Where do you live?
T: I currently live in Kansas City, Missouri.
What do you do?
T: I recently graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Political Science.
Why did you go natural?
T: I was inspired by the artists that I listened to such as India Arie, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. I loved the fact that these women were powerful in the songs they sang and the images they portrayed; especially their confidence in wearing natural hair. When I decided to go natural I was a junior in high school and at a point in my life where I wanted to be free from following trends and to just be me. I would wear relaxers only to manage my hair, but I mostly wore braids. When I would get new growth I liked the thickness and fullness of my hair and hated how thin and flat it felt after having a relaxer put in it.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
T: I started transitioning in 2005 by continuously wearing braided hairstyles and allowing the chemicals to grow out of my hair. Eventually I had to have my relaxed ends cut. After all of the chemicals were out of my hair I was kind of self conscious, so I continued wearing my hair braided until my sophomore year of college.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
T: Having natural hair has allowed me to challenge myself in showing how much confidence and security I have in my own self-image. In high school I was picked on for having “nappy” hair and it affected my self-esteem. Once I went to college it was different because I was able to see other beautiful ladies my age that rocked natural hair; were confident, and didn’t care how much people stared, or what they said. I remember spending a semester in D.C. and seeing women of color who had natural hair and dope fashion sense. It made me feel like having natural hair was not out of the ordinary and being different was accepted.
How would you describe your hair?
T: My hair definitely has a mind of its own! I always do twist outs. I love how my hair gets bigger and better as the twist out gets older. The texture of my hair is kinky with a little wave and it’s very thick. I don’t bother straightening it because it reverts back as soon as I step outside, regardless of the season — LOL.
What’s your regimen?
T: I wash my hair once every other week, sometimes even longer than that (washing my hair is not fun ;)). After washing my hair I use shea butter and essential oils such as jojoba oil to do two strand twists for a twist out. Sometimes I do blow outs just to make twisting my hair easier. I also use CHI Straight Guard.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
T: When I was newly natural I used to straighten my hair crazily. When my hair was wet I realized that my curl pattern was looser and my hair suffered from heat damage. Another mistake I dealt with was not moisturizing frequently. I learned that my hair is like a sponge so I have to constantly keep it hydrated with moisturizing products. If I don’t, my hair feels really dry and brittle and it’s prone to breaking off.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
T: All last winter I kept my hair in twists under a head wrap. Not only was it cute, but it protected my hair from the dryness of the cold weather. When the weather became warmer I would wear my hair out every now and then and I was able to sustain my length. Also I try to spritz my hair with a mixture of water and some essential oil before styling just to add moisture. I do the same at night when twisting my hair before I go to sleep.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
T: I am on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tulani.mccauley. I also make jewelry and will open an Etsy shop pretty soon! The name of the jewelry line is TuTu.