How long did you transition and how long have you been natural? I’m from Los Angeles, CA. When I left California in 2002, the natural hair scene wasn’t very prominent at all. Since I’m in the military I haven’t been home in five years to note whether or not it caught on. I’m sure it has. It is Los Angeles after all. L.A. is a highly fashionable city, and natural seems to be the “in” thing as I look around. I see it more and more in magazines and videos.
How you feel about your natural hair in the beginning? Since I’ve always been natural, there was never a transition period. In 2003, when I was 18, I decided to stop getting my hair straightened. From then on I rocked cornrows, twists, the infamous TWA, and wigs from time to time. Recently, I’ve been in love with Frohawks. I’ve colored it, cut it, grew it out, cut it again — you name it. I wore my hair however I felt, and it felt good. It made me feel new. It was absolutely love at first wear! The same way I felt about my hair in the beginning is the same way I feel about it everyday. I’m very happy with it.
How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural? A lot people viewed my hair as unprofessional for the job that I do in the military. I’m a jet engine mechanic. Every once in while, the bulk of my fro gets caught on something. LOL. I caught a lot of grief from my superiors in the beginning. I heard things like, “This isn’t a fashion show. You change your hair too much.” I didn’t pay them any mind. As long as my hair stayed within regulation, being natural was perfectly legal. My friends and family were supportive. My mother especially, she was inspired to go natural the first time she saw my fro. I walked her through every step of the way, and now she’s napptural diva five years for years strong.
Has there been any differences in your life from going natural? Deciding to go totally natural, with the exception of hair color, has been very liberating. Hair can be such an issue for women. I am comfortable in my own skin, and in my own hair. It’s just so ME, and I love it, love it, love it! It was the new beginning of caring for me and accepting how I was created. It definitely helped my self-esteem.
What has been the best thing about being natural? I love that my hair is highly versatile. I love that my hair is tailored to me. I’ll never see someone wearing their natural exactly like mine. That actually goes for anybody. No one person’s hair is the same. I also don’t have to worry about getting my hair wet. I can actually enjoy a shower, or some water play during bath time. I love the way running water feels going through my kinks and coils. Last, but definitely not the least, the convenience is awesome and irreplaceable. Rinse, condition and go baby!!! That’s how I roll!!!
How do you take care of and maintain your hair? I maintain my hair by conducting at-home maintenance, as well as seeing my hair care beautician, Gaelyn. At home, I deep condition my hair once a week. I don’t put any heat on it when I’m at home, so I either condition and go, or a plait it up and pick it out. At night, I tie it up with a satin scarf. When I go see Gaelyn, I let her take care of it. She gives me a scalp scrub, shampoo’s my hair, conditions it, colors it, and then she’ll cornrow it or blow it out. That’s the only time my hair sees any type soap for hair or heat. It’s really hard to find a good hairdresser for natural hair. I’m so grateful I found her! *Kisses*
If you were stranded on a deserted island and had to choose 3 things for your hair, what are three things you would have to have for your hair and why? If I were stranded on a deserted island I’d need these items: My hair scarf so that the sand doesn’t rustle my hair. My leave-in tea tree conditioner to keep my hair clean, conditioned and moisturized. And, my a bra strap headband to keep my hair back on those days I don’t want it in my face.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural? Going natural shouldn’t be about anyone else but you. Don’t worry about what other people think because what you do with your hair is not up for discussion and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. Do what makes you happy. Don’t break under the pressure of fitting in with what’s deemed to be acceptable. Most importantly, BE PATIENT!!! Going natural is a process. It takes time to get to know your hair.
Any Last Words? Natural hair is beautiful. Be beautiful, be you. Thank you for allowing me to share my story. Peace, love, and kinks, y’all!