A: My name is Ameka. I am from Jackson, Mississippi (Whoop Whoop) but I currently reside in Fort
Worth, Texas. I have been here for 2.5 years. I am a Masters student at the University of North Texas
Health Science Center majoring in Clinical Research. I graduate this December 2011. YAY!!! Glory
be unto God. Oh and I can’t introduce myself without stating that I am a proud Mississippi State
Why did you go natural?
A: I first went natural in March 2006. Honestly during that time I decided to go natural because it was something different and new for me to do. Even though I knew that my hair would be healthier, that was not my main focus at that moment in time. I relaxed after 2 years and 10 months and then decided to go natural again. At that moment, the decision to go natural again was because I missed my natural hair altogether. Natural hair is so versatile and so much more vibrant that I did not even think twice about going back.
Sometimes I beat myself up when I think of how long and healthy my hair would be now if I’d kept it natural for the past 5 years, but hey I’m making progress again and I can’t complain.
How did you transition to natural hair?
A: The first transition (March 2006): I transitioned for 6 months. At that time I did not know
much about natural hair care because there was not much information on the internet and most people
were not natural then. So it was a trial and error process for me. I did try roller sets from time to time
but I could not stand the two different textures fighting with each other. This is what led me to do a
big chop early on. I decided to do my big chop myself and it was an adventure I must say lol. I ended up cutting 2–3 inches more than I needed off so the end result was a short short Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA).
I decided to do the big chop at a crazy time because I was in the process of preparing for the Miss Mississippi State University pageant. I psyched my mind up to believe that if I could perform in front of an audience with my new boy short haircut then I could rock it anywhere and be proud of it. I DID just that. EPIC moment. Would I cut it again that short? Probably not unless it was beyond my control.
The second transition (January 2009): The plan was to transition for a minimum of 12 months.
I was much more experienced this time around and figured the whole transition process would be
easier. Don’t get me wrong, it was a tad bit easier but people have to realize that transitioning is the most frustrating part of the natural hair process. I transitioned for a total of 11 months and then…….Screeching HALT…….transitioners please heed these next words and save yourself the headache lol. Ok so I made it to the 11 month mark and was almost at my final stretch of 12 months. What happened you ask? I was forced to make the big chop.
I decided to go to sleep with conditioner on my hair for an overnight treat but I woke up to a TRICK. My hair was tangled and matted from here to China. I was baffled at what I saw. To make a long story short (and to spare you the agony that I lived, lol) I did the big chop. I called around to salons to set up an appt for the BC because I didn’t have the motivation to do it myself again. I will never forget it. It was Christmas Eve when I went to the salon and had my hair chopped off. I cried like a baby. Booo Hoooo. But get this…I texted a picture of my newly chopped off hair to a guy friend of mine and his response was “Hit me up when your hair grows back” LOL. Don’t even feel like commenting on that right now. Anywhoo, during this time of my transition I simply wore braids and sew-ins. They make things so much smoother.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
A: I do love the confidence that it brings. I LOVE being different and regardless of how many natural haired ladies are in one room they will all exuberate their own greatness/difference
One random realization since being natural: I do realize that the majority of “boys” not MEN but “boys”, LOL, don’t care for natural hair and would prefer the normal relaxed and long hair. But any guy that
deserves my love will love me NATURAL and all.
How would you describe your hair?
A: I have 4 something hair. Haven’t gotten the letter down yet, lol. My hair is extremely
fine but thick at the same time. How is this you ask? Well the diameter of my hair strands are very small
thus considered fine but the density of my hair is very thick. In other words, I have a TON TON TON of
fine strands all over my head thus giving it that Coarse look when it’s natural when in reality
it is really fine.
Oh and I have MAJOR shrinkage. My hair looks about 3 inches in the natural state but when stretched
it’s about 9 inches.
What is a brief description of your regimen?
A: I am extremely lazy when it comes to my hair because the thought of doing something to it makes me exhausted. When I was natural the first time around I changed styles every 2–3 days, was a product junkie, and etc. This go around my regimen is basically low manipulation. I rarely use shampoo to wash my hair. I co-wash 98% of the time. My products consist of coconut oil and shea butter. These are basically the only two products that I use on my hair religiously.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
A: Retaining length is all about protecting the oldest part of your hair. Keep your ends tucked in and away from the shirts that you wear. The ends are very easy to break off and will be the first thing to go to reduce your length retention. I normally just wear a wash-n-go the majority of the time because when
I do this my hair stays in an up fashion as opposed to down on my back. Another way to retain is to get
braids and sew-ins but you must still care for your own hair. Sew-ins are AMAZING at retaining length
because your hair is not being manipulated in ANY way. As a matter of fact I am contemplating getting
one for my Fall protective styling
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
A: The only mistake that I can think of currently is during the transition phase the second go around. See above transition section. Oh and also be careful when you use heat on your natural hair because there is indeed a thing called heat damage. I suffer from a small piece that is permanently straight in the back because of this.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
A: Really the most effective thing for my hair is to simply not do much at all. This would be virtually impossible if I was still relaxed but in my opinion that is one of the perks of being natural.….low manipulation….It is not necessary for me to do alot to my hair to keep it maintained.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: I’m on FB……..hit me up……………. http://www.facebook.com/ameka.catchings I add pics from time to
time to monitor my progress!!!