Q. Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
A. When I was growing up in Palo Alto, California, most of the black girls wore relaxers, braids, or extensions. I now live in the East Bay of California, where natural hair is much more common.
Q. Did you transition to natural hair? If so, what were your experiences?
A. I transitioned from a relaxer back in 2000. I simply got tired of relying on someone else to do my hair, along with praying that it would come out ‘right.’ So I just let the chemically altered hair grow out, while I wore my hair back in buns or ponytails.
Q. Did you have any support?
A. My support came primarily from reading books that pertained to natural hair. I read Lonnice Brittenum Bonner’s hilarious and informative Good Hair: “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Weaves When the Chemicals Became Too Ruff.” I sought advice from real-life natural beauties, from whom I learned invaluable tips. Lastly I cut out photos from magazines that showed beautiful, natural hair and displayed them around my room.
Q. In your opinion, what has been some of the best things about having natural hair?
A. The best thing about being natural is the confidence I have gained from being who I truly am. No longer do I feel trapped in someone else’s idea of beauty. Now I can “wash ‘n go” – and look great! In the past I really used to envy about other hair types – not anymore!.
Q. What is your weekly hair routine?
A. I maintain my hair by washing with Suave Humectant shampoo once a week, followed by the same brand conditioner. I comb my hair in the shower while it is wet and soaked with conditioner. Then I rinse out and apply the MotownGirl’s homemade leave-in conditioner. Then I shake and let my hair air-dry. During the rest of the week, I wet my hair each morning and rub in my leave-in. I put a little gel at the roots and brush to smooth my hairline, and then pull it into a pony puff. Sometimes after putting in the leave-in, I shake my hair and wear a “wash ‘n go” with a headband or barrettes.
Q. What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
A: My advice for someone who is thinking of going natural is to DO IT! You know that relaxers and weaves are not the real you. Really you must have the courage and faith to believe that, your hair is beautiful. After all God made it, and it is only certain people who have convinced us that it needs to be altered. Surround yourself with photos, books, and people that validate natural hairstyles. Remind yourself that “nappy” is a word that only exists because straight hair is the “norm.” You will feel free and genuine, and you will see a whole new type of beauty in yourself.