Q. Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
A. I’m from Long Beach, California just outside of Los Angeles. The natural hair scene really hasn’t taken off out here, with the exception of a few loc wearers. Most folks wear relaxers, lots of multi-colored braid extensions, and the ubiquitous weave. I wish the people who live here would embrace the natural life.
Q. Did you transition to natural hair? If so, what were your experiences?
A. When you’ve worn nearly every hairstyle trend under the sun from blonde to bald you don’t transition. LOL! I took my braids down one day looked at the area that alopecia was taking over and said forget it. I snapped up the scissors and redeemed myself. That was nearly 4 years ago.
In the beginning, like most, I was afraid. I didn’t know what to expect, so I kept my fingers crossed and hoped that I would have the texture of hair that was curly and springy. Needless to say, I didn’t get my wish. I got something better – tiny cottony coils.
Q. Did you have any support?
A. With the exception of a few sites (MotownGirl being one) I didn’t get any. People thought I was crazy and I was told that I would never get another job, another man, etc. – none of which has been true.
Q. Has there been any differences in your life after going natural?
A. I’m more genuine and authentic and less superficial. It truly does trickle down from the head first. I’m more informed and less timid/more relaxed.
A. Being natural made me learn to accept myself and honor the fearfully and wonderfully made work of God’s hands.
When I first became natural my whole life seemed to be changing. I started to pursue my dreams. I became a student, re-discovered my creativity, started a business, and lost 30 pounds. Going natural came at a time where I needed to start living again.
Q. If you were stranded on a deserted island and had to choose three items for your hair, what are three things you would have to have for your hair and why?
A. Pure water or rosewater, castor oil/coconut oil, and a good moisturizing conditioner.
Q. How do you maintain your hair?
A. Since September 2007, I have been doing the Crown & Glory Technique. I haven’t been as consistent as I would like (wearing my hair free), but it is effective. When my hair is down, I do the following: at the beginning of a week usually on a Monday: Condition Wash and deep condition with a blend of oils (castor, cocoa butter, coconut), honey, and conditioner. I sit under my warming cap for about 45 minute. Friday: I shampoo and deep condition with the oil mixture and avocado.
Once I month I do a henna treatment and two weeks later, I do a Bentonite Clay Mask instead of shampooing followed by a quick conditioning. For my leave-in I use a combination of Mixed Chicks Leave-In conditioner, Infusium 23, and Biosilk Silk Therapy. I then let it air-dry and then set in a bun, twists for a curly set or put in braid extensions for protection. My hair loves this routine!
Q. What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
1. As with everything in your life, ask yourself why you want to do this. Truly delve deep into yourself and look around. Going natural was the best thing for me, as it promoted my health, improved my self-esteem, and re-ignited a fire inside of me.
2. Don’t make a decision solely based on something being faddish or because you like a certain style (hoping you’ll have a loose silky curly texture). Make a commitment to YOU as a whole, because if you’re committed, when the naysayers come — it won’t affect you!
3. Become informed! Read up on hair and haircare, as if you were studying to become a stylist yourself. Learn about products, ingredients, and styling tools. If need be, I would recommed finding a good natural stylist in your area and pick their brain. The more informed you are about haircare, the less foolishness you will fall for (RIO anybody?) and the more money you will save on useless products that don’t work for your hair.
4. Start now by widening your definition of beauty. Add people with hair similar to yours to your beauty ideal. Create a look book or online album to inspire yourself and keep you motivated.
5. Join a supportive network. Some good online sites are MotownGirl, Nappturality, Long Hair Care Forum, etc. But don’t just stop there. You need a supportive network for your life in general. Hair is only a small part of it. If your spirit is content then your hair will be beautiful.
6. Remember it’s your hair! If you are committed to a healthy you and healthy hair, then the occasional pressing, flat-ironing, etc. should be fine. It’s your hair! Don’t become re-imprisoned by other peoples ideas about what you should do to your hair.
7. Just do it! Hair does grow back.