy for my natural hair. Also, after much research and reading about other people’s natural hair journeys, there seems to be a general consensus that your natural hair will grow faster without the damaged relaxed ends. So, I’ve decided that on my birthday, in two weeks, I am going to BC. I feel like I owe it to my hair to set it free!
What has been the feedback from your family, friends, and strangers?
Generally the feedback from family, friends, and coworkers has been pretty positive. The only one I’m having trouble with is my mother. At first she said, “You just don’t look like yourself.” My rebuttal was, “This “new me” is the real me. That other chick was just someone I put on to go to work.” Mother is coming around though. My sister (who is relaxed) is proud of me and will be going with me to the salon when I BC. My dad is a little confused, but supportive. My Caucasian coworkers are fascinated and always want to touch my hair and ask lots of questions. I have found that most of them have no clue that most African American women don’t have naturally straight hair because they mostly see us with relaxed hair. Needless to say there has been several long educational black hair chats at the water cooler.
What are your hair goals?
My hair goal is to grow my hair down to waist length. There is a common misconception that Black women cannot grow long healthy hair. I want other African Americans to see that we can, in fact, grow and maintain long hair. I hope to also be an inspiration to little girls who have been brainwashed by society (and their busy mothers who relax the hair because they don’t have time to nurture their natural hair) to believe that relaxed hair is “better” than their natural, beautiful, coily locks of hair.
What is your current hair routine?
For the last 2 weeks I have been transitioning with Kinky Twists. My goal was to keep them in for a month but I’m not sure if I can make it that long. I just want to be free!! Before the Twists, my hair routine was as follows: Wash day is Friday. I use Cantu Shea Butter Shampoo and rinse out Conditioner. Before I put on the conditioner, I also add odorless garlic gel to my roots to help prevent excessive shedding. I place a shower cap on and usually leave the conditioner and garlic in for at least 20 minutes before rinsing. Then I do a hot oil treatment with either castor oil or coconut oil. I put a shower cap on and let the oil sit for 30 minutes, then I rinse, but not too much because I want some of the oil to stay in my hair. The last step before I style is a homemade leave-in conditioner that is properly PH balanced for hair. The protective style that I have chosen to transition with is a Bantu Knot-Out. It is quick and easy and gives the illusion of a fully natural kinky head of hair. (So I cheated a little….Big deal!)
What are some struggles that you have with your hair?
The main struggle I have with my hair is thinning in the front and near the crown area. I actually have a dime sized bald spot on the top of my head that I didn’t know I had until I got braids. This is unacceptable people!! This smooth little patch makes me even more determined to BC ASAP! As far as styling, I have found that my relaxed ends take longer to air dry than my natural roots. That sort of puts a kink (pun intended) in my plans in the morning when I undo my Bantu Knots to reveal damp limp ends. Solution: sit under the hair dryer for a while instead of air drying completely.
Who is your hair muse (the person you refer to for hair inspiration)?
My hair muse is a young woman on YouTube who calls herself KimmayTube. She grew her hair waist length. If she can do it, so can I! Another hair muse is a good friend of mine from college. Her shoulder length hair is simply beautiful and all natural. We have the same texture hair and she always wears the cutest styles!
What are your favorite hair products and techniques?
Since I am transitioning and am not fully natural I haven’t had a full-on product trial and error period. So far I’ve only used the Cantu Shea Butter Products. However, once I BC I will try the Giovanni products and will no long be using a sulfate based shampoo. I have learned a lot about the importance of using PH balanced products so once I start my full fledge product experimenting I will purchase PH strips and be sure to test products for proper PH levels before I use them on my hair.
What advice would you give to those who are or wish to transition to natural hair?
Do your RESEARCH! YouTube is the greatest, free, natural hair resource out there. It’s a great tool to learn from other people’s mistakes and successes.
The 3 main ingredients for successful natural hair growth and maintaining length are Moisture, Protective Styling, and PATIENCE! It is a journey, remember that.
LISTEN to your hair! Pay close attention to your hair like never before. It will tell you what it needs, and when it does, research and find the best solution.
What goes in your mouth comes out of the top of your head! Learn about what foods are good for healthy hair growth.