Where do you live?
M: I live in Philadelphia and work as an engineer.
Why did you go natural?
M: I went natural in 2003 as a senior in high school. I was very active in sports and could not deal with getting my hair pressed anymore. Additionally, relaxers and braids were thinning my edges. So, I cut most of it and got a texturizer at first (through the coaxing of the stylist). I hated it and cut it all off to be fully natural in 2004. Fast forward past a lot of mistakes and several big chops to 2008, when I knew two things: #1. I wanted long hair and #2. I wanted to be natural. This led me to my fourth BC in 2008 and I started locking my hair as I thought this was the only way for me to meet my goals. In May of 2009 I found BGLH and realized that black women with my texture can grow long hair without locks. Sera was featured on BGLH and she was my proof of this and my inspiration. I combed out my locks literally days after finding the site and devoted myself to growing a healthy head of hair. My full hair story is quite long to type out (think 5 years of a STRUGGLE)! I posted a summary video about it on YouTube:
How would you describe your hair?
M: My hair is very coarse and kinky, there is no coil/curl pattern. It is naturally dry — which is ok.
What’s your regimen?
M: I wash my hair once a week, steps are outlined below
Step 1#: Apply Aubrey’s Organic Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner to dry hair. Leave on hair for at least 15 minutes.
Step #2: Rinse out conditioner and section hair into 6 sections, twisting each section and clipping it to separate it.
Step #3: Un-twist one section and apply J.R. Liggett Shampoo Bar — rub bar directly on to hair moving from root to end. Use pads of fingers to wash roots. Pat hair to clean.
Step #4: Apply Earthly Delight Conditioner on top of shampoo’d hair. Saturate hair with conditioner. Separate that section into 2 sections. Take one section, finger comb to detangle, then detangle hair using Denman brush. Spritz hair with water if a section is dry.
Step #5: Re-twist section and clip away. Repeat steps 3–5 for remaining sections.
Step #6: Rinse hair well, apply moisturizer of choice. Moisturizer = aloe vera/shea butter mix or castor oil/shea butter mix.
The entire process takes me about 45 minutes. I also apply shea butter and/or castor oil to my hair throughout the week. I’m still searching for a product that moisturizes my hair well — without mixing 20 million things myself. I trim my hair quarterly or as needed.
What mistakes have you made that you’ve learned from?
M: I’ve made so many mistakes, lol. I’ve done everything from color to going back to a relaxer, heat damage — you name it! My top mistakes would definitely include: Heat damage, Hand-in-Hair Syndrome (HiHS) and trying to define my curls. My hair is VERY COARSE, thus a lot of heat is necessary to get it straight. I’ve suffered from heat damage 3 times. I’ve decided to eliminate heat styling from my regimen for now. I just think it will only stifle me from reaching my goals. Another mistake I made was having really bad HiHS — it was really bad in college. I’m much better now, but I still keep my hair pinned away to avoid it. Finally, when the whole “natural is hot” thing started taking off, I realized that black people had CURLY hair — originally I thought everyone’s hair was cottony like mine. When I saw “non-mixed” black women with curls I thought getting ones hair to curl was a matter of a process. I bought Kinky Curly several times, each time leading to non-curly hair, #FAIL. LOL. It was my ignorance about our diversity that led me to think this, I’m sticking to my cottony hair now.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
M: Exercise patience and acceptance. I have friends that went natural after me and have longer hair than me now, I have friends that can straighten their hair and still bounce back to healthy curls, I have friends that can do wash-n-gos…and the list goes on. I have come to realize that my hair is different from most of my friends and that it can’t do the same things, which is OK. My hair doesn’t hang down — period — and that’s OK. My hair shrinks a lot, and that’s OK too. Accepting my hair for what it IS and not what I may want it to be has been the most healing thing in my entire journey.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
M: YES, catch me at http://sofullsista.blogspot.com. It’s a lifestyle blog featuring healthy food, my personal style, and my hair! I have been focused on the style portion recently, but I still have plenty of throwback videos and posts featuring styling options for short/medium length 4b hair.