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Nefertiti // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Feb 26, 2012

Where do you live? Where you reppin’? What do you do?
N:
I represent Queens, but was born out in Brooklyn.  These days, I live in Los Angeles.  I originally came out to L.A. for college (USC– fight on Trojans!), and I’m still here!  I am a producer, and have been working in showbusiness since I graduated.

I am also certified as a personal trainer.  My focuses are CrossFit and weightlifting, and I just started competing with my weightlifting team, last year.  I will be getting my coaching certification in Olympic weightlifting, this spring.  I realize that producing TV and weightlifting have NOTHING to do with each other, but what can I say?  I have unusual passions.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
N:
I’ve been perm-free since birth, so originally, it was my mom’s decision.  I’m just glad that once I was older and making my own decisions, I agreed with her, and realized that there is nothing wrong with my hair the way it grows out of my head.  To this day, the idea of relaxing my hair makes me so uneasy, I break into a cold sweat every time I pass a box of Just for Me at the drug store.

When and how did you transition into natural hair?
N:
I never did transition, technically, since I’ve always had my ‘fro.  As a kid, my hair was always a pretty decent length, because mom always took care of it for me.  I lived in cornrows, and my hair stayed in pretty good shape.  At the time, we didn’t know of terms like “protective styling” and “low manipulation,” but that’s more or less what we did.

When I left home for college, that’s when my hair really began to take some abuse.  Thanks to dye, bleach and blow drying, my ‘fro got shorter and smaller, pretty quickly.  I knew nothing about the importance of moisturizing, and my hair stayed dry and brittle.  Though I more or less stopped dyeing my hair after college, it didn’t improve much, because I continued to use a blow dryer, and I didn’t know how to moisturize or detangle, properly.

My hair didn’t appear to grow for years, but I didn’t think much of it, because I quite liked the look of a shrunken afro.  I’d get braided extensions or cornrows here and there, when I could afford it, but I still didn’t really know how to care for my hair in a way that would allow it to thrive.  I just accepted the breakage and split ends as part of having afro-textured hair.

One day in 2010, I was chatting with a friend about how I’ve never really had a haircut in my whole life, just a couple of trims.  I then thought to myself, “Shouldn’t my hair be a lot longer, then?”  I made a decision that I wanted to grow my hair longer, and stumbled across the plethora of resources on the internet that could help me along the way.  Sites like BGLH and YouTube were game changers, for me.

So, I guess you could say that I did “transition,” in a way, because I transitioned from a complete lack of hair care practices to proper hair care practices.  While it has been a process, and I’m still getting it completely sorted, my hair is no longer mad at me.  In fact, it’s the happiest, healthiest and longest it has ever been.

In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
N:
Switching from not caring or worrying about my hair to taking care of my hair properly has been empowering.  People often say “it’s just hair,” but I don’t agree with that at all.  Taking on the task of trying to grow my hair longer may, indeed, sound trivial, but succeeding in it has fostered greater confidence in myself for much more daunting tasks.

In the literal sense, yes, of course it is just hair.  But, there was a time that I thought that my hair simply could not grow longer.  After taking the time to research and learn about caring for my hair, I’ve realized that I could’ve done this any time I wanted, so long as I was armed with the proper techniques and information.  Whether it’s my hair, my career or attempting a really tough lift at a weightlifting meet, I always remind myself that the first step to achieving anything is assuming that it is possible.

How would you describe your hair? (In terms of texture, thickness, behavior, etc)
N:
My hair texture varies, throughout my head.  For the most part, I have kinky, curly strands, that are about the size of a pen spring, but some sections that are wavy or have a much looser curl.  Some of my individual strands are thick and some are fine, but the density of my hair, overall, is average.  My hair strands are deeply in love with one another, so they love to wrap around each other in tender embraces (in other words, they TANGLE), but I have learned to work with my hair so that I can keep the tangles at a manageable level.

What is a brief description of your regimen (please include the products you use)?
N:
First, a couple of disclaimers: I don’t really use the word “regimen,” because I really just have more of a routine, than a regimen.  I don’t have a regimen of any particular products, because I believe firmly that what matters most are hair care practices, not products.  Besides, I haven’t used any product(s) with enough regularity to credit “Conditioner X” with any of the length I’ve retained in the last two years.  The only thing that can be credited is my dedication, patience and hard work.  So, until I’m on the payroll for the folks who own Conditioner X, I remain a big believer that what you do is way more important that what you buy!

Now, having said all of that, my routine is actually pretty boring.  I wash my hair every 2–3 weeks, and in the past couple of months I’ve been skipping the shampoo and washing with conditioner, because shampoo really just does nothing good for my hair.  I also limit my use of combs, because I experience less breakage when I detangle with my fingers.  About once a month, I do a henna gloss to keep my hair strengthened.  I was henna-phobic for ages– not to mention I couldn’t be bothered with the mess.  But, I gave in, and I’ve found that it’s the only thing that helps to reduce my breakage noticeably.

When it comes to styling, I pick style that will last me one week, minimum, but usually 2–3 weeks.  I confess, I live most of my life in 6–8 “Celie braids,” so I’m being charitable when I call what I usually do a “style.”  To look presentable, I’ll put my braids in a bun, rock a phony afro puff, wear a headwrap/turban or even wig out, on occasion.  Once or twice a year, I’ll do some kinky twists to spice things up.  I also want to get my flat twisting game on point, so I can start doing some cool updos.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
N:
All of the years I spent mistreating my already dry hair by yanking a blow dryer on HIGH and HOT through my ‘fro so I could rush out the door are behind me.  I know so much more about caring for my hair now, that I cringe when I think about the kind of things I used to do to my poor strands.

