Q. Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
A. I am originally from Northern New Jersey (in the suburbs) where the natural scene could be considered non-existent.
I currently reside in Southern New Jersey, which is close to Philadelphia and the natural scene here is definitely growing. I must admit I didn’t notice women with natural hair, until I made the decision to go natural myself. Now it seems every other person I come across is natural and I can honestly say that I absolutely love being part of the natural hair family!
Q. Did you transition to natural hair? If so, what were your experiences?
A. I transitioned for six months and my hair has been natural now for the past eight months.
My experiences weren’t too challenging in the beginning, since I wore a shorter hairstyle with my previously relaxed hair. Really after some trial and error I finally figured out my hair and it was fierce! I have extremely thick hair and the two different textures tangled very easily, so I spent a lot of time conditioning to ease the tangles and style.
I had planned on transitioning for one year, however after washing my hair (during the sixth month) it became severely tangled, so at that point I decided to chop it off.
Q. Did you have any support?
A. I had the support that I needed from God & myself. Some of my family members were supportive, since a few of them were already natural and my kids were super supportive as always. I did encounter a little negative reaction, but I didn’t let it hurt me for too long.
My mental thought process had been maturing and part of it was embracing exactly how God created me. At this point, I began to appreciate just how creative God was to make me the way I am; and it prepared me to release my hair from hiding.
A. I love the freedom I now have! It’s nice to be able to wake up, wash my hair and go! Not to mention, it’s wonderful not to be afraid of humidity and rain. Depending on the hairstyle, it only takes me about 10 -15 minutes to do my hair.
When working out, I no longer have to worry about how much my scalp sweats when exercising, since I can wash my hair everyday.
Q. How do you maintain your hair daily?
A. 1. In the morning, I spritz my hair and hands with water mixed with leave-in conditioner before I even touch my hair to prevent frizzing and then I style.
Also, I keep the products natural and to a minimum as to not weigh down my hair and scalp. Lastly, I love BIG hair and that is another reason I limit hair products because excessive gels and creams etc. weighs my hair down. (Hey I’m from Jersey, we love BIG hair…lol).
Q. What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
A. First understand and embrace self acceptance and love through God completely. If you can accomplish this it will make it that much easier to make the transition to what was intended for you to be…the original, authentic you! In my opinion your hair is another representation of God’s creativity!
Second, I’d recommend you surround yourself with people who are supportive of your decision. Also speak with those who are natural, chances are they have been down the same road and you could learn how to care for your hair in it’s natural state.
Be patient! If you’ve been relaxing your hair for years, then you’ve been trained hon how to take care of your hair and style it in that form. Natural hair and care will take time for you get use to and manage. Trust me you’ll get there!
Websites such as MotownGirl, Fotki and YouTube are great for women at every stage of natural hair to assist and encourage you.
Research information such as styles and products but most importantly try to embrace your hair texture. Once you learn about your hair through trial and error, you’ll find a routine that works for you — so stick with it!
Q. Any final thoughts?
A. Please remember that natural hair is manageable, it does grow (just in a more direct direction). It is also soft, and just as beautiful and luxurious as having relaxed and or straightened hair.