Where are you from?
R: Originally, I am from Chicago, but I’ve been a Southern California girl for many years now. I have my teaching credentials, so I am currently substitute teaching and running an online vintage shop on Etsy, which I adore! I will also be getting into handmade ventures soon and I can’t wait.
When did you go natural?
R: Remember back in 1996 when Maxwell was new to the scene and the whole neo-soul movement started? Well, I was so onboard with that! I went natural right around that time. I was just a sophomore in high school, so looking back, that was a pretty bold move! I was fearless and didn’t care what people thought. It was so liberating!
Was it difficult at all?
R: It wasn’t difficult for me. It was spontaneous, really, and I wore that little TWA (teeny weeny afro) proudly. My mom always supported my decision, although, she would never part with her relaxer! Believe me, I’ve tried for many years to get her back to her roots. But, being natural isn’t for everyone and I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about wearing weaves, relaxers or whatever. I have gone back and forth for many years between wearing my natural texture and wearing my hair straight (flat ironed). It’s all about options.
I’ve never experienced any negative reactions at work. In fact, people comment all the time about how pretty it is. I get love from black and white people.
What do you like about being natural?
R: I love being able to stand out from the crowd. I guess that’s why I like vintage clothes too, because I don’t like to look like everybody else. I feel like my “true self” with my natural hair.
R: I use some Aveda products, mostly things from their Brilliant line, which is for curly and coarse textures. I like coconut oil sometimes. Recently, I discovered Carol’s Daughter Tui Hair Smoothie, which I adore. You can literally run your fingers through your hair after you condition with it! It gets rid of all those tangles and knots when you wash your hair. Also, I swear by Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme! This stuff has never let me down. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but a little goes a long way and in the long run, it’s cheaper than constantly trying new products.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
R: Well, I’ve switched from curly to straight styles alot throughout the years. Heat damage is real and it sucks! When you have it, it’s just like having relaxed hair because your hair no longer reverts back to its natural texture. So, you have to cut the hair off and move on. I’m dealing with this right now 🙁
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
R: Keeping my regimen simple. So many women have these long, complicated regimens and it makes me tired just reading about it! I’m not saying that it doesn’t work, but for me, less is better.
Can you give a tutorial for one of your favorite styles?
R: The twist out is probably as simple as it gets:
Blow dry until your hair is about 75% dry
Two-strand twist your hair (using a leave in conditioner) in small-medium sections, depending on how full you want the end result to look
In the morning (or several days later), unravel your twists and fluff a bit with your fingers and you are set!
What is your wish for all black women?
R: I just wish more of us would be willing to let go of the fear and try embracing our natural selves. I just know that there is nothing like owning your God-given beauty. It makes you appreciate your other unique qualities so much more.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
R: Yes, ma’am..I’m on FOTKI at http://members.fotki.com/brownsugarbetty/about/
Also, check out my Etsy shop, Lady80Vintage at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Lady80
I will also be offering handmade goodies soon (hair accessories, jewelry), so check back and bookmark me!