*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
N: My name is Nikki. I’m currently living in Duluth, Georgia and reppin’ Jackson, Mississippi. I am a Certified/Licensed Massage Therapist.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
N: I decided to go natural because I was so tired of getting burned by perms and my hair was starting to get really boring. It was time to try something a little bit more appealing to my personality.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
N: I started my transition September 2009. But my plans were not to wear my hair in its natural state. I was still getting it flat ironed and didn’t have any thoughts of letting my kinky curls come out to play. So the first year I was flat ironing and wearing sew-ins.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
N: Going natural has affected me in such a positive way. It made me realize how I was hiding behind my hair. For years I was thinking I couldn’t go natural because I would look like a boy or my hair wouldn’t look right because it is too thick and coarse. It is totally opposite, I tried it and love it! If anything, going natural has built my confidence higher than anything. Also, it has given me so much patience. Before this, I did not want to spend a whole day on hair and most definitely didn’t want to spend half a day in a salon chair. I love doing my hair and don’t mind playing in it all day.
How would you describe your hair?
N: I don’t do the hair typing thing because a number really can’t describe all the patterns that are going on in my head. I would describe my hair as being very thick and very coarse. My hair in the back and sides are the kinkiest and always the driest. I have to put more product in those areas than others to make sure it gets enough moisture. The crown and front of my hair are not as tight as the back and are very soft and manageable. I have A LOT of shrinkage. I tend not to do “wash n’ go’s” because of how bad my hair shrinks.
What is your regimen?
N: I wash my hair every two weeks and that is only if I didn’t use too much product. If I have used several different products, I will wash once a week. I wash my hair with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo or Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo. I deep condition every time I wash my hair with either Aubrey Organics HoneySuckle Rose Conditioner or Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner. At times I may add Honey and Olive Oil to the conditioners.
The leave in conditioners I use are Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia, Oyin Handmade Hair Dew, Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk or Kinky Kurly Knot Today. I also use Aloe Vera Juice with most of these products. Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil & Shea Butter is used to seal my hair. Just depending on what I am looking to do for that day is what I will put in my hair. I put this last because I don’t do it often, but when I feel like my hair is really in need of moisture…CO WASH…the conditioners I may use are Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Suave Naturals Coconut Conditioner or Vo5 Moisture Milks Conditioner.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
N: I retain moisture in my hair by making sure I pay attention to what my hair LOVES. Which means, I watch how it reacts to products and how it acts in the weather when I use those products. Not only that, I keep a journal so it can help me to remember exactly what I used for that day.
I retain length by making sure I do protective styles and also keeping those ends moisturized. I tend to wear my hair in twists or braids during the week and let my hair out on the weekends. If it is out during the week, it is because I have something to do for that evening.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
N: GETTING A PERM AND KEEPING IT FOR SO LONG!!!!! LOL and flat ironing my hair as much as I did when I transitioned. I had a lot of heat damage and when I did my big chop, I really couldn’t tell what my hair was doing, so now I shy away from heat. Too afraid that I will lose my curl pattern. I blow out my hair probably every 4–6 months, but haven’t flat ironed since May 2010. Also coloring my hair, and not doing the proper maintenance to take care of my hair.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
N: The most effective thing I do for my hair is making sure I keep it moisturized and twisting it up as my nightly routine. It is a breeze when I do that because I am keeping my hair stretched. When I don’t, my hair doesn’t act right and is very hard to manage.
Anything else you want to add?
N: I just want to say, I love wearing the hair that I was born with. Also, if you are considering going natural or you are transitioning, do it because you are trying to be you and love yourself. Don’t do it because you see others and hoping your hair looks like theirs. If it doesn’t, then you may get discouraged and decide that it isn’t for you. If you go in it like you love yourself and you are beautiful with or without hair, you will appreciate it. Like I said before, my hair has given me a lot of patience and more confidence. I have been loving every aspect of myself ever since I have been on this journey!!!!