Where do you live?
Sanford, NC; the heart of Carolina, halfway between Raleigh and Fayetteville
I hale from the Emerald Coast of the Florida Panhandle and I can't let that allegiance go!
Why did you decide to go natural?
I decided to go natural because I had lived the majority of my life being controlled by the texture of my hair. I was finally fed up with the amount of emphasis and time that had been concentrated on getting my hair to be bone straight or the way that I thought others would accept it (me). I rarely achieved the results I desired and I absolutely could not stand the type of treatment I received at the hair salons. I did not want to spend hours on end waiting for someone to damage my hair with chemicals and heat and improper care. I could not afford these treatments routinely as suggested by the stylists and I ended up with damaged and dull hair because I did not know how to take care of it properly. One day my frustration came to culmination when I saw a picture of a beautiful woman with natural hair in a magazine. It was long and luxurious, full and vibrant. I lusted after it and I started searching for anything I could find about natural hair care. I became obsessed and began to despise my relaxed texture and it's limpness even more. I had to find out what my hair was really like. After about 7 months of no relaxer, my hair became tangled in a big knot at the line of demarcation and I had to cut it out. I couldn't cope with losing so much length at once, it was a real emotional time for me. I held on to some of the relaxed texture for about 5 months and then I let it go so that I could be free! I was experiencing spiritual/ soulful enlightenment that led me to seek physical enlightenment as well! I needed to accept myself in it's natural manifestation.
Were your friends and family supportive of your decision? If not, how were you able to move forward?
I must say that I wasn't looking for support in my decision to go natural from my family or my friends on this second attempt to go natural. I simply wanted general acceptance of my decision and not to be hassled about my decision. I already knew going in that I wasn't going to find support because the use of chemicals was the norm in my family and no one had dealt with anything differently for generations. There was a time in college when I had tried going natural and cultivated dread locs until they were teenagers and almost shoulder length; I battled with constant opposition to my decision then and caved in under all of the negative comments. This time around I had to do this tenaciously, invincibly and totally for my own well being.
How long have you been natural for?
I have not had any chemicals put on my hair since November 2008. I did a big chop in June 2009 and a second big chop in November 2009. I have been completely natural for about 9 months.
What’s your regimen?
I am still working on establishing a good solid regimen that I can recommend to others with my utmost guarantee of success. I am still working through trial and error. It is usual for me to primarily co-wash every other day. I am currently trying different homemade deep conditioning recipes that I plan to use routinely every two weeks. When I need to use a styling aid such as Eco styler gel or curl definition cream I will follow up with a clarifying shampoo and rinse conditioner. For the past few months, I've been using Teri LaFlesh's Tightly Curly Method.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
I've learned that my hair requires lots and lots of moisture and if I don't provide it my hair will break. I must drink plenty of water and quench it's thirst from the inside as well as out. You are indeed what you eat and my diet must be healthy with lots of fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Stay away from any products that contain alcohol. I've learned not to apply too much heat when I am flat ironing and to thoroughly condition before doing so or my hair will show signs of heat damage and lose it's curl pattern on the ends. I've learned that I need to be extra gentle and NEVER try to detangle my hair when it is dry.
What has been your favourite product?
I've grown very fond of Tresemme Flawless Curls Vitamin b1 Curl Moisturizing for curly or wavy hair conditioner. I use it daily to follow the tightly curly method. It is not expensive at about $4 for 32oz.
I love the smell and texture of Fantasia ic Shea Butter Oil Moisturizer and I run it over my hair when I only have time in the morning to spray mist and run.
What is your ‘SIGNATURE’ style?
My signature style is the wash and go. I put it back in a head band and let it be.
What has been your biggest challenge during your hair journey? And how did you overcome this challenge in your journey?
The biggest challenge during my hair journey has been fighting the urge to try every product that I can get my hands on for curly hair. I have become a product junky. I am starting to overcome this challenge because I realize that I am wasting money and creating clutter. I stick to trying products that are fully natural in their ingredients. I don't necessarily need any products that define curls because my curls are already lovely and I am beginning to fully accept that fact. The challenge that I am facing now is learning how to create different styles that are suitable to the current length that I have without the use of heat.
What is your ultimate hair goal? What steps are you taking to achieve that?
My ultimate hair goal is to achieve healthy, full, luxurious length. By using the "less is more" frame of my mind I believe that I can achieve this goal. I will begin to learn how to use protective styling to maintain the ends of my hair, which is where I need to focus.
Are there any words of encouragement/advice you would like to offer to those that are considering going natural?
I would love to let everyone know that you must change your state of mind to totally accept the natural state that you are considering. Every natural is different and your hair is your hair and yours will not look like someone else. I would advise not to get caught up in hair typing and believe that your hair is not beautiful just because it isn't the same type as someone else. It is absolutely imperative to know that going natural is not an easy or simple feat. Once you are totally natural however you will feel a sense of freedom and liberation that you never would have thought possible. It is an exhilarating experience. As with all challenges in life, you will face your highs and lows, but with steadfastness and finding inspiration in others you will succeed. Going natural is a continual and fulfilling learning experience about your hair and your soul.
What does 'good' hair means to you?
Good hair means healthy hair that is well maintained and flourishes in its crowning glory.