*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
T: My name is Terese. I live in Dallas, Texas. I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri. It will always be my home. I’m 20 years old and at the moment I work at a shoe store. This summer I’ll be in school working on my Associates degree in Communications with the hope of one day having my own radio show and then from there be a host on MTV.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
T: When I was younger I always wanted to fit in with everybody else, and the best way to do that was to have straight hair. So I would always ask my mom to put a relaxer in so I could have long, bouncy hair like the other girls I went to school with. I was always praised by others who found my long hair alluring. I loved the attention I was getting, so I kept my hair straight. Then one day I realized I was sick and tired of looking like every other black girl; I was tired of blending in.
I knew my natural hair was beautiful and there was no need to cover it up by putting harsh chemicals in it and using heat to keep it straight. Once I started wearing my hair natural, which was right after I graduated high school I started to influence others to go natural and that made me so happy to see friends of mine go natural and go on the journey with me. There was a sense of empowerment and embracement to start loving what I had been given.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
T: I transitioned about 2 years ago and instead of doing the Big Chop I did the Long Term Transition. And I did it on accident. We went to Florida about 2 years ago and I always wear my hair in its natural state so I don’t have to worry about the humidity ruining my straight hair, but I wasn’t taking care of it properly.
Instead of combing through my hair while the conditioner was in it to prevent breakage I would just wash my hair, barely use any conditioner and just go about my day. I would also sleep on it without using any sort of protective styling. When I returned home and finally combed through my hair and straightened it I noticed that my hair was uneven. With that being so noticeable I had to go the salon and ask them to make my hair even again and the only way to do that was to cut my hair into an asymmetrical bob. This would be the first and only time I’ve ever had my hair that short. I literally had 2 inches of hair in the back. It was horrifying, but my hair came out cute none the less. So, when I cut my hair that short I didn’t realize that I had chopped the rest of the relaxed ends off so when I went natural it was a much easier process.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
T: Going natural has had an HUGE impact on my life. It’s given me a sense of identity. I know who I am because of it. I love myself more than I’ve ever had. I’m more carefree and happy because it just feels so amazing to inspire others and embrace everything beautiful about ones self. My hair is a lot healthier and made me more conscious about what I’m putting in my hair and my body in general. It’s a wonderful thing and possibly the best decision I’ve ever made thus far in my life.
How would you describe your hair?
T: My hair has a combination of textures. It’s very curly, but also frizzy. The two textures give me a curly fro look which I absolutely love. With the help of a leave-in conditioner, I can keep the curls from frizzing when I’m out in the elements. In length, my hair isn’t that long but it’s very thick. Normally my hair sticks to its curl pattern but every so often it does its own thing, which can be very frustrating. But that’s only when my ends haven’t been properly cut.
What is your regimen?
T: I do a wash-n-go by washing my hair with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration and combing through the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner or I might use Organix Acai Berry Avocado Shampoo and the Organix Acai Berry Avocado Conditioner. Depending upon which one I have more of is usually how I pick. I only shampoo every 3 weeks and I condition when I start to lose my curls and need to refresh my hair. Also when I’m done cleaning my hair and conditioning I SQUEEZE my hair with a towel or paper towel (paper towel works best) till my hair is just damp. When you squeeze your hair you are maintaining the curls and keeping the frizz out. After that I use Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Leave-In Conditioning Cream to keep my curls and block out the frizz.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
T: I retain length by getting braids or twists and sleeping with a bonnet on. I also sleep on a satin pillow to prevent breakage. I moisturize my hair by using Africa’s Best Super Grow, It’s the only thing that works for me.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
T: 4 huge mistakes I’ve made have been not moisturizing my hair properly, not getting it cut on time, not wearing protective styles and not combing through my hair while I had conditioner in it. I’ll never do those things again. My hair was so damaged before I got more educated on how to take care of my natural hair.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
T: Braids are by far the best thing I’ve ever done for my hair. It grew so much than before and it was a lot healthier when it was protected from the cold weather.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
T: Most definitely! You can follow me, and others on our journey at http://www.kinkyandproud.net.