Where are you from and how is the natural scene there?
I am from Long Island, New York and I attend college in Philadelphia. The natural scene in New York has definitely picked up a lot within the past two years and in Philadelphia I see naturals everyday. Either women are transitioning, getting their hair pressed or their hair is completely in it’s natural state.
How long did you transition and how long have you been natural?
My last relaxer was in september 2005. I started to count my transitioning stage from November 2005 and I cut the rest of the relaxed ends in august 2006, about 9 months I transitioned my hair back to it’s natural state. I have been natural on November 15 for 3 months!
How you feel about your natural hair in the beginning?
In the beginning I was nervous. I thought my hair was short because of shrinkage, when in reality my hair was almost to the bottom of my neck! I was surprise the first time I straightened my hair and the first time I rocked a Blow Out – I had so much hair! So after that, I grew more comfy and I also received a lot of compliments.
How much support did you receive when you decided to go natural?
When I decided to go natural I received support from friends that were already natural, but some of my girlfriends that relaxed their hair were disappointed and thought that I couldn’t deal with my nappy hair and would eventually go back to relaxers. I was kind of upset but I realized that that their mind set was completely different from mine and I cant blame them for being brainwashed by the society we live in. My boyfriend surprisingly was very supportive, he wanted me to be happy and to love myself just as much as he loved me.
My mother was a little surprised at first, but a long time ago she used to press her hair so she became really supportive. and believe it or not my co workers, who are not of african american background begged me to do wear my natural hair and to be different, so I really felt the support from all these individuals and it made my decision a lot easier.
Has there been any differences in your life from going natural?
Yes there has been a difference in my life. I now value my education of African Americans in more depth. I am more confident in myself and the healthiness of my hair. I am more proud of being different, I don’t like to look like everyone else now, I’m not afraid to stand out like I used to be. It seemed like apart of me was missing, and I think I found it…it was self-love and knowledge.
What has been the best thing about being natural?
The best thing about being natural is realizing why God made me the way I am. There is a reason why braids, locs, twist, afros, puffs, even presses looks so good on black hair. We are blessed with texture that is not limp and straight, I can do any style with my hair it will look great. Why is it so great? its great because God gave it to me.
How do you take care of and maintain your hair?
Well because of swimming I must condition my hair a lot, so that it wont break. I was learning what products work best for my hair, and I found that Elucence Moisture Benefit Shampoo is excellent. I condition with Giovanni products (all natural from GNC), and I use Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner as well. I use styling aids also: Fantasia IC gel, Curl’s Whipped Cream, Blended Beauty Happy Nappy Styles, there are more but those are just a few I recommend. I wear my hair in puffs a lot because its easiest when I’m rushing to class and I have also tried twist which I do love, I cant wait for my swim class to be over to wear them more often :D.
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?
I would choose olive oil, mayonnaise and Water. I think olive oil is essentially the best for my hair, mayonnaise would be a great conditioner and water because I need moisture for my hair!
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of going natural?
Do not think or worry about what others think of you. The choice of change that your making is a positive one so maybe talking to positive people about your decision instead of negative people because they may discourage you about going natural. Going on natural websites such as Motowngirl, Nappturality or even looking hair journals of women who made the same decision your thinking about making, does have a difference because trust me you are not alone is the “big” decision. Also, research what relaxers really are and see the reason why women wanted them in the past.
Lastly, when you notice the same women who degrades natural hair for black women; has the same unhealthy hair and the same length, you have to question, why must your hair look so lifeless like theirs?
I am happy that I decided to let go of the chemicals, because I realize that I have to take care of my hair, not the chemicals take care of me! Thank you MotownGirl for the time. Peace Sistas!