*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
R: My name is Raphael. I currently live in Washington, DC. I’m a Graphic Designer at Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
R: I decided to go natural when certain hair products were reacting negatively to my scalp. The combination of relaxed hair and chemicals in hair products caused a dry and irritated scalp. Not cool Zeus
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
R: My transition began February 2009. At that time I had short, relaxed hair…That would be my last relaxer. After that I let the relaxer grow out.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
R: Going natural has definitely given me more confidence in who I am. I feel as though it fits my personality and style much better. I am also more aware of my hair regimen—what I put in my hair as well as in my body.
How would you describe your hair?
R: My hair is extremely thick. Quite often it has a mind of its own. Taming can sometimes be difficult to do, but with water and shea butter, it’s easier to manage.
What is your regimen?
R: For the past year I have used only raw, unrefined shea butter. In the mornings when I take a shower, I let the steam lightly dampen and soften my hair. I then apply a small amount of shea butter to my hair and rub through my scalp. If I feel my hair is dry any other time, I spray it with water and apply shea butter.
When I wash my hair, I use Organics Best Carrot Mayonnaise Conditioner. I LOVE the stuff. I also spray my hair with diluted apple cider vinegar. I have a mild case of psoriasis on my scalp, so I use a medicated shampoo every two weeks.
When I feel my hair needs a deep clean, I mix baking soda and my mayonnaise conditioner and apply to my scalp. It does a really good job of getting it clean.
I also eat avocados. They’re yummy and good for the hair.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
R: My favorite hairstyle is a natural afro. I’ve recently discovered that leaving it in this hairstyle for too long causes unwanted dreads. I’ve learned to only keep my hair out for a few days and then do two strand twists to prevent dreading.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
R: Best things for my hair are silk scarves, two strand twists, and shea butter. And avocados! I believe eating them is the secret nutrient for hair. I put avocado in EVERYTHING.
Anything else you want to add?
R: Peace, love, and avocados