*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
Nicole was originally featured on November 24, 2010. I followed up with her to get an update on her regimen and find out how her hair journey is coming along.
N: My name is Nicole. I currently live in the Bronx, but I rep Brooklyn always!!!
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
N: I was embarrassed and frustrated with the condition I had allowed my hair to get in. Caring for my own hair without a weave had become so foreign to me. It weighed on me so heavily that it was beginning to affect my confidence and self esteem. I didn’t feel as beautiful without enhancements. So I started researching ways to repair and grow my hair back long. You know how they say the fastest way to a destination is always a straight line? For me, growing out my relaxer completely was my fastest route to getting my hair long and healthy! So I stumbled into transitioning lol.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
N: I started transitioning maybe around March of 09. I was already a few months post relaxer. I remember being so doubtful and scared! I know it’s just hair, but I was always raised to care and cherish all that I was given and not take it for granted, so not caring for my hair and hiding behind a weave had just taken its toll on me. I had all these questions and concerns. Not knowing that there were so many others like me. I discovered the hair boards and learned the many options I had with growing my hair out. Ugh! It was such a relief! To say the least!!! So after hot combing my hair (yes comb on the stove over an open flame and all) for the first month or two I moved on to half wigs. They allowed me access to my hair to wash and Dc weekly. I was deliberate and never strayed from my weekly deep conditioning! No Breakage was going down on my watch!
After I got my regimen together I felt confident in my ability to care for my hair and decided to go back to sew ins and utilize them as my transitioning style. I could really put my blinders on and transition long term! I lasted a little over a year in total! I Bc’ed April fool’s day of 2010. The plan was to trim the relaxed ends as my roots grew out. So the 1st chop took maybe 75–80% of my ends off. I weaved my hair back up until June of 2010 when I rid myself of the remaining ends, had a bowl of courage, and braved the world with my natural hair in a puff! The idea was so epic to me! I hadn’t worn my natural hair since I was 2yrs old!!!! (again don’t judge my momma k?)
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
N: Natural hair is nothing short of an obsession for me now! The YT tutorials have replaced my television completely! I blog about it for hourrrrrsss! Days at a time even! I’m on so many hair oriented sites!!! I’m completely consumed with the culture and community that has developed around it! I’ve met some really awesome positive friends (s/o to Gabby ^_^) all because of hair! Oh and am I fancy? 10 fold! To me, big natural, curly, coily hair is just fancy!!! It’s like the equivalent of back in my Junior high school days, getting your hair styled in shirley temple curls for the prom…everyday!!!
How would you describe your hair?
N: So with all the naturals I indulged in on YT I had quite an expectation for this curl pattern of mine! I wanted a fro on its way to Leela James!!! Just hefty and obnoxious. I sooner learned that my actual hair strands are more on the finer side IMO, and there’s not as much hair per square inch as I would like. So my fro may appear big, but it’s quite wispy. Think a down jacket or duvet…along those lines lol. It puffs up quite full and fluffy, but scoops together quite easily and compact. The perimeter of my head has the finer hair and the center to middle are thick and tend to be more prone to dryness. The nape is satin like, easily manipulated and hangs the longest. The top and bangs on my left are more elongated and carry more of a wave than a curl. And the right side…perfectly formed coils that are extremely springy!
Imagine my frustration with trying styles like a wash n go! Even a twist out took me like 6 months to execute on my hair! A braid out is still in the trial with much error phase. Its debut is sorta doubtful lol. But the styles I have had success with make me totally appreciate the hair that I have! I’m just waiting for the length to arrive…any day now ^_^. I haven’t quite figured out its porosity. I’m a bit confused with that particular characteristic.
What is your regimen?
N: I don’t do much or venture off with trying many new products. For most of my journey I’ve used the Curls line of products. The coconut shampoo as well as the clarifying one and their conditioner. I’m over spending $10+ on a single hair product that doesn’t last past a month, so I’ve moved on to Herbal Essences Totally Tousled (dark purple and green bottle) simply because it’s more accessible, more affordable, and I love the smell. Also the conditioner has awesome slip for my hair. My leave in has been Kinky Curly Knot Today faithfully, and also the Kimmaytube recipe.
As far as styling goes, it’s Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel. My new loooovvve has been the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Hold Smoothie — 12 oz.
. Took me quite a while to make it work for my hair, but it’s a staple now! On to my oils, I use a mix of castor oil with everything! Its thick, sticky consistency controls my frizz and flyaways all the while giving me shine and that freshly washed/wet look. So it’s usually 50/50 castor oil with either olive or coconut oil. Pure shea butter and I are only in the dating phase. IDK if it has potential for something long term lol.
My routine is simple. I do everything on an as needed basis…which most times translates to washing weekly. However I’m not as committed to deep conditioning as I once was. I tend to take hours just to detangle and wash that I can hardly make it to deep conditioning. I prepoo with olive oil, spritz with water and divide into workable sections to detangle. My shampoo is diluted in a spray bottle with 50% water and equal parts conditioner. I work section by section in the shower. I always dry my hair with a tshirt, apply my leave in and proceed to twist my hair into about 15 twists. In the morning I coat my fingertips with with olive, coconut, or shea butter to undo the twists and fluff it. That is all! *yawn* I know lol. Like I said very basic! I don’t do much! Barely know how to flat twist properly! But I’m excited about continuing to learn ways to care and style my hair.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
N: I’d like to think my routine is semi low manipulation…since I’m not that good at styling. I rock a twistout fro, a puff, or the front in a ponytail with the back loose. When I’ve exhausted those options I get a sew in or get some Senegalese twists. Both styles tend to stay in up to around a month or two. If I notice my ends are feeling frayed and ratty I dust my ends. I moisturize when I refresh my hair nightly with the same products I use to set the style. Other than that, I spritz as needed with water.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
N: I’ve played it safe for most of my journey and was able to avoid any set backs…until recently. I wanted to take a break from my hair so I got some Senegalese twists. It was my second set and I knew better than to put them back in so quickly! Like I previously mentioned my strands are fine even more so around the perimeter of my head, so with this last set my edges suffered the most. I had foresight that this would happen, but ignorantly still went through with getting them done. I rationalized that my “baby hairs” aren’t actually baby hairs because they grow so fast and are pretty long, figuring that if I did experience some hair loss in those areas I could live with it. Umm…no! I had to give myself the ultimate pep talk to stay positive and not get bummed out about the results from such a poor error of judgment. The change isn’t obvious at all until I point it out and compare older photos of my hair to current ones. Now I’m not at all saying that extensions or braids are bad! I just should have better assessed what MY hair can handle. Lesson learned! Oh and also…don’t ever be afraid to voice exactly how you want your hair to be handled when paying for a service! If the person is a professional and values their customers they should oblige without a fuss. If not, find someone else to give your money to!
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
N: Tucking it away! If I’m patient enough to keep my sew in for 1–2 months growth is noticeable! Granted now that I’ve gotten acquainted with my natural hair it is much harder to resist the temptation, and taking out my sew in is sooner than
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
N: I’m all over, but you can primarily find me on http://hi-imcurrentlyobsessed.tumblr.com/. And I update my fotki frequently http://public.fotki.com/licklems83.
Anything else you want to add?
N: I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story, again ^_^. I love interacting with fellow naturals and invite all to visit my Tumblr to showcase their natural flyness and the diversity of natural hair. Transitioning can be terrifying, but seeing inspiring naturals may help in realizing just how awesome, and in some cases life changing, embracing your natural hair can be. Wow that’s a bit heavy…but it was proven true for me lol.