Where do you live?
C: I live in Baltimore, MD but I am a New York City chick- born and bred.
I am in law school (but thinking of a master plan on the side, just in case that law thing doesn’t work out lol)
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
C: I made the decision to go natural because I was so done with the relaxing ritual. My hair never seemed to get past my shoulders because it would eventually break off. I was also tired of looking like everyone else. It was time to let it go.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
C: I transitioned in the summer of 2003 during my senior year of high school. I transitioned with braids for about 9 months before doing the big chop. I locked my hair in 2005 and recently cut them off last summer and I am back to the t.w.a. (teeny weeny afro.)
In what ways has going natural affected you?
C: Man, where do I begin! It took guts back in high school to rock the natural hair. I was really self-conscious but I kept pushing through. I had a few odd responses from friends at school who did not understand why I would want to wear my hair natural (imagine that!). However, despite their comments I knew folks admired and respected me for doing me and not really caring about what they thought. My mother was supportive of the process and that allowed me to feel more confident in my decision.
The process of going and staying natural has been really empowering because I took power away from society and I kept it for myself. I now decide what beauty means to me and what it means to be feminine. I have learned to accept my hair for what it is and I love it. I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and I hold my head up high, even on bad hair days lol.
What is a brief description of your regimen?
C: I am a wash ‑N- go type of girl right now. I co-wash once a week with Herbal Essence and/or Oyin conditioner. If my hair is really dirty I will wash it with Come Clean shampoo by Kinky Curly. For curl definition, I’ll use Kinky Curly Curling Custard- it’s great. If I don’t want curl definition I will simply leave conditioner in my hair, like Oyin or anything creamy. Every morning I re-wet and fluff my hair. I love to use coconut oil, olive oil, amla oil and shea butter because they are light enough to use everyday but super moisturizing.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
C: When I first went natural I believed water was not a friend. SO WRONG! Because of that my hair was always dry. Looking back, I believe that transitioning with extensions (braids) for so long led to a lot of dryness and breakage. As a result my hair did not retain as much length as it could have. Now, when I want my hair styled, I opt to go sans extensions and just have my own hair braided or twisted and I go to stylists that understand natural hair and know how to treat it. That is so important. Lastly, I have also learned not to fight against my hair because this only leads to frustration and breakage from trying to force it against its will. People, when it comes to natural hair “no” means “no”.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
C: Leaving it alone and lettin’ it do what it do! That basically means I wash it, moisturize the heck out of it and I do not overcook it with direct heat. Simple!
How does your hair express who you are?
C: It shows that I dance to the beat of my own drum!
I really cannot stand when people act like I am trying to make a political statement with my natural hair. That is a pet peeve!! I feel like relaxed hair makes more of a statement than natural hair. And I am going to need the older generation to come on into the 21st century, the water is fine, and understand that natural hair is good hair too and that it will not kill them to embrace it for once in their lives.