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Alicia // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Oct 15, 2011

Introduce yourself!
A:
My name is Alicia and I’m currently living in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Seattle (tha 20sickness, holler). I spend much of my time working for a solar energy company here in the Bay Area.

Why did you go natural?
A:
In a lot of ways I’ve felt that I’ve had a “natural” rebirth, or second chance. I was natural for much of my adolescent life. Besides a Jheri curl in the early 90s (before we knew any better) I had been natural for most of my life.

Circa 2003–2004, with shoulder length hair, my hairdresser was “done dealing with your thick hair”. A woman whose work I respected dearly had been trying to convince me for at least a year that it was time to get a relaxer. Against my mom’s wishes, and my own better judgment, I succumbed to getting my hair chemically straightened. For whom? For my hairdresser so that she could cut her chair time in half.

I wore a relaxer for 2 years. My hair looked good for prom, but between May of 2005 to May of 2006, the health of my hair had significantly declined. Enough was enough when my hair began falling out in handfuls in the shower.

The transition was not easy. Here is why. I was completely ready for the “big chop”, but apparently no one else was. I had to speak with two different hairdressers before I could find someone that was willing to cut my hair. One male hairdresser refused to cut my hair because he stated that he did not want to be the one responsible when I realized I had made a mistake. I’ve read that many people transition by wearing protective styles and trimming their hair as they go. I am not certain that I knew that was an option when I made my transition. I just knew that I wanted it all off.

In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
A:
The summer of 2006 was an interesting time for me. I had just made it through my first year of college. I thought sophomore year would not be much different. When I returned to school with my short tresses, I had no idea how much other people had thought I’d changed. Through the grapevine I started hearing things like, “Is she lesbian now”? Not to mention, the “serious” boyfriend that I had been dating for a year prior to that ended the relationship just 2 months into sophomore year. Through my isolation however, I was able to form community. As my hair began to grow, it became increasingly necessary for me to find a role model to teach me how to work with my hair texture. Being raised by Caucasian parents, I immediately turned to Youtube for answers. To my utter amazement, there was a whole community of women who were also becoming familiar with their natural hair textures, post CJ Walker era.

How would you describe your hair?
A:
I would say that, if you choose to use a hair scale available via a search engine, I am probably in the range of a 4B-4C hair texture. I have a small section near the nape of my neck that is closer to 3C.

What is a brief description of your regimen?
A:
I wash my hair every 1–2 weeks depending on hair style, activity level, time. I have been known to use Dr. Bronner’s soap as a shampoo followed by a shea butter conditioner, or perhaps some coconut oil. I was a product junky in the past and have tried many different types of shampoo and conditioner, but am trying to bring it down to the basics. Either way, my rule of thumb at this point is to choose product based on the idea that the fewer the ingredients the better. Also, it’s important for me to be able to pronounce the ingredients that I am putting on my hair, and in my body.

How do you retain length and moisture?
A:
Typically you will see me wearing 2 strand twists. In recent weeks I’ve dabbled with braid outs and sock buns. I have also experimented with making my own natural hair butters through online research. I’ve found that my hair has retained moisture as a result of this process. Whenever I handle my hair, I try to make sure that I have some product on my hands to keep down frizz but also to keep my hair quenched and keep from snagging ends. Future Goals: keep my ends tucked a bit more with all of the styles I use.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
A:
I was unnatural for about 2 years of my life (2004–2006). Also, in the past I was much less gentle with my hair. I make an attempt to finger comb for some styles to keep hair loss to a minimum.

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
A:
Moisturize. I also limit the amount of time I spend touching my hair. Once it is styled or pulled back, I leave it that way until it’s time to style again.

Anything else you want to add?
A:
The photos I have included are a very rough timeline of my hair growth since my BC July 2006. It’s hard to believe that its been almost 6 years! I’m now curious to see how long I can get my hair to grow. I haven’t made a conscious effort to grow my hair until about the last year – I think that by continuing to wear protective styles and keeping my hair healthy, I will see significant growth in the next few years.

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Durelene aka Dee
Guest

BEAUTIFUL hair and natural. people tend to reject what theh dont understand SUCKS for them.

Kg.sunshine
Guest
Kg.sunshine

I love it! Ppl are so small minded. I’m grateful/thankful that you were able to press forward regardless of their negativity. When I first cut mine all off, I didn’t get a good response either. Well, you have beautiful hair!

selma
Guest
selma

Love her natural hair.

Jemi
Guest
Jemi

ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

Ms. Information
Guest
Ms. Information

Wow, your hair is beautiful!!!

TINA SMITH
Guest
TINA SMITH

she’s so pretty, on another note i can’t wait to be an icon on this site give me about a year or two PROMISE

Neesha_Cherie
Guest
Neesha_Cherie

+1

Me and you both sister!

E
Guest

I love that side bun picture. I might try that this week for work :).

JP23
Guest
JP23

SO PRETTY!!!!!

anastasia
Guest
anastasia

Gorgeous lady and gorgeous hair!!! So lush looking=)

Flora Gabriela
Guest
Flora Gabriela

I am Brazilian and my skin color is white, but all my features are black and that includes nose, hair, forehead etc. I’ve suffered through my whole childhood because I was neither black nor white and now I have finally embraced my “blackhood” and stopped straighning, relaxing etc. I am natural but it was a cruzade to find a hairdesser that was able to accept the idea of chopping my damaged hair off and no matter how ugly I was with it they always seemed to think I would be happier that way. Brazil is a country with a very… Read more »

ScrewyHair
Guest

Beautiful hair, Alicia! I’m glad you didn’t let anyone stop you from rediscovering the awesomeness that is your natural hair.

@Flora Gabriela: Isn’t it tragic how black people the world over still act as obstacles to the progress of other black people? SMH. Best to just ignore them and enjoy being who you want to be. Soon, though, they’ll come around 🙂

Flora Gabriela
Guest
Flora Gabriela

Thats’s really sad, but not for us for them. Being black is sometimes seen as a curse for some and they complain sooo much because of prejudice and still they act all prejudicious when they consider you not to be black enough for them. I raise the question: How black is black for black people?? 😛
We must be happy for having discovered how beautiful and different we are. :))))))

tinabobina
Guest
tinabobina

Flora Gabriela, your story is awesome. I’m glad you embraced who you are, and I hope that you continue to stay strong despite all the ignorant comments.

EG
Guest
EG

Flo, hello. I am very happy that you are now comfortable with yourself. But before you continue with your rant against black people,I wonder if you would you have been so open to proclaiming your blackness if your other features matched your skin complexion. The black community has always been the resevoir for anyone who ever felt rejected, but as soon as that person is accepted by mainstream society, they turn their back on us and then start to look down on us; for that reason, we are very careful about who we embrace.

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

@ Flora — I am new to this blogging thing, and realize that I am months late to responding to your story, but I think that because this is an ongoing movement and cause, it is never to late! I have been to Brazil and even after visiting, as an American, it was difficult to understand the varying degrees of race in your country. It is interesting to hear your perspective regarding hair as it relates to race in Brazil. Thanks for your reply!

LBell
Guest
LBell

“Circa 2003–2004, with shoulder length hair, my hairdresser was “done dealing with your thick hair”. A woman whose work I respected dearly had been trying to convince me for at least a year that it was time to get a relaxer. Against my mom’s wishes, and my own better judgment, I succumbed to getting my hair chemically straightened. For whom? For my hairdresser so that she could cut her chair time in half.” This just broke my heart. SO glad you were able to get around and past that. The main reason why I went natural was because I needed… Read more »

Flora Gabriela
Guest
Flora Gabriela

I had the same problem with stylists in Rio de Janeiro and now I have luckily found one that fits me and knows how to deal with my persistent hair haha. It’s very important to trust the professional. Every time I enter a hairdresser to get a hair cut or something they look at me, get scared and say: I don’t know how to deal with your hair sorry… That’s incompentence written all over their foreheads…I had to learn how to work with it alone actually and I just go to the hairdressers for a cut ( I take the… Read more »

Evah
Guest
Evah

you are so beautiful and you have beautiful hair

Evah , from Paris

Erica
Guest
Erica

Your hair looks so pretty, and it’s healthy. It’s also good to see 4b/c women holding it down :).

smallfro
Guest
smallfro

Wow, my dream hair length. You go girl.

Antoinette Stewart
Guest

Lovely! You have very pretty brown eyes! And your loose twist outs are amazing!!!

tinabobina
Guest
tinabobina

Gorgeous hair, Alicia. There is something serenely beautiful about you, can’t put my finger on it.

GERI
Guest
GERI

you are absolutely gorgeous. one of the most gorgeous girls ever! no offense lol that’s just my opinion. i love your hair!!

Kaila
Guest

I saw your picture in the email & thought, “Hey! She looks familiar!”
We were at Forest Ridge at the same time… I know Seattle feels small, but it seems even the natural hair community is too! 🙂
Looks like you’re doing well! Your hair is beautiful!!
Take care!

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

Hi Kaila! I’m just seeing this message now! I am trying to be more proactive with this blog — my new years resolution. LOL FR, I can’t believe it! It’s good to know you’re part of the BGLH community 🙂 Happy New Year!

Neesha_Cherie
Guest
Neesha_Cherie

Love this!! I didn’t really care for alot of volume, but recently I’ve been reconsidering and her hair just sent me over the fence!! I want big hair now!! Lol.

nappy headed black girl
Guest

The intro pic is killing me softly *drool*

Lila Mandela
Guest
Lila Mandela

WAH! I love your hair! AND I LOVE LOVE LOVE SOLAR ENERGY! could you tell me a little more about what you do? I’m a mathematics major at FAMU, I’d really like to learn more about the solar energy industry and how I can get involved in making advancements in different forms of renewable energy~ Could you e‑mail me? PLEASE? lmandela91@gmail.com

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

Hi Lila 🙂 I’m making a big apology to everyone for my sever delay in responding. I’m not used to maintaining a blog! Thank you for the hair compliments — it helps me to stay encouraged because it’s a lot of work. And yes! Solar! I’ll go ahead and send you an email to discuss further..

Bianca
Guest

What a beautiful & strong spirit you have…inside and out!

Jasmine
Guest
Jasmine

Yay Seattle!!! lol. (born and raised). Your hair looks beautiful.

Michelle Hubbard
Guest
Michelle Hubbard

Such beautiful hair

Patricia Kayden
Guest
Patricia Kayden

So hopefully in a couple more years, my hair will look half as beautiful and luxurious as Alicia’s (wink wink). A girl can dream.

Monzi
Guest
Monzi

I hate it when you have short natural hair, people automatically assume your a lesbian…

You don’t know how many times that happened to me, it’s annoying

Monzi
Guest
Monzi

[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/022–1.JPG[/img]

Rae
Guest
Rae

I love your hair! It’s so wispy and wild, absolutely beautiful!

Roxanne
Guest
Roxanne

Your Hair is Beautiful!!!! I do want to ask you though. What gauge is your labret piercing. I’m totally digging it, Subtle and understated!!!

Alicia
Guest
Alicia

Hi Roxanne 🙂 Thanks!! It’s been a while since the piercing, but I want to say that it is either a 14 or a 16 gauge?

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