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Brandi // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Mar 16, 2010

Where do you live? Where you reppin’?
B:
I was born and raised in the Valley (Los Angeles). I currently work for a non-profit that focuses on closing achievement gaps in education.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
B:
I’ve been natural most of my life, but only recently decided to embrace my natural texture. I wore braids or pressed until senior year of high school, when I relaxed because I wanted long, smooth hair for prom.

My hair, which had always been a decent length and pretty thick, immediately started breaking, so I went back to braids and pressing, and transitioned without much thought. When I graduated from college and moved back to LA I began to experiment with weaves. I never really considered wearing my hair without covering or straightening it until I realized the damage I was doing. I eventually had to ask myself why I was spending hundreds of dollars at a time just to cover up and damage the beautiful, God-given hair that was growing out of my scalp. The honest answer was that I didn’t think my hair was beautiful as is; I wanted to fit in/compete with the droves of long haired, video vixen look-a-likes running around Los Angeles, and I was too lazy and afraid to face the unknown. I knew what I had to do.

I made the decision to transition pretty abruptly in May of 2009. I hadn’t seen my hair in a while, so after taking out my weave, I decided to get it straightened just to check in and see how my hair was doing. I was impressed with the length I’d gained, but was surprised and dismayed by the damage. While searching online for alternatives, I came across this and other natural hair sites and was so inspired I decided to go for it. That week I got 4 inches of heat damage cut, and haven’t straightened since.

In what ways has going natural affected your life?
B:
Learning to nurture and style my natural hair has definitely taught me patience and flexibility. It has also forced me to deal with my self esteem issues head on. If I didn’t learn to banish negativity and stop being concerned about the perceptions of others, I would have only lasted a couple days, tops.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
B:
One mistake I made early and often was following the regimens of naturals with a different hair type and being confused when my hair looked and felt like poo. I also made the mistake of experimenting with different products and styles right before work or major events, which lead to a lot of stress and frustration.

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
B:
Protective styling and staying away from heat has dramatically improved my hair. I also think avoiding ingredients like mineral oil, petroleum and sulfates has helped as well. I love steam treatments and henna for conditioning and shine.

What do you use in your hair?
B:
I co-wash weekly with Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner, and follow each co-wash with a deep treatment of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose mixed with olive oil, and an apple cider vinegar rinse. For daily styling/moisture, I use aloe vera gel or Lustrasilk Shea Mango sealed with castor oil.

What is one of your favorite styles?
B:
Most of my styles involve braidouts and a lot of hair pins. This one started with a braid out done with Lustrasilk and sealed with castor oil. I did about 15 small twists on my crown, then pinned them into a small pomp. Then I pinned up the sides. It usually starts out with the ends pinned up into a bun to keep it neat for my early morning meetings, but is usually loose by the end of the day.

How does your hair express who you are?
B:
My hair expresses the person I am striving to be – comfortable with and proud of the features unique to me, confident, and self aware. I think natural hair often indicates a deeper knowledge and acceptance of self, now I’m working to align the inside with the outside.

What’s the best thing about being natural?
B:
My little sister also started wearing her hair naturally shortly after I did (she’s in the 8th grade…and so fearless and fly!), and being able to learn about our hair together has been a great bonding experience.

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Jnappygirl
10 years ago

Beautiful hair 🙂

MsProverbs31
10 years ago

I love your response to the “mistakes” question!
Your hair is beautiful and so are you! I would love to see your sister’s hair. It’s a rare find, a confident young lady wearing your natural hair, esp. at a shorter length.
So kudos to you both!

Oh and what’s a :STEAM TREATMENT”? I never heard of that!

Nickie Dee
Nickie Dee
10 years ago

Her skin is lovely…

Shones
10 years ago

That twisted pomp is so cute… i look forward to trying that as my hair grows out (again). I also like the comment you made about no longer following the regimens of naturals with different hair types. Some of it works, but plenty of it doesn’t, and we have to be realistic about where we are. Lately I’ve come to a greater appreciation for my 4a/b texture. I watched a YouTube vid recently of a woman said she couldn’t achieve a good twist out because of her texture (loose, rather than tight coils/curls). The results looked lovely on her, IMO, but… Read more »

Nisus
10 years ago

Love how shiny and thick your hair looks. Very pretty! (and creative styles too!)

vonnie
10 years ago

lovely mane 🙂 sounds like a good regimen too, healthy products and it’s obviously working well! keep itup

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Paris
Paris
10 years ago

Beautiful hair. I love the thickness of it!

kindredb
kindredb
10 years ago

Your hair looks absolutely LUSCIOUS, Brandi!

revolution girl
10 years ago

looooove her hair, looks similar to my hair type.

Brit
Brit
10 years ago

very nice! i’m going to try this style. and she looks a little like letoya luckett, but not as cookie cutter. 🙂

savvybrown
10 years ago

GAWJUS!! Thanks for tutorial too! I’m gonna try this one!

-savvy
http://savvybrownblog

thelady
thelady
10 years ago

love your up do

Gem
Gem
10 years ago

Beautiful!

lina40
10 years ago

oweee this is a fly hairstyle! I will def have to try this in the summer when i have my hair twisted.. Gorgeous hair too!

Danielle
Danielle
10 years ago

Oh it’s so good to see an Angelino with natural hair! I’m tired of the long horrible weaves and horrible hair clips. I would never go back.

mo
mo
10 years ago

I was really touched by this interview. The candor is really amazing. These lines, especially, spoke to me: “It has also forced me to deal with my self esteem issues head on. [I had to learn] to banish negativity and stop being concerned about the perceptions of others.” I can definitely relate b/c my journey has also included self-esteem and rewiring my own beauty perceptions as they pertain to me. I’m still a work in progress but seeing another natural relate is truly a help and a blessing. Thank you BGLH for bringing this to us/me. And, thank you Brandi… Read more »

Brandi
Brandi
10 years ago

(a diff Brandi, not the interviewee)

So much of this resonates with me. Truthfully once I put a weave in my hair I can reflect a lot of perceptions that serve me well: clean cut student, video vixen hotness, — all as defined by someone else. Definitions that I neither create nor inform. When I don’t get positive feedback for being just as fierce in my natural state it can be demoralizing. So I know exactly what you mean when you say you have to stop being concerned about the perceptions of others. It’s a worthy journey indeed.

BlackOnyx03
BlackOnyx03
9 years ago
Reply to  Brandi

+1

Pretty Ebony Swag
Pretty Ebony Swag
10 years ago

Nice look!!

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