*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
A: My name is Alicia. I currently live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I’m a high school student currently in the 11th grade.
What is the natural hair scene like in Edmonton?
A: I’m sure it’s different all over Canada, but here in Edmonton the natural hair community is insanely small. We have a very large Caribbean and African community, but the natural hair phenomenon has not caught on yet. Everywhere you turn you’ll either see a weave or a wig or a relaxer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just what I’ve noticed.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: In junior high, I was bullied hardcore over my skin color and my hair texture. So to relieve some of the bullying I decided it was a good idea to get my hair relaxed. When got my first relaxer in the 7th grade I thought my hair was going to flow down my back and be just like all the other girls’ hair. But was I ever wrong. My hair ended up being dry, stiff and kept getting shorter and shorter due to breakage. Every morning after I did my hair, I looked down and the bathroom floor covered in broken off hair. So after 2 years of trying my hardest to make it work, I finally realized it was never going to. After much research and deliberation, I finally got my Mom to cut it all off in February 2010.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
A: I stopped with the creamy crack for about two months (during that time I was straightening my hair every morning) and then put in some box braids in December 2009. I kept those in for about two months. The day after taking them out I cut off all my relaxed ends and was officially natural!
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
A: Natural hair tends to catch the eye of people who aren’t used to seeing it, so I get waaay more attention than I used to. I get asked about it all the time, which is nice. Also I feel like my natural hair compliments my personal style much more than straight hair would. Having natural hair has also pushed me to use more all-natural products for my hair and body.
How would you describe your hair?
A: My hair is 4C in the crown area, 4B on the sides and in the front, and 4A in the back. I’m always doing braid outs because the texture differences make my hair look like it’s all different lengths. The strands themselves are very thin, making my hair breakage-prone.
What is your regimen?
A: About once a week I’ll wash my hair with Tashodi Argan Shampoo and condition with Tashodi Creamy Argan Conditioner. I detangle once in the shower with my fingers and again when I get out with a paddle brush. I apply my shea butter and olive oil mix and braid it up! Every night I spritz and re-braid.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
A: For moisture I’ve tried many products, but shea butter always does the trick and lasts the longest. But for length, I don’t do anything specific.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
A: This one time I tried trimming my own hair. I ended up taking off way too much (about two-three inches) and one side of my hair was noticeably longer than the other. And another time I tried straightening my hair. I used a lot of heat protectant, but I still got so many split ends.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
A: Sometimes I like to go a week and a half or so doing nothing but updos, and that helps my ends recuperate.
Where do you buy your hair products?
A: Things that will be washed out I buy at Wal-Mart (shampoos, conditioners) and things that will be left in I buy at the health food store. I try to support small businesses as much as possible, but sometimes the prices are way too up there.
What would you like to see in Edmonton in terms of hair care?
A: I would love to see people of all colors and hair textures love the hair they were born with. It seems that people with straight hair want curly and vise versa. Because of this, we do so much unnecessary damage to our hair such as relaxers and perms. Also, it would be nice to see people move more towards natural hair care products such as olive oil and shea butter. It’s much better for the environment, our hair, and our wallets.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: You can find me on nowyouknowalicia.tumblr.com
Anything else you want to add?
A: Don’t let other people’s opinions dictate what you do.