Where do you live?
L: Sadly, I just moved out of Hyde Park in Chicago, to Ohio — I still rep Hyde Park though!! 🙂 I work for a program called Upward Bound tutoring students who will be first generation college students. Our mission is to prepare them for the unfair world out there… basically I have the privilege of working with extraordinary kids who have not given up on personal success. I love my job!
Why did you go natural?
L: I decided to go natural in August of 2008. I remember sitting on my bed in my room crying many times over. My long, once full hair was breaking off, it was becoming so brittle and thin. I knew I couldn’t continue to kill my hair anymore with heat and relaxers so I decided it was time to be natural. I went through the pain of having new growth with awkward straight ends and in the Spring of 2009 decided it was enough. Sitting in a chair in the middle of my sisters apartment, I had her cut off 7 inches of straight hair. I didn’t want to cut it off, but my curly/straight look was quite whack…like whoa.
Honestly, I was terrified. There is such a silly stigma out there about Black women and short hair… But after a month or so, I started noticing how precious my curls were. Curls were forming and not being held down by the straight hair…there was some bounce and movement that I never experienced before. It was like I had to experience the power of hair and truly see myself.…with hair, without hair, with straight hair, with short hair…it was a journey…and necessary.
How would you describe your hair?
L: My hair is thick. I have a lot of it, but each strand is medium to fine in texture. The curl pattern is tight, but the longer I have been natural the more it has loosened. Not drastically, but I notice it. My hair LOVES moisture. The curls thrive on moisture so every day, no matter if I wash it or not, I have to apply some type of moisture.
What’s your regimen?
L: I wash/condition my hair every 2 days. I only comb it (with a wide tooth comb) while there is still a substantial amount of conditioner left in my hair. Then after I rinse, I don’t put a comb, towel, or anything to the curls because they frizz my hair and undefine each curl…not good. So immediately after I rinse, I take my product of choice — which right now is a Dove Oil..so surprising, I know!! But it is SO light yet so moisturizing, I have to give them props! My hair loves it…it keeps the curls light and curly! I use my fingers and run the Dove product through my hair. I then will lightly put a towel around my hair to catch any excess water. After 5–10 minutes I take the towel off. In the summer, I air dry. In the winter I’ll use a blow dryer on cool and blow it out…(the dryer my hair is, the bigger!!) Sometimes I’ll coil my hair around my fingers if I blow dry it…not sure if it makes a difference, but I do it!
At night, I sleep in a ponytail — I rarely have breakage…I make sure my hair is dry before I sleep. To reinvigorate the curls the next day, I just shake out my pony tail, and add more moisture — I use the steam from the shower to help wake the curls up. Then I put some more Dove oil on the curls…Honestly, I think my hair looks better on the 2nd and sometimes 3rd day. 🙂
How do you retain length and moisture?
L: Surprising, sleeping in a ponytail and making sure my hair is moisturized throughly — yet not heavily gooey with product…keeps the length and keeps it moisturized. The dryer (meaning less wet) my hair is the longer. If I want a fro with less curls, I can pick it out and really get some length. A few times I have done two strand twists. As long as hair is dry when I take the twists out and moisturized properly that will lengthen my hair too. But I am SO low maintenance, I rarely do that. If I wasn’t hair lazy, I would do more twists.
Do you have color in your hair? What brand do you use?
L: I do have color in my hair. I wish I knew the brand, but I don’t. I use any “black” hair color product that has caramel or honey blonde in the name of the color…so funny! Now that my hair is really healthy, and I know how to moisturize it properly, the boxes of hair color don’t damage my hair. I wouldn’t recommend color for those in transition — just a personal opinion — let your hair focus on transitioning..once it’s healthy (and you’ll know — go for it!)
I really only apply color like once every year. The sun takes hold of it and keeps it changing…I just like to use color to help some of the curl definition stand out.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
L: The majority of mistakes I have made with my hair happened during my relaxer periods. I wish I would have gone natural earlier — that is one BIG mistake! Another is… I didn’t get a trim for two years while initially transitioning. My hair seemed so healthy so I didn’t even think about it…so silly of me. I know now that naturals need trims too. It helps it to grow and stay healthy.. For me, a good trim is necessary 2 to 4 times a year 🙂
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
L: YES! I just started one, so there isn’t much on there yet…http://lydsnaturalspot.blogspot.com/
Anything else you want to add?
L: There is no one way to have beautiful natural hair. Because God gave you your hair — be proud of it — embrace it and see how you feel! It’ll be amazing. I promise. 🙂