Q: Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
A: I’m in the USA and located in the Midwest. I’ve been seeing a lot more naturals for the past few years, but the vast majority of Black women living here straighten their hair and/or have weaves.I think very few women wear their real hair these days.
Q: Did you transition to natural hair? If so, what were your experiences?
A: I’ve been fully natural for a little over a year now. I transitioned for three years, from 2006-2009. The first year of my transition, I wore my hair straight (flat ironed). By the second year of my transition I was wearing wash and goes.
The relaxed ends really weighed down on my natural hair giving it more of a wavy appearance. So blending the two textures weren’t difficult.
During that time, I experimented with different hair products and learned a lot about my hair’s likes and dislikes. By 2009, the relaxed ends were so damaged that they started to shred and broke very easily. That’s when I knew it was time to get the last of the relaxed ends cut off.
A: During my transition I didn’t really tell many people what I intended to do and I don’t think many people noticed either. My parents were accepting of my decision but preferred me with straight hair. I was my main support system and looked to no one else. I found visiting natural hair websites such as this one very encouraging during my transition.
Q: In your opinion, what has been some of the best things about having natural hair?
A: No longer having to spend hours at the salon getting my hair down, not having to worry about getting my hair wet or sweating. Plus, being able to take care of my own hair and not have to rely on some else is so convenient. I enjoy the sense of freedom I get from being natural.
Q: What is your weekly hair routine?
A: My hair care regimen is super simple.
I used to co-wash daily, but not anymore. I just don’t like walking around with wet hair. Now I’m down to washing 1-2 times a week (usually 1 time a week).
Here’s how I wash:
1) I get into the shower and thoroughly wet my hair. I have to wet in sections and spread the layers of hair apart just to make sure it’s all saturated through and that my scalp gets wet too.
2) After I’m done wetting my hair I use a little bit of conditioner (or sometimes just use water) and scrub my scalp with the pads of my fingers as if I’m shampooing. I shampoo my hair this way also.
3) Then I thoroughly rinse my hair again.
4) Finally I finger comb more conditioner in my hair with my hair divided into about 3-4 sections. I use a good handful of conditioner for each section and I don’t rinse any of it out.
5) I then clip my hair up and finish showering. I let my hair air dry in an updo, braid, bun, etc.
6). Sometimes during the cooler months after completing my co/water wash as described above, I will smooth a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) over my hair concentrating on the ends after I get out of the shower.
Since I’m cone free and don’t use any other products, I find that I rarely have to shampoo. I’m actually more likely to shampoo during the cooler months since I use EVOO and EVOO is a heavy oil. I don’t have a set schedule for when I shampoo. I just play it by ear; if my hair feels drier than usual and feels as if it has buildup, which isn’t very often, then I shampoo. I try to stick to using shampoos that are sulfate free. But my hair hates shampoo, so most shampoos are drying to my hair regardless of ingredients.
I don’t moisturize or use anything else in between washing. I sleep wild though so if my hair becomes very frizzy in between washings I will take a very little bit of conditioner in my hands, dilute it with water, and smooth it over my hair to eliminate frizz. I only do this about 1-2 times in between washes if any.
I trim as needed. About once or twice a year and I usually get about 1-2 inches off or just a dusting if that’s all that’s needed. The only conditioner that I’m using now both to wash and as a leave in is Giovanni because it’s cone free. Cones make my hair take longer to dry and makes it more likely to tangle so I try to avoid them. The Giovanni conditioners I’m using are 50:50 Balanced Hydrating Calming conditioner and the Smooth as Silk Deeper Moisture conditioner. All of the Giovanni conditioners work the same for me. I just read the label to make sure that no cones are included.
I never use gels, mousse, or any other stylers because they all dry my hair out terribly. Less is more for me and the simpler the regimen the better. This has helped me grow my hair out to about pants pocket length—- the longest it’s ever been in my life.
Q: What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
A: The need to wear your hair natural should come from within and wearing your hair in its natural state should be enjoyable. You shouldn’t feel forced to go natural. Also, expect for some people not to like your hair. Unfortunately in this society straight hair is looked upon more favorably.
Q: Do you have any final thoughts?
A: I also have a blog that goes into detail about my natural hair journey and transition at http://jupitermoonstarr.blogspot.com.
Happy hair growing everyone!