*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
B: My name is Brittanie! I’m originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana but I’m an army brat so I’ve lived all around the globe. I currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia. I work as a producer at a radio station in the greater Atlanta area. I’m also an independent documentary filmmaker, and freelance writer and videographer. (And I’m a recent Temple U grad! Go Cherry & White!)
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
B: The decision to go natural for me was really out of financial necessity at first. I’ve been able to do my hair since a young age, but with university and other responsibilities came more time and money constraints. I couldn’t pay anyone else to relax my hair, and I honestly didn’t feel like doing it anymore myself. I also had close friends experimenting with their own natural hair so I thought it was a better time than ever to give it a go.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
B: A month after completing my sophomore year of undergrad I BC’d. My hair was probably about an inch long.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
B: Honestly, I didn’t think it would be as big of a deal as it turned out to be. I haven’t had many hair issues in my life so when I went into this it was more of a, “It’s hair, it’ll grow back, just not straight,” thought process. After I cut it I received a lot of negative attention, but it wasn’t from people that I expected it from. Some of my family members really didn’t take to it well and that hurt. After the first two weeks a close family friend convinced me to ‘texturize’ my hair so it would “lie like Halle Berry’s”. That was probably the worst day of my newly natural experience and I cried in the chair.
A week later my mother went to get her hair washed and straightened on a whim at a salon she’d never previously been to. The woman there was natural and so beautiful, so I told her my story. She IMMEDIATELY sat me down and gave me advice, then cut my hair AGAIN to get rid of that texturizer. My hair was snap short then, but my aunt (who’d had a battle with cancer and lost her hair) served as my biggest inspiration. I vowed to never let others’ opinions sway me about my hair; I’ve been going strong for two and a half years now.
How would you describe your hair?
B: If you ever need a pillow replacement my hair is IT (LOL). It’s extremely dense and thick so even on my most matted and shrunken days I still feel like I have lots of volume. Don’t get me wrong though, matting is bad and I definitely pay for skipping a day or two of detangling. I’d say it’s not so tightly coiled in some sections (the front, crown, and back half), and more tightly coiled on both sides. It also retains lots of moisture.
What is your regimen?
B: Right now I’m using Shea Moisture’s Black Soap line of shampoo and conditioner. I shampoo every two weeks, condition whenever I see fit. I use unrefined shea butter as my main butter mixed with Kinky Curly Knot Today as a leave in, and Spring Valley Coconut Oil or Proclaim 7 Oil to seal in moisture. I find that less is more with my hair, and what I’m doing has been working so it’s all right with me.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
B: I’m not a big protective stylist at all; I prefer wearing it out and big which means I go through lots of tangles and things of that nature. I think the key to retaining my length is making sure I sit down and go through my hair every few weeks to twist, and recognize ends that need to go. My hair is like a sponge, so moisture is not really hard for me to keep. I just make sure I get a good seal on it after washing and conditioning and it’s good to go.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
B: My biggest mistake was being lazy with my hair. Being natural wasn’t as low maintenance as I thought it would be, so I got behind with its maintenance. This led to strenuous detangling sessions that wouldn’t have been so bad if I stayed on a tighter schedule with my hair. That period of time taught me a lot about my hair’s behavior though, which I think is the best lesson.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
B: Not to TOUCH IT! I had really bad hand in hair syndrome for as long as I can remember (even back when I was relaxed). A scalp massage every now and then is beneficial for me, but I added a lot more dirt to my strands by touching it so often. I’ve broken the habit for the most part, and I can tell because my styles last longer when I take the time to do them.
Anything else you want to add?
B: For anyone thinking about going natural, I just give you my words of encouragement. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in regard to my personal health and well-being and I think it could be for many others. Feel free to ask me questions if you have any!