Where do you live?
B: I’m a Midwestern chick from Cleveland, Ohio, though I’m culturally colorful by way of a Trinidadian mama and a daddy whose family is from the South. I’m a broadcast journalist currently in the online/new media realm.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
B: It was a long process really. I’d wanted to go natural since I was 14 or 15, but I was so used to getting it done I never let it become anything more than a thought I occasionally told my mother, who tried to talk me out of it. The thought began to become a reality in 2004 when I got sick and had to be admitted to the hospital for some time. During that time I was unable to get my hair done, and when I was released I was unable to bend or sit still long enough to get touch ups for a month and a half or so.
When I saw my new growth coming in I was intrigued, but not completely yet sold on the idea–so many people balked at the idea I was in a mental fog about it–and I ended up relaxing again but not as often. I finally stopped but went back and forth for a time before fully committing to transitioning. My transition lasted from around the following summer in 2005 to a week before senior prom in 2006. I had around 4 inches or so of hair when I cut off the relaxed ends.
During my transition I had major issues learning my hair because it had/has so many textures going on, so I studied photos of myself during my pre-relaxed years to get somewhat of a glimpse of what I was working with. I also got tips from my mother, who wasn’t all that enthusiastic about my decision at first. Luckily she not only came around, but began her transition shortly after mine, cut off her relaxed ends about four months ahead of me, and is now rocking 3‑year-old locs.
What’s your regimen?
B: During warmer weather I wash my hair about once a week or as needed using Aussie shampoo and conditioner. I also use Suave and Pantene depending on what I feel like. I usually switch up every few months or when I get tired of the smell of one, haha. I detangle while the conditioner is in my hair, rinse, put it in plaits and apply olive or coconut oil. When all or mostly dry then I put it in twists for a twist out or twist out puff. In colder weather I do most of the same thing except I’ll sometimes put my twists in a loose wrap around bun and spray an additional mixture of olive and coconut oil on in it. If I leave it down I’m careful to pay extra attention to putting oil on my ends. If it’s super cold and dry outside I may also wear a knotted wrap on my head as well.
I also regularly work out and, if I happen to get especially sweaty, I give my hair a warm rinse. After the rinse I apply olive or coconut oil and quickly put it into plaits at the gym. I may put in new twists when I get home.
If it’s really humid I might use some FOTE aloe gel to slick down the top/sides if I wear a puff or something. Nowadays my puffs just kind of sag unless the humidity gets to it.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
B: This would definitely have to be letting folks’ opinions of my hair be facts. I let my friends talk me into getting it straightened with a hot comb my freshman year of college. Nothing happened the first time, so I got it done again. The second time I also got the top colored honey blonde which looked great with my brown hair color, but successfully ruined a year’s worth of growth. On top of that the hot comb permanently straightened some of hair and I had to cut it off, and the color changed my texture in some places and made it much more susceptible to the elements. It was also super dry what seemed to be nearly 24/7.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
B: I try my best to go with the flow with what it needs. I currently wash it once it week, but if a week has gone by and it looks fine I may wait another day or two before washing. This is especially true during the winter when the air is drier. I also make sure I do all I can to ensure I seal in moisture.
Overkill is another problem I had to overcome. This past year I’ve resorted to not slicking it down as much so as to not cause issues with my edges. My edges were getting a bit thin for a minute from using a brush almost everyday, but after applying a vitamin E concoction I made I was able to coax it back to life.
I also have a non-hair centric fotki, anyone can email me for the url at firstname.lastname@example.org