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Ayesha // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Apr 30, 2010

I had to ask myself why I was in my 20s and had never seen my natural hair. It made me examine the ways I had assimilated into some mold I COULD NEVER fit.

Click here for a picture of Ayesha’s fabulous parents, who were featured in our vintage natural series Wednesday.

Where do you live?
A:
I live in Chattanooga Tennessee. It’s one of those towns that’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there. The landscape is really beautiful, we have an interesting art scene that is booming right now, and we are steadily working to be more progressive! It’s hard to say that I rep only one town because I have traveled & lived a lot of places and they have all left impressions on me… so shout out to Atlanta, Virginia, Boston, Texas, Berlin, Paris, and Italy!

Right now I work for a few different companies doing graphic design and marketing. I have a degree in photography and do freelance photography. In the future I will be opening a “creative mecca” here in Chattanooga.

When and how did you transition into natural hair?
A:
I toyed around with going natural for 2.5 years before I finally did it. I started to think about it in 2000. I had a good friend that did the big chop (shout out to Shanda). Back than the only information I got was from www.nappturality.com. I should have stock in that site I spent so much time on it. I did the big chop on July 4 2002. MY INDEPENDANCE DAY! I just walked into the bathroom got the scissors and started cutting. I came out a new woman!

Going natural has affected all areas of my life and I started to look at things a lot differently. I had to ask myself why I was in my 20s and had never seen my natural hair.

Ayesha as a girl
It made me examine the ways I had assimilated into some mold I COULD NEVER fit…nor did I want to. I stand taller. Revel in my beauty. I have never gotten more compliments on anything in my entire life. I grew into my fullness when I did the big chop!!!!

What’s your regimen?
A:
When I first went natural I just did the best I could. I kinda went on auto-pilot for a while. I saw a girl at the gym (God bless her) and she had natural hair. I asked her how she did it and she explained two strand twists to me. So for the first half of my journey I would two strand twist out like nobody’s business.

In the past few years I have gotten more adventurous and started really taking an interest in my hair. I use coconut oil as a daily moisturizer. I just got turned on to the Flexi Rod set and I love it! I also henna every one to two months. I love the color, and the shine. I have started to pre-poo and had nice results with that. I use a combination of Beauty for Ashes God Head shampoo & conditioner with Miss Jessie’s no suds shampoo and conditioner. I also use Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding and a few other of their products but there’s no substitute for good ole shea butter.

I’ve also experimented with making my own products. This is fun and can be relatively inexpensive from your local health food store that sells herbs. Plus there’s a wealth of information online for recipes.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
A:
I think my biggest offense is sleep. When I’m tired I just fall out. I don’t wrap my head every night. I know when I was doing it my hair really responded to having that break at night. It thanked me by growing. My crown has always been where my hair grows the slowest and this is where most of my sleep damage has taken its toll.

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
A:
The best thing I do for my hair is LOVE IT! The second best thing I do for my hair is MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE…did I mention moisture! My hair gets dry very easily and I have to stay on top of it. Lately I have been doing a monthly steam treatment to combat the dryness. I also maintain moisture daily with coconut oil.

How does your hair express who you are?
A:
My hair in its natural state best expresses who I am. I just feel more at ease now in my own body. I NEVER liked going to the salon, or even back in the day when Mom would press and curl me she would have to find me hiding under my bed before she could get that heat anywhere near my head.

I think what being natural means to me is more fully appreciating who God made me to be. Acknowledging and letting your hair do what it naturally does is one of the most freeing things I have ever done.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A:
www.creativejuicesphotography.com
http://vi.sualize.us/isntlifejuicy/
http://hairgods.tumblr.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/isntlifejuicy/

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Lori
Lori
10 years ago

beautiful hair Ayesha! and the colour looks lovely too, i’m thinking of going the henna route when i become completely natural, keep doing your thing 🙂

Vanisha
10 years ago

pretty!
love her look

Vanisha
10 years ago

and even funnier.. she lives in chattanooga.. i have so much family there, maybe i better make a new friend when i go visit my mother lol

Mary
Mary
10 years ago

I loved what you said about loving your God-given self. I love the look of well-cared for hair, and I think it’s a celebration of each person’s uniqueness to find the style that’s right for them. I hate it that black women (and men) have been given the message that straight hair is “better”. My 2 Little Men (9 yrs. old) are sporting locs, and we get so many compliments on them. They look handsome, and I want them to grow up loving their ethnicity. My husband and I are white, so this is extremely important to me that they… Read more »

MissMyEdges
MissMyEdges
10 years ago

Ayesha,

The pics are fab! Who took and edited them?

Tamera
Tamera
10 years ago

Wonderful pictures! I need to use up my henna.

— KUDOS to you for making sure your sons know and love their heritage.

Diana
Diana
10 years ago

so BEAUTIFUL and TALENTED!

Eve
Eve
10 years ago

Lovely hair! I really like the two tone. That’s so cool that you’re well traveled, I love to travel myself. Really great pics at your website, you’re so talented.

Jasmine
Jasmine
10 years ago

Chatt town is a wonderful town especially Coolidge Park.

C.O
C.O
10 years ago

These are some great photos. Awsome creativity & Lovely hair!

maya
maya
10 years ago

woop woop tennessee in the house !
lol sorry i always get excited when i see someone from here
love your hair & i enjoyed reading your entry !

Beauty Is Diverse
10 years ago

Nice photos.

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Black Girl Long Hair. Black Girl Long Hair said: Ayesha photographer with gorgeous hair (and i love her self portraits) http://bglhonline.com/2010/04/11831/ […]

Angel
Angel
10 years ago

Ok Ayesha! So I have been Natural for a year now!!! WOO HOO! It’s the best thing I could have ever done.…
How do I get it to grow. I saw you said something about wrapping it up at night! How?

Ayesha
Ayesha
10 years ago

Thanks ladies!!!! I really appreciate the feedback. I was so honored to be asked and love that this movement of natural hair is happening!

As far as the questions go. Most of the shots are self portraits, some were taken by my friends but all were edited by me. Photography is my peace.

And Angel I’d start with a nice silk scarf. I usually seal the ends at night with some type of moisturizing agent i.e. shea butter or a product you love. Some people re-twist. But I think the most important thing is the moisture and little agitation.

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