Where do you live?
G: I currently reside in the Boston area, however was raised in Queens, New York and I was born in Jamaica. I moved to the Boston several years ago for my studies. I am currently pursuing my PhD in sociology.
Why did you go natural?
G: As a young girl getting a relaxer was a rite of passage in some ways. It made me feel more grown (LOL). Well, in college I felt that wearing my hair naturally would be a rite of passage into my adulthood as far as my aesthetic appearance was concerned. I didn’t remember what my natural texture was like and wanted to experience wearing my hair naturally for at least one year in my twenties. Also, I would drool anytime I saw a fro or a puff. I realized how silly it was fawn over someone else’s hair as if I didn’t have the same kinks and coils growing out of my scalp.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
G: It was 2004 and I was a junior in college when I started my transition. There weren’t Youtube channels and only a few forums so I didn’t know about the wonderful transition styles that I could have tried. I rocked ponytails and buns most of the time. I planned to transition for at least a year but late one night after a eleven months I couldn’t wait any more and did the big chop.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
G: I learned to place less value on what others think of my physical appearance. I got a few negative reactions when initially I cut off my hair that I had to learn to brush off. After 7 1/2 years of being natural I have also learned that my natural hair enhances my appearance and complements my features. In short, if I feel beautiful it shouldn’t matters whether or not others feel that way.
How would you describe your hair?
G: My hair is kinky-coily. For those who use hair typing I fall within the “4” type range. A few patches of my hair curl when wet but most of my hair takes on a cottony appearance and shrinks about 75%. My hair seems pretty thick but I actually think I’m at average density. I think I have a mix of medium and thick strands which makes my hair appear full.
What’s your regimen?
G: I now wash every other week with a non-sulfate cleanser. I pre-poo my my hair with oil and a conditioner and wash my hair in twisted sections. I usually twist my hair in medium twists or air dry in large twists and style later. I wear mostly protective styles and moisturize my hair every other day with a water based moisturizer.
How do you retain length and moisture?
G: Low manipulation and low maintenance is key! I only use a comb on wash day when my hair is loaded with conditioner and oil. Because I’m on a bi-monthly wash schedule that means there are several months where I’ve only picked up a comb twice. I wear protective styles that can last two weeks with minimal touching up so that I manipulate as little as possible. I try to moisturize my ends 3 to 4 times a week.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
G: In July of 2007 I flat ironed my hair into oblivion. I would touch up my hair daily (sometimes twice a day) with my flat iron set on 450 degrees. After two weeks of heat styling I washed my hair only to find my hair was straight, limp and fried. I slowly cut off the straight ends over the next year.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
G: Only combing my hair when it is coated with conditioner or at least a leave in moisturizer has been key to my length retention. For me, dry combing my hair is equivalent to a hair cut. The moment I realized that I saw the inches pile on.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
G: I have a Youtube channel called Beautifully Made devoted to my hair care practices.
Anything else you want to add?
G: I was natural for 5 years before I “got it”. If you’re struggling with your hair consider tweaking a practice. It took me a while but eventually it got easier. I believe it will for you too!