Eboni was relaxed when she started reading BGLH in 2009 and even wrote a piece about her conflicted feelings towards going natural. One year later she’s made her choice.
Where do you live?
E: New York City! I rep the Upper West Side but my heart belongs to DC, where I was born and raised. I have a degree in journalism (c/o 2009!) but I work as a full-time nanny. I’m a writer, though, it’s who I am.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
E: Because of you! I started following BGLH when it was still a blog with Erykah Badu in the banner, about two years ago. I began implementing a lot of the hair tips in my relaxed regime, and stretching the time in between touch-ups (I have soft hair, so I only used to perm once every 4–6 months anyway). My girlfriend at the time LOVED it, so I just went with the curlies as they grew out. And then I was hooked on natural hair care sites and forums, and, the more I read, the more I wondered why I was forcing my hair to be something it wasn’t. I have piercings and tattoos and always did whatever I wanted with MY appearance; what was I trying to prove by having chemically straightened hair?
My last perm was… January of 2009? I did wash-and-go’s for about a year and just cut off the last of the permed bits at the beginning of this month. My two hair textures weren’t that different, so I didn’t have a crazy line of demarcation, but I didn’t mositurize properly and I remember one point where knots the size of Lemonheads were literally just falling out of my head. I’m not big on protective styling (which is funny, cuz as a permie I used to rock the heck out of some two-strand twists or cornrows. With my braids I’d even add weave on just the tips to add a little length and protect the ends) so my hair is usually in a big bun or out. I’m loving my curls waayyy too much to wear them any other way!
Going natural has definitely changed my ideals of beauty. After watching ‘Good Hair,’ (which could have been better, but it’s heart was in the right place) I also got really, REALLY angry at perceptions of Black women’s beauty. And I mean, furious! I thought to myself, ‘I’m educated, I have a degree, I’m a good person, I’m funny, I’m nice- none of that has to do with the hair on my head. And it’s sick and sad that we as a population are being bamboozled into thinking the only way we’ll be not just beautiful, but successful and respected, is by altering our hair to look like someone else’s.’ And that we have to pay thousands of dollars to do it! Our hair is good enough. WE are good enough just the way we are. *End rant*
What’s your regimen?
E: My routine is pretty low maintenence, I co-wash every day with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner (HHC), then seal with castor oil and olive oil. When I’m in a really big rush, I just spritz my hair with water and then rub it down with a castor/olive/tea tree oil blend (I like Hollywood Beauty brand oils, you can find them at any drugstore). I have to wet my hair every day or else it turns into a dry, fuzzy mess. When I want a deep condition, after I cowash, I rinse out the HHC and give my hair a good rubdown while its still wet with Hollywood Beauty brand solid castor oil. I swear by that castor oil, it doesn’t contain mineral oil or petroleum and it kept my hair super strong when it was relaxed, plus it smells divine! If I see product buildup I’ll shampoo with Hello Hydration 2‑in‑1 shampoo and conditioner then still condition again with HHC and just leave it in. I’m still looking for a good leave-in conditioner, I’ve heard good things about Infusium 23 but I can’t find it anywhere!
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
E: Oh, man, there’s so many! When I first started transitioning I read about girls who only co-washed and detangled once a week, so I tried it. Bad idea! I wore my hair in the same bun for days, so when I pulled the pins out, it stuck straight up in the air. It was dry and brittle and inside the ‘bun’ my whole head was one HUGE knot. It took hours in the shower and an entire bottle of conditioner to get through it, and I swear I lost half the hair on my head. Now I know I have to moisturize and detangle EVERY DAY or I’m asking for trouble.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
E: Detangle while wet and keep it moisturized. I also don’t like sleeping with a scarf, as it flattens my hair and leaves it feeling dry and knotty. I haven’t found an alternative solution just yet but my hair definitely prefers being wild and free.