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Shay // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Aug 13, 2010

“Letting go of that whole “light-skinned girl with long straight hair” thing has been so liberating for me and has really helped me along the past of self-love and self-acceptance.”

Where do you live?
S:
I live in Anchorage, Alaska. Yes, I did say Alaska! Born and raised reppin’ “the other A‑Town.” I’m a student, I do administrative assistant work at my church and I just started my business, Divine Intervention Design specializing in all things creative and eco-friendly: upcycled home decor, natural hair accessories and clothing, art; photography; poetry. I’m also Miss Black Alaska USA 2007 and a Goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia, West Africa. I’ve just begun planning natural hair/wellness events and classes here in Anchorage.

Why did you go natural?
S:
Well I convinced my mom to let me relax my hair at age 12 after having to be on adult-strength steroids for a life-threatening illness at age 10 that altered my hair texture to an unmanageable, matted mess (knowing what I know now we could have worked with it without getting it relaxed but it took my mom 4 hours to do my hair and at the time I was fed up with the process and the way it looked.) We’ve always lived a healthy, natural lifestyle dating back to the “barefoot doctors” I descended from on my mother’s side of the family in North Carolina, who healed using what God put on the Earth. But we had gotten away from it over time. When I got pregnant with my son I made the decision to go back to the old ways and that included my hair.

I was concerned about the chemicals would affect him so I stopped relaxing. My hair looks relaxed when it’s flat ironed so I just let it grow out (getting it blown out and flat ironed like I usually did between touch-ups) while I was pregnant and then did the big chop in October 2006. I pretty much big chop every three months or so (my hair grows really fast) but I’m trying to be patient and just let it grow however long it wants to be.

Going natural has been a positive experience for me. I grew up primarily around white kids and relaxing my hair was a part of me trying to fit in. Little did I know how much they envied my hair in it’s natural state! Letting go of that whole “light-skinned girl with long straight hair” thing has been so liberating for me and has really helped me along the path of self-love and self-acceptance.

What’s your regimen?
S:
We experience 9 months of winter here in Alaska and believe it or not, Alaska is considered an “arrid dessert.” So my regimen includes lots of natural oils. I don’t really have a set routine; it depends on if I’m doing protective styles (twists are my life right now), wash-n-go’s etc. Deep conditioning and co-washing are definitely regular occurrences though. These are some of the products I use on a regular basis:

  • Needful Things Daily Moisture Hair Pomade (great for daily use and deep conditioning as well)
  • Jane Carter Solution Wrap N Roll (for twist outs, braids, etc.)
  • Organic Coconut Oil (smells sooo good on your hair/skin and is light but very moisturizing for daily use)
  • Raw Shea Butter (nothing moisturizes as well as good ol’ shea butter!)
  • Needful Things Nettles Hair Masque (Nettles are soooo good for your hair, they give me crazy-fast growth)

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
S:
Overprocessing it and not protecting it. You know how they say ‘an ounce of prevention…’ well it’s totally true, you can’t undo damage done to your hair so it’s best to protect it and take care of it before the damage occurs.

Also, having healthy hair isn’t just about taking care of your actual hair-it has to be a holistic approach which includes a healthy lifestyle-especially eating properly! Going natural for me also included starting the path to becoming a vegetarian/partial raw foodist and I’ve noticed the difference in my hair.

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
S:
Using products with natural ingredients that are chemical-free as much as possible. Through becoming natural and having a healthy lifestyle, my hair is now back to the way it was before the meds: nice and strong and healthy and growing like nobody’s business!

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
S:
http://naturally-glamorous.blogspot.com I blog about natural hair styles, vegetarian & raw recipes, and all around natural fabulosity!
http://www.etsy.com/shop/dvineintervntndesign My Etsy shop features many of the products I use from Needful Things plus the things I make for my business

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Carmen
Carmen
10 years ago

Can people stop saying light-skin long hair, like its a syndrome please..i am light skin and ive had long hair but truthfully speaking, when was that ever considered bad in our community, i just hate it when people say that like “oh, poor me i was known as the girl with acceptable skin and unattainable hair”..when in actuallity you really loved it..people dont put that title on us, we do and we love it and accept it..smh, so sick of that..it sounds fake..anyway back to the story at hand, ur beautiful the way God made you

A Simple Thing
10 years ago

^^ @ Carmen: I think that’s just because that’s the supposed aspiration aesthetic for those in the African American society. And some people with those features can also suffer, because of preconceptions that they think that they’re ‘all that’ or ‘stuck-up’.

Back on topic @ Shay: I loved your philosophy. It sounds like your life is very peaceful ^_^

Kinky Hair Girl
Kinky Hair Girl
10 years ago

@ Carmen The problem is that those associated being light skinned with long hair is seen as good. In the black community that is seen as a the standard of beauty that black women should attain to. Like people always hear stay out of the sun you don’t want to get darker. Or look at that hair you need a perm or you didn’t get that good hair. Just like women who happen to be light skinned get the you are stuck up or you think you are all that because you are light skinned. Side note people can put a… Read more »

thewanderlustgrl
10 years ago

ooooh love that simple bun in the 2nd pic!

Sara
Sara
10 years ago

Shay, I am soo proud of you! This interview is amazing and I can’t believe how beautiful you’ve grown up to be on the inside and out:)

jacqueline
10 years ago

hello shay what can i use for my natural hair? to have extra hair-growth , and moisturier

jacqueline
10 years ago

in need of black hair care products for natural hair.

Missy
Missy
10 years ago

@ Carmen Ummm… I think that was her whole point in saying that “letting go of that whole “light-skinned girl with long straight hair” thing has been so liberating for me and has really helped me along the path of self-love and self-acceptance”. ^I took that as ‘I had to let go of this superiority complex that is really just a cover of being weak and wanting to fit everyone else’s ideal of beauty’ Anyhooo… Shay looks lovely! Her cut suits her sooo well and Im so glad that she is booming with natural hair uconfidence in that cold Alaska… Read more »

Cazohay (Shay)
Cazohay (Shay)
10 years ago

A Simple Thing, Kinky Hair Girl, and Missy-that’s exactly what I was trying to say! I was basically scared to have my hair in it’s Natural state because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be considered pretty any more and that I wouldn’t be accepted. I mean, my Grandmother cried when I cut my BSL hair up to my shoulders and it was still relaxed! But going Natural is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’ve never looked back! Seeing these two other stories on BGLH show that there’s still a lot of progress to be made,… Read more »

Robert
Robert
10 years ago

Personally, Pumpkin, I have always loved you however you looked. Whether short hair, long, braids or kinky, you’ve always been God’s Gift to your mother and me.

Cazohay (Shay)
Cazohay (Shay)
10 years ago

Thank you DaddyGuy-you’re the best!!! =)

Olivia
Olivia
9 years ago

I think what she means by letting go of the “light skinned girl with long straight hair” is that “light skinned girl with long straight hair” should be a description, not an IDENTITY. Some of us were raised with it as an identity or even a reputation, not “this is what you look like” but “this is who you are and aren’t you so lucky.” It is obviously more than okay to be light skinned with long hair but the way I take her statement–and to some extent the title of this blog–is that you can’t let that define you.

Cazohay (Shay)
Cazohay (Shay)
9 years ago

Thank you Olivia, that’s spot on! It just got to a point where a lot of people did define me by that supposed standard of beauty, and it also caused other women to assume that I was stuck-up or thought I was all that and kind of ostracized me. I love who God made me, and I love how God made everyone else as well! Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors-loving yourself no matter what you look like was the only message I was trying to get across, and like you said, not letting your looks define you…… Read more »

NappyMarge
9 years ago

Shay for how long do you keep your twist in during winter month? Do you rock them all 9 month?

Cazoshay (Shay)
8 years ago

@NappyMarge-sorry so long to reply! I never keep one style for too long‑I love to switch it up! So to answer your question, I will usually keep the twists in either overnight and lightly comb through the twistout with my fingers in the morning or I will do different styles with the twists for about a week and then rock the twistout. Right now I’m doing a high bun-type style. After brushing out my 3–5 day old wash-n-go hair I use a doubled up headband to pull my hair back and then secure a hair net around the loose hair… Read more »

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