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Toshia // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Jan 25, 2010

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Where are you from?
T:
I am originally from Memphis, TN. but I currently live in Las Vegas, NV. I am an office manager at a busy public hospital. I also have a non-profit organization called Purple Wings where I mentor adolescent girls and try to deter them from the nightlife of Las Vegas. The sex industry is strong here, and education is not really great in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Since girls are our future and the backbone of society it’s important to uplift, encourage, and inspire them to finish school.

Tell us your hair story
T:
I started the locking process after attending a Lauryn Hill concert. I remember it so well, I settled down in my seat preparing for an outstanding show… little did I know I would emerge a bit transformed. I felt Lauryn’s power when she walked out onto that stage. She was bold, fierce, and naturally beautiful. I had never really experienced a feeling like that before. I went to the hair salon the very next day, sat in the beauticians chair and demanded that she cut off my chin length bob. She could not understand it…she almost refused to do it until I threatened to do it myself with her scissors. She did it all the while cursing.

I remember my new short do…feeling the breeze on my freshly shorn relaxed locks. I felt so free and powerful. I couldn’t wait to start getting my twists, which I did. My hair was so short the loctician had to struggle to make some twists, lol. I didn’t care.…I was ready.

Let me just say that it has been a long, transformational journey. My whole way of thinking changed. I used to be so heavy into making myself beautiful…that I never really saw myself, nor appreciated the natural beauty that I possessed. I remember purchasing a new bag of weave a week, the acrylic nails, and the colored contact lenses. The pang of emptiness I felt, the way I ran to the drugstore to purchase a new relaxer kit every two weeks. Just to make sure my edges were straight, and laying down. I was so busy trying to look beautiful on the outside that I totally forgot about the inside.

So, when I went natural…I went all the way. I stopped eating meat for about two years, I began practicing yoga, and meditation. I wanted to get in touch with myself completely. I wanted to face myself head on…I remember standing in front of a mirror that same day I got my first ultra short hair cut. No makeup, nothing, just me, myself, and I began to cry, because I had forgotten who I was. I cried because I knew deep down, I didn’t like who I was, because of low self-esteem. I cried finally because I was free of all of that.

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So, my path to Queendom didn’t come easy, there were days, I wanted to slap the weave in or don a wig. I had to endure a grandmother that called me nappy headed, who stated that NO man would ever want me the way that I looked. I had to endure racial profiling in Georgia because the police officers didn’t know if I was a woman riding down the highway with my other short haired female friends. I had salesmen follow me around the store because I guess I didn’t look right with that super short hair, and I posed some sort of threat to them in their own minds.

Your hair is gorgeous! What is your ‘lock regimen’?
T:
Now that I have mature locs the regimen is pretty simple. You see the longer the locs the more in tune you will be with your scalp. My scalp tells me when it is time to shampoo by the sensation of intense tingling or the feeling of itchiness. I usually shampoo and deep condition every 2 ½ weeks. I spray my locs with my own leave in conditioner mixture every morning. I put olive oil, or jojoba oil onto the locs whenever the need. I do not like to use products on my scalp because it causes build-up and it suffocates the scalp. So if I use products, I do so sporadically like a Aloe Vera gel, or loc butter by Carol’s Daughter to palm roll the loc and groom the frizzies.

Have you had any difficulties wearing your hair natural at work?
T:
Actually no because of the way I carry myself. You see, I am not timid in my style. I am professionally dressed in the office. My locs are always neat, and clean. I don’t leave any room for naysayers, nor discussion with my hair. I am firm, and to the point when questions are asked about my locs. Only once when I worked for a private bank in corporate was I questioned; and right then and there I handled it. No jokes, no smile, no laughter. I picked up my phone and called Human Resources. I don’t play that. No one will ever make me feel as though something is wrong with my hair.

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What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
T:
Probably the biggest mistake was the use of certain products. Steer clear of anything heavy! No petroleum, nor beeswax, too much buildup. If you do use something heavy make sure to rinse it out completely.

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
T:
I do Apple Cider rinses once a month, to rid my locs from product buildup. Also, I tie my locs up when I am lounging about, or sleeping at night. I wear some cut off stockings (laughing), because I can’t stand lint in my hair.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
T:
http://ontheroadtoqueendom.blogspot.com/
http://www.youtube.com/user/toshlac

I also have a website; www.toshiashaw.com because I have a novel entitled High Stakes, coming out in April of this year.

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aloeveranewyork
10 years ago

It’s interesting how when I went natural I began to change positively inside, my perception of life and the way I live as well…I also stopped eating meat. The food I eat, the beauty products and the cleaning supplies I use are either homemade or organic ones from the store.
Like Toshia said, going natural is empowering and liberating. I love the way I am now, the way I live. I don’t ever want to go back to being enslaved by a relaxer or dependent on any beauty products full of chemicals.

Teshyah
10 years ago

Well for my Big Chop i had to go to a male barber shop. They didnt mind doing it, infact they enjoyed it and many dudes stayed to watch me go through with it. I know my hair stylist wouldnt have done it at all. She would have probably convinced me to not go through with it. i guess its coz after I BC’d my hair she wouldnt have any more business with me. Especially after I decided to go bald and start from scratch!

jadedpoet
jadedpoet
10 years ago

Now this is a story I am feeling. Man I think I need to loc now LOL and not solely because her’s are that beautiful. 🙂

Apartmentlife
Apartmentlife
10 years ago

Your hair is beautiful, and I especially love your bangs. Never even thought to do bangs with locs.

bambiix2
bambiix2
10 years ago

lovely !

DaliSalvadorAde
10 years ago

You are such a amazingly strong woman and an amazing example. Reading your story really touched me because I too have had to deal with some serious self-esteem issues, and like you, being natural has helped me get over these ideas little by little. It continues to be a tough process, but I can say that everyday when I look into the mirror, I love what I see. So, your story is an amazing one; the way you hold and portray yourself is so strong and I love it. Btw, with these latest posts about locks, I’m really feeling tempted to… Read more »

Tia
Tia
10 years ago

No one will ever make me feel as though something is wrong with my hair.”

I love that!!!

TufferThanNigerianHair
TufferThanNigerianHair
10 years ago

Love love love ur hair!Love ur story even more!!! (=

Nikki
Nikki
10 years ago

I also loved her story, I can tell she’s such a positive person. I like how committed she is to being herself and loving herself. Going natural for me was also an effort to get to know myself as well, and it’s a long journey, but I’m on my way.

Yoshi3329
Yoshi3329
10 years ago

Good for you for calling Human Resources. You don’t have to put up with that crap.

Coffey
10 years ago

Love your locs and how versatile you are with styling them! Awesome story!

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