*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
D: Friends call me Dori. Other nicknames are MopTop and Boondocks (Huey). I’m a Cali girl…One of the many hippies in the Bay Area region of northern California. I am a college student majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Linguistics.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
D: I didn’t make a conscious decision per se. I never liked having straight hair and didn’t like the process of relaxers. I dreaded the days I had to get one for as long as I can remember. One day I woke up early and took scissors to my hair. It wasn’t premeditated at all. I literally stumbled into the bathroom and started cutting.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
D: I didn’t transition. It was a spur of the moment impulsive action on my part. It was April 2009 and I was 19 years old. At the time I was attempting to join the military and was going through a lot in my personal life, so leaving my depressing, flat, boring, straight hair behind was a sort of liberating and freeing action. I left the past behind me. I felt like a new woman with only an inch or less of hair. I didn’t know I was “going natural” until it began to grow out. I saw for once what I looked like with curly hair and also saw how exotic my race is naturally and how much it compliments all of my other African features. It was so much more versatile too. I loved my outward appearance more naturally.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
D: Wow…So many ways. During the journey of learning my “new” hair I became the type of person who actually loved and cherished her hair. I don’t need a hairstylist anymore to tell me what my hair needs. I can sense it for myself now. I actually care about it. Back when I had a relaxer, I absolutely hated my hair and the process it took to get it done. So much effort and stinky smells to get boring, straight hair that I hated. I know it may sound silly, but I have a relationship with my hair now. When I need to chill out and think, I do my hair! I don’t know how this relationship developed, but it is there.
My hair is also reflective of my journey of self-discovery. I became more in touch with what I really believe as my own faith rather than what I was taught of religious faith growing up. I became a lot more spiritual, a lot more confident, a lot more assertive, and have gained more perseverance towards my goals. I had to go through being the bald girl, the boy-ish looking girl, to the girl with the big hair that people of all races admire and call beautiful. My hair now represents where I was back then when I chopped it off to how far I’ve progressed as a person.
One of the best things about being natural is never needing to get my roots touched up!
How would you describe your hair?
D: My hair is very thick and dense. It is very tightly curled for the most part, but on the sides and near the nape I have fine, very, very loose curls. I’ve noticed that I don’t have the hair that easily locks despite how coarse, thick and curly it is. It isn’t very tangly (detangling only takes 5 minutes) and it is very manageable.
What is your regimen?
D: For the most part I just do what my hair tells me to. Right now I’m using Suave Professionals Black Raspberry and White Tea Shampoo and Conditioner once a week. I wash and condition with my hair sectioned off into 6 braids, detangle section by section and re-braid. I then rinse the conditioner out with cool water. I towel dry (not vigorously). I just wrap a towel around my head to prevent drippies. I apply oil to each section first. Either extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Then a leave-in conditioner or Shea butter depending on how I’m feeling. I am currently using Blue Magic Argan Oil Leave-in. Works great, great shine, and it smells LOVELY. I re-braid and let it dry completely (usually overnight) then I style. I usually style my hair in some creative rendition of a bun, but I’ve been loving twists on my current length. I spray my hair with water twice a day and put oil on top to re-moisturize.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
D: From about October 2010 til about February 2011 I blow-dried my hair after every single wash. I think that is the culprit of why I’m not retaining as much length as I normally had in past years. My ends were extremely dry. I don’t remember much breakage, but I did trim more than usual this year because I couldn’t take the dryness. Also I’ve colored my hair 3 times in 2.5 years. I loved the color, but I noticed that my hair sheds a lot after I color. I don’t like that at all. I’m currently growing my color out and avoiding heat tools.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
D: Getting it wet as much as possible, using minimal products, and bunning is the absolute best thing I’ve done. I swear giving the hair water, keeping it clean, and leaving it alone with the ends protected is key for a success story.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
Anything else you want to add?
D: I just want to tell everyone to be free with their change of hair. Have fun with it. Don’t feel pressured to do anything outside of what ultimately makes YOU feel beautiful.