S: I’m a hand-knit accessories designer, born and raised in St. Louis, MO.
Why did you go natural?
S: I’m natural because I was scared to make the decision to go relaxed. My grandmother is an old-school beautician, and she pressed my hair regularly. I wasn’t too familiar with a relaxer until middle school. I asked a few girls about relaxers and several told me not to get one because my hair would fall out. I also noticed that everyone who had a relaxer didn’t have bone-straight hair (that was the look I was always going for–shiny, bone-straight hair!), so in fear of breakage, and not knowing what my texture would be with a relaxer, I opted not to get one.
I went away to college and thought that I could be a kitchen beautician and take a pressing comb to my own hair. And not knowing the proper techniques on how to detangle, section, and press my hair, it was a horrendous experience. What should’ve taken 45 minutes took 2 hours. I ended up with a pile of broken off hair on the floor. And on top of that, my hair wasn’t even bone straight! India Arie and Jill Scott had just come on the scene, and I was inspired enough by women like them to wear my hair kinky. I was one of the only girls at my school with natural hair so I definitely had to do my own research. It was definitely a learning experience! I had to learn new ways of managing my hair, and styling techniques.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
S: I’ve grown to be very comfortable with who I am as a person, and what I look like. My hair is definitely a creative outlet for me as well with the numerous styling possibilities. It amazes me how natural hair is still so “different”, in that it constantly turns heads. I’ve also been able to build an amazing network of girlfriends who have similar interests as I do, beginning with natural hair. I look at beauty completely differently than I did when I was younger.
How would you describe your hair?
S: I’ve only recently started categorizing my hair, and I’ve got some 4b up top and 4c in the back. I honestly think that I have medium hair density, but it appears thicker because my strands are thick. My hair is coarse, and I have small spiral curls everywhere, except for the top of my hair, which is just…fluffy and soft I guess. My hair hates to be in its shrunken state because it knots easily. Because my strands are so thick, especially in the back, it takes consistent moisture and oils to make them feel soft.
What’s your regimen?
S: I shampoo my hair 1 to 2 times a month in large twists, with gentle shampoos like Aubrey Organics. I always add things to my conditioner, like oils and honey to give it some Oomph. I use whatever moisturizer that I’m trying out at the time 2 to 3 times a week, and use my own concoction of a leave-in conditioner + aloe juice + hazelnut oil several times a week to moisturize my hair when it feels dry. Henna is wonderful, and I make hair masks with argan powder and brahimi powder from time to time.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
S: I have learned through trial and error that my hair doesn’t like excessive combing, and it definitely hasn’t seen a brush since 2006. Seriously, I used to comb my hair before washing, during washing, and with conditioner. Completely ridiculous, because I will NEVER get a comb to glide with ease during my styling process from start to finish. Not this head of hair. I now comb my hair once a month, and I’ve experienced less breakage this way. I’ve also learned that I can’t blow-dry my hair every week either, maybe once every 2 months, if that. I wear twists because I enjoy them, for about 3 weeks out of the month. I have fallen in love with twisted up-dos. I notice the most length retention with gentle styling, and low manipulation.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
S: A true, shrunken puff is a no-no. I used to wear them daily, and was wondering why I was always pulling out small balls and knots of hair. My hair gets so tightly coiled that the strands just wrap around each other, knot, and break off. And I can’t even tell you the last time I tried to wash my hair when I wasn’t sectioned off! Honey, NO-NO! I won’t even be able to get to my scalp if I tried that now. I’ve also learned that I can’t add heat to my hair twice in the same week. I did that 2 years ago and had problems getting my hair to revert.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
S: My hair loves thick oils, like castor oil and hazelnut oil, and shea butter all year round. I add them to everything, and retain soft hair for days. And using my fingers to work through tangles, which has resulted in less breakage. Also, when I first starting wearing my hair in its natural texture, I tried to look for products that would manipulate it to give me a different texture (think, 4b/c to 4a texture). It’s impossible without the use of chemicals, but once I accepted my hair, it’s completely flourished. I love my hair.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
S: Yes, my blog: http://www.imfeelingmoody.com
my online shop: http://feelingmoody.bigcartel.com
and my twitter, @feeling_moody
I’m also Feeling Moody in the BGLH forum.
Anything else you want to add?
S: If you’re new to the natural world, it’s extremely easy to get over-whelmed with all of the different techniques and products. But your hair life will be much easier once you figure out what you want for, and from your hair. You don’t have to jump on every band wagon, and there is no magic product. Enjoy your hair, no matter the length or texture. Hair is naturally beautiful, so embrace what you have and enjoy it!