Where do you live?
C: I have been in Washington, DC since 2006 as an undergraduate Marketing student, though I’m from Michigan. While I’ll always love my home state, I must say that I’ve definitely fallen in love with our nation’s Capitol and the pace of the East coast. Though I’m a student by day, I consider myself a budding entrepreneur by night. I’m working to develop my blog and brand, Think & Grow Chick, which provides young, black women with resources to achieve goals related to entrepreneurship, wellness, and (of course) hair.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
C: I made my decision to go natural at the tender age of 15. Throughout my childhood, I had very long, pressed-and-curled pigtails, but definitely no relaxer. All of this changed in the eighth grade, however, when I begged my mother for a relaxer because I was sick of my non-black peers describing my hair as “frizzy”. Completely thrilled with my new, sleek locks, I went home everyday after school and curled my hair “for practice” so that I’d be sure my hair would be perfect the next day for school.
By the time I was 16 my hair had broken off from BSL (bra-strap length) to just below my collar bone. I’ll never forget going to the salon for a touch-up and bringing in a picture I printed off the computer of Aaliyah (my childhood idol at the time) to my hair dresser, only for her to reply “Oh no sweetie, your hair’s not long enough for that style”. When she uttered those words, it was like hearing the record scratch—no one in my entire life had ever told me that my hair wasn’t “long enough”! With my self esteem shattered, I went home and vowed to do whatever it took to grow my hair back to its former glory.
Almost immediately upon typing in “grow black hair long” into google, I was presented with information about “going natural”. It’s sad when I think about it now, but it never dawned on me until then that I didn’t have to have a relaxer. I thought it was like a rite or passage or something—if you want to grow up as a black woman, then you have to have a perm. I poked around longhaircareforum.com and motowngirl.com until the wee hours in the morning that night, only to emerge a changed girl. I was going to go natural even if it killed me.
My journey wasn’t too difficult. It took me about a year and a half to completely transition, but I got stronger and stronger (militant, almost) in my resolve since everyone from my mom to boys I liked at school were giving me the side-eye over my hair. I stuck to my guns though, and by age 17 I had a full head of curly-kinky head. Surprisingly, my high school popularity exploded. Every girl at my school and their mama (literally) wanted to know how I got my hair “like that”. I’ve been educating and making natural hair converts ever since 🙂
Going natural was the first time that I used focus, determination, and consistency to achieve something was important to me. My natural journey, in all honesty, serves as the basis for the brand that I’m building as well. I figure, if going natural essentially taught me how to be successful, I can use the same principles to teach other women how to be successful with both their hair and their lives.
What’s your regimen?
C: My hair routine is pretty simple because I don’t like to be very fussy with my hair. I wash my hair (always in four sections) with my Indian Aritha Shampoo bar. They’re literally $2 or less, and they make my hair feel so soft! Next, I condition with either Aussie Moist Conditioner or Suave Coconut Conditioner (when I feel like using a product without silicones). After washing and conditioning, I apply Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-in and organic coconut oil to my hair while wet. Next, I two- or three-strand twist my hair, with a bit of shea butter, and leave the twists in until the end of the week. Usually on Friday, I take my hair out and rock a twist-out until Sunday or Monday, and I start my routine all over again!
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
C: The main mistake I’ve made with my hair is acting like just because it’s natural, it can handle anything. After I was fully natural, I experimented with permanent hair color for the next 5 years, and I ALWAYS wore my hair out. The constant coloring and exposure really dried my hair out, and I realized I wasn’t really retaining length anymore. Just recently, I recommitted myself to hair growth, so I’ve completely quit coloring and I wear my hair in protective styles 5 days a week.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
C: The most effective thing that I’ve done for my hair as of late is protective styling, hands down. My hair and scalp are not as dry and I’m retaining so much more length its ridiculous.
I used to be a staunch opponent to protective styling, but not only has it helped my hair grow, but its opened me up to a whole world of creative styles for natural hair. I literally never did anything to my hair but wear it in a ‘fro for 5 years, so all of this protective style business is new to me.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
C: My blog is http://thinkandgrowchick.com, my Twitter is twitter.com/thinkngrowchick, and my Facebook is facebook.com/thinkandgrowchick. I invite everyone to come check me out!