Where do you live?
A: I live in Maryland. I am Nigerian and I’m currently pursuing my masters in Electrical Engineering.
Why did you go natural?
A: Well I always thought afro-kinky-coily-curly-textured hair was beautiful but only realistically attainable and manageable with wigs and weaves. It just had a certain glory to it and demanded attention. I didn’t have the slightest clue that I could grow this gloriousness from my scalp until I began to see a few girls rocking theirs naturally and effortlessly. And then the relaxer thing, I was also one of those girls who would tell the hair stylist to leave it in a little longer, so it could burn a little longer because I knew it will be laying real flat and nice by the time the chemical reaction was over. It was all I knew.
But then I got tired of spending the whole day in the salon, the burns, the money spent, the itchy dandruff ridden scalp and all that grease, only to have to re-do the marathon in a months time. After one relaxer session I told myself it would be my last. I was so excited about my new decision, I told everyone who would listen, “Hey I’m going natural. Yay me.” Unfortunately I was met with a lot of resistance. It was like “What for, why do you want to cut off all that long hur”, lol. I am glad I did it and wished I had done it sooner
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
A: My last relaxer was in March 2009. I transitioned for about seven months. The whole time I was transitioning, I’d wear my hair in straw sets. I re-did them every two weeks. I couldn’t take the two textures because my hair was getting so tangled so I chopped it all off.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
A: For one, I have become so conversant with my hair like never before. I and my hair see eye to eye, we know each other real well, lol. The thought of someone else styling my hair makes me cringe. For two years, we have fought, cursed each other out and loved each other.
On a serious note, I definitely became aware of the societal negative tagged on anything “black”. It is so subtle sometimes that it is so normal. You start wearing your hair just like most human beings on earth, but it’s a different experience; an automatic baggage is placed on you that you have to consciously unhook in order to move unimpeded. And even when your hair is finally shining and no one can deny, they want to attribute its glory to some otherness, as if it’s just impossible for it to have that much swag by itself. I am rambling here but I think the point is my aesthetics have been reinforced.
I remember when people would ask my mum what was going on with her daughter’s hair. She would reply the nigerian way, “Mai dear, leave it oh. She wants everyone to know that she is African.” I’m like, “Mummy, it’s not about being African, it’s about embracing my humanness and I think that should be respected.” She’ll reply “Go and do something to you hair”, lol. My mum is coming around and so are a lot of unbelievers thanks to avenues like BGLH and you and I.
How would you describe your hair?
A: My hair is very coily. I have like a million, well-defined, tight, tiny-in-diameter coils. Very fine in the back and coarse at the front. The middle of my hair? Oh gawsh, I don’t want to talk about it because it’s currently on timeout. My shrinkage is gangster, you wouldn’t believe it. I doubt anyone on here has shrinkage that rivals mine, lol. It drinks water like a desert: very porous.
What’s your regimen?
A: Wash, condition and moisturize. I use apple cider vinegar soap or black soap to wash my hair. I’m a whore when it comes to conditioners, I’ve never been able to stick to one. Darcy’s Botanical Coils Curling Jelly is my gel of choice. I either use Shea butter or Qhemet’s Olive Heavy Cream to seal and moisturize. I moisturize according to how my hair feels. I try to not let two weeks pass before I wash my hair. Bentonite clay comes in handy for the occasional deep cleansing. Twists are not a good look for my hair because it tangles it up but for whatever reason, flat twist and braid outs work better. I do a lot of banding for my “wash and go’s” to help stretch. Can I say I love the tangle teezer. Detangling never looked so good
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
A: Just doing too much.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
A: I won’t say there is one particular effective thing I do. It is a matter of consistency in my regimen and just letting my hair be, avoiding excessive finger-in-hair-play, keeping it moisturized and styling in updos and buns that require little manipulation.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: Yes!! I love to disturb my neighbors at night: http://www.youtube.com/user/MuzikizOxygen