Where do you live?
N: I live in Dallas, TX and I work in youth development. I rep Texas, with a lot of California love sprinkled in there.
Why did you go natural?
N: I went back and forth for about 5 years. I would let my hair grow out thinking I would cut the relaxed ends off once it was long enough and then I would get frustrated with the half permed /half natural phase and just relax it. Not so much patience with my hair then. Then, after going through a bit of life’s rough spots, which led to an abundance of self revelations, I decided I needed to let go of all the extra and get back to my natural state, both inside and out. So, in May 2007, I walked into a random hair salon in Oakland, CA and let 19 inches of relaxed hair go. Talk about shock.
Having longer hair my whole life, the first thing that I had to do was learn how to own my new hair. I was so uncomfortable at the very beginning. I was living in San Francisco at the time and it was one of the best places I could be during that process because there are so many beautiful sistas rockin’ their natural in so many beautiful ways. Being from the South, I didn’t grow up seeing that and so it was encouraging/uplifting/empowering. It’s funny how something as simple as your hair can really affect your self. It’s all connected y’all!
What’s your regimen?
N: Ha. As I’m sure we all know, finding the right regimen is one thing this week and another thing the next. Right now it’s about 100 degrees in TX on any given day so my hair gets extremely dry. I tend to rock the double strand twist most of the time. I wash with KeraCare Hydrating Shampoo and deep condition with Nexxus Humecress Conditioner or Oyin Handmade’s Honey-Hemp Condition. Then I put in Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner.
When I start twisting, I use Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme. This lasts about 2 weeks, then I take my twists out, rock that for another week and then wash and start over again. I moisturize daily with Oyin Handmade Juices and Berries (LOVE this stuff!!) and Miss jessie’s Baby Buttercreme.
When I want to wear my hair free flowing, I do the same shampoo and conditioner and then use a product called SET (this is like hair crack for me, seriously.) When I wear my hair out I wash every 4–5 days.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
N: Not really knowing my hair and not having a relationship with it. My hair is a pretty even mix of my dad’s Pakistani genes and my mom’s African genes and it’s finicky. I’d been reading a lot about oils for your hair and I decided to start adding it to my regimen, different mixes of coconut, jojoba, almond, extra virgin olive oil, along with shea butter, etd. When I trimmed my ends, I lost about an inch and a half of hair, which is not usually the case.
Having done all this stuff to my hair, I didn’t get it. So, I started paying more attention and I found that my hair doesn’t really like a lot of oil. It wasn’t penetrating my hair nor was it really sealing in moisture. It was just sitting on my hair until it rubbed off on something and then I was left with dry hair and split ends. Now what my hair reeeeeeally likes is water. So now I do a hot oil treatment about once a month and then I make sure to use water-based moisturizers that have just a little bit of oil in them.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
N: Letting it tell me what it wants instead of trying to tell it what I want 😉
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
N: Yes, but unfortunately its not about hair, just random comings and goings: http://nkijsa.blogspot.com/
Anything else you want to add?
N: For anyone thinking about going natural but not sure, JUST DO IT! You’ll be glad you did. And you can always relax it again if you really want too. Peace.