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
N:
Detangling with my fingers is a big one.  It is time consuming, but I hope to be 100% comb-free by the end of this year.  At this time, I haven’t used a comb since early January, so I’m very happy about that!  Also, I haven’t used a blow dryer since May of 2010, and I’m diligent about keeping my hair moisturized and stretched.

Avoiding heat and keeping the hair moisturized are beneficial for obvious reasons.  Keeping my hair stretched is important because it reduces the opportunity for my strands to get together in one of those tender embraces, I was talking about earlier.  I see a lot of lovely ladies who are ride or die wash and goers, which is fantastic; but, the idea of doing a wash and go on my hair gives me night terrors.  (The tangles!  The dryness!  Nooooo!)  So, I stick to protective styles.  They make my life easier, and I love how they look.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
N:
I have a Tumblr blog, called Hair It Is, and I’m also NappyHeadedJojoba on YouTube.  You can also catch me in the BGLH Forum, of course!  I’m the one to blame for starting the Protect Ya Ends Challenge, we have going on, right now!

Anything else you want to add?
N:
Much to my own surprise, I’m a finalist in the 2012 contest for America’s Next Natural Model.  Voting is still open, so I’d love it if the BGLH nation could help me bring home the title!

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Kaycee
Kaycee
8 years ago

Hey thanks for this post. I have been natural my entire life as well. (Always that awkward pause when people as me when / how I transitioned) I have had one hair cut ever just because my mom made me. My breakage is uncontrollable. I moisturize constantly and it still is brittle. My hair in its longest section is around 6 inches stretched the shortest area is in the back ( ranging from <1 in to about 2 inches because I suffered from some hair loss (doctors don’t know why but I suspect folliculitis). Do you have any tips for… Read more »

Dee
Dee
8 years ago
Reply to  Kaycee

@Kaycee, a good idea is to add sealing to your moisturising regimen to keep the moisture inside your hair, rather than drying out. I seal with castor oil, and it makes a really big difference. Also consider doing prepoos, before you wash your hair. It’s an indian practise, that really helps deep condition hair and protect it from the harsh chemical cleansers in your shampoo that can strip your hair dry. You can use an oil like olive or coconut oil, or even a mixture like Vatika hair oil which consists of coconut oil and various herbs (available online or from… Read more »

Nefertiti
8 years ago
Reply to  Kaycee

Hi Kaycee! I’m sorry you’re struggling so much. First off, I think you should see a doctor to rule out anything internal, since you alluded to a possible medical condition. Without knowing the details of your hair care routine, I agree with a lot of Dee’s recommendations. Having an effective way to moisturize your hair and to retain the moisture in your hair (“sealing”) is imperative. I also agree with Dee’s suggestion to try doing a “pre-poo,” before you wash your hair. I’m a big fan of using coconut or Vatika oil (which is coconut oil on steroids, with lots… Read more »

Kaycee
Kaycee
8 years ago
Reply to  Nefertiti

Thanks Dee & Nefertiti for your suggestions. I will definitely try to seal more efficiently. I don’t think I am doing it correctly because my hair feels dry and brittle again after 5 minutes. I have tried to go to doctors but they seem to honestly not know which has been frustrating for me. I’m just trying to deal with what i’ve lost and grow the rest as much as i can to cover up the missing space. I will also try washing my hair in braids i think that might help. I am currently using my fingers to detangle… Read more »

Alisha
8 years ago

Loved this!

anastasia
anastasia
8 years ago

Beautiful!

O0oro0O
8 years ago

GORGEOUS !! I love everything necklace, earrings, lipstick, head wrap, the hair accessory well A‑MA-ZING and of course you and your hair are too =)

Marta Daniels (@Marta_Daniels)

Beautiful! I am currently 4 months post, into a non BC transition, so I love reading about natural ladies!

Alexandra
Alexandra
8 years ago

Welcome Marta, You’ll enjoy reading a lot of stuff here on BGLH! Good luck with your transition ( =

Nefertiti
8 years ago

Thanks for all the nice words, you guys!

Honey
Honey
8 years ago

wow, she is absolutely STUNNING!!!! What a beautiful motivation for all sistas 🙂

Yvette
Yvette
8 years ago

Yay for another Trojan feature!! Fight on! Love your hair 🙂

shannon
shannon
8 years ago

I need a headwrap tutorial. Awesome post. I’m re-inspired.

Nika
8 years ago

she’s beautiful and so is her hair!

lina
lina
8 years ago

wow shes really beautiful — im going to update and vote for her! Great article…

Madison
Madison
8 years ago

Fight on! I’m a sophomore at USC studying broadcast journalism. It’s always great to see Trojans representing 🙂

Amma Mama
Amma Mama
8 years ago

BEAUTIFUL!

Nefertiti
8 years ago

Thanks again for all of the lovely comments!

Tiff C
Tiff C
8 years ago

This was a great post. And I am especially excited to see that Nefertiti is a Crossfit trainer and oly weight lifter. I am also a crossfit enthusiast and you don’t see black women in crossfit boxes very often. Also, I love the hair styles in the pics. I am a rinse and go type of girl but I think I need to get out of my normal natural styles and get more creative. Thanks for the post!

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