*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
E: My name is Elizabeth. I am a Jersey Girl, a Wyoming Cowgirl, a Florida Gator, and a Georgia Peach. I am a wife and a mother, so that means I pretty much do everything and it’s a joy! I also do a lot of writing because I’m working on a PhD in art history at the University of Florida.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
E: My quarter‐life crisis, which was basically me waking up one day and realizing that I had not reached the milestones that I set for myself. I wanted to be published, finished with school, tenured, running a small business, and training for a marathon. I realized that there was nothing done – only bits, pieces, and phases of things. Going natural was something I had always wanted to do. I stopped and started transitioning at least three times. But in the middle of my “crisis” I looked in the mirror and was not satisfied with my hair. It was time for a change.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
E: I got my last relaxer in the Spring of 2009. By Fall the raggedy unruly stringy mess was out of control so I got two‐strand twists with extensions. I kept them in until December (rotating them every few weeks at the shop). Unfortunately, when I tried to take the twists out my hair was a matted tangled mess. Any growth I had attained was lost. I had to cut the twists off in December 2009.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
E: Ditching chemicals has simplified my grooming routine. It’s not easier, just simpler.
How would you describe your hair?
E: I would say my hair is thick and kind of wooly and soft. The texture is hard to describe because it’s different all over. In others’ eyes it’s unreal because by the end of the day I have to tally how many people ask me if my hair is real. I get some of the nastiest side eyes after I respond.
What is your regimen?
E: It took me a year to figure out which products worked best for my hair and I’m glad that I did not give up through the frustrating (and expensive process). Once a week I detangle with Suave Almond + Shea Butter Conditioner. I get it at Sam’s because I go through a lot! Once detangled and in sixteen sections I wