Where do you live?
M: I claim Maryland as home, but currently reside in Atlanta for school. I am currently a graduate student pursuing a degree in Materials Science and Engineering.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: My journey to becoming natural was inspired by my two younger sisters who started the journey several years before I began. Seeing how healthy their hair was as they let loose of the relaxers definitely confirmed and encouraged my decision to do the same. It wasn’t an easy process for me though — it took me two tries to actually fully make the transition to natural hair. The only reason why I wasn’t successful the first time around was because I wasn’t fully informed on how I needed to treat my hair during the transition stage and so I became frustrated. This became one of the reasons why I decided to start to blog/vlog about my transition to natural the second time around…to help others avoid the frustration that can sometimes accompany the transition if you’re not equipped with the right information on how to care for your hair.
My “successful” transitioning journey began in April 2009 and ended with my big chop in July 2009. I was a short-term transitioner (4 months) because as I started seeing my healthy, naturally coily roots peeking through under the relaxed hair…I couldn’t wait any longer! I began my transition with a sew-in but that didn’t last long because I couldn’t stand not being able to touch my scalp, lol! The rest of the styles I wore ranged from bantu knots to two strand twist outs. You can see some of the styles that I tried HERE. During my transition period though, I made sure to steer clear away from shampoos with sulfates (and started co-washing) and also stuck to styles that required minimal to no heat. It was during this time that shea butter became my BEST friend, lol. It really helped to seal moisture in my hair and I loved that it was a product I could use both on my hair and my skin!
One of the most important lessons I learned from my natural hair journey is sometimes you have to live with decisions that you’ve made for your own personal reasons and be confident in that decision no matter what those around you may have to say.
I’d like to give a quick tip for my chicas who may be getting frustrated with their transitioning journeys. When you feel yourself getting into a rut, don’t be afraid to try a new style! Sometimes trying a new style can give you that extra boost of confidence to continue on with the journey. You’d be surprised at how many styles you can try while you’re transitioning. From getting that super cute short cut as a precursor to your BC or a really fly two-strand twist out…you really can’t go wrong!
What’s your regimen?
M: I co-wash at least once a week with some of my fav conditioners (Trader Joe’s Nourish & Spa, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle, Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut). After washing, I usually seal in moisture with a homemade mixture of shea butter, coconut oil and other natural oils. At night, I make sure to cover my hair with a satin bonnet or silk scarf.
When it is time shampoo (about 2–3 times a month), I stick to my sulfate-free shampoos. The Organix brand has great options for sulfate-free shampoos, and I also love the CURLS Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
M: In the beginning of my natural journey, I made the mistake of thinking that my hair was going to look like the next girl’s. This led to me buying into products that were completely unnecessary just because I thought it would “transform” my hair into what I thought it SHOULD look like. Since then, I’ve learned to truly embrace my natural texture for what it is and I really do appreciate now the variety of textures throughout the natural hair community! No one head is ever the same!
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
M: Sealing in moisture effectively! Remember how I said shea butter is my friend! I love mixing my shea butter with coconut oil and other natural oils to make hair creams that are really effective in sealing in moisture after I wash my hair. By sealing in moisture, I prevent unnecessary hair breakage, which has helped me to retain length during my natural journey so far.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
M: You can find me on my main site, NaturalChica.Com and my YouTube Channel: Nikkimae2003 for hair styling tutorials and an occasional singing or bass guitar playing vid lol : ) You can also keep up with me on:
Facebook Fan Page: Natural Chica