R: I’m from Louisville, KY. I’m a student at the University of Louisville majoring in Communication and minoring in Pan-African Studies. I hope to one day write for a newspaper/magazine about issues involving racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender. I also want to work as a communication director at a community center for kids in underprivileged neighborhoods.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
R: I chose to go natural because I missed the bigness of my hair. I was natural most of my life but chose to get a relaxer five years ago during my first year of school. I was the only girl in my dorm who was natural and the rest of the chicas didn’t understand that. So I caved and got a relaxer. Over time, my hair got shorter and shorter and flatter and flatter. 🙂
So in November 2008 I stopped getting relaxers. It’s been a great journey ever since. I transitioned wearing styles that resembled natural texture. I wore braid-outs, twist-outs, and rod sets. During the process I only straightened my hair for trimming.
Going natural was very empowering for me. I feel free now. I feel authentic. And I have also come to terms with my whole self. I am ok with who I am and the way I am, how I look. In fact I feel like my natural hair is the icing on the cake of my style. It’s my trademark now. Everyone who knows me always recognizes my hair first. I love that.
What’s your regimen?
R: My regimen now is pretty much the same as the regimen I used while transitioning–because we all know that you should treat your hair as if it’s already completely natural while transitioning. During the winter I co-wash every two weeks and shampoo once a month. During the summer months, depending on how much I swim, I alternate between shampooing and co-washing once a week.
I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration to wash and Oyin Honey Hemp conditioner as a deep conditioner before I wash. I always add extra virgin coconut oil to my deep conditioners and let them sit on my hair for up to an hour. After that I wash my hair. Then I put conditioner on it again and detangle, rinse, spray with Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla leave-in and twist or braid in sections adding Kinky Curly to each and shea butter on the ends. I usually try to keep my hair in the braids or twists all week and take them out on the weekends.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
R: Protective styling is the most effect thing I do for my hair because my ends get so dry. For a while I wondered why my ends kept drying out. After I started doing protective styles, that wasn’t a problem for me.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
R: You can find me on Facebook!! Rachel Neirene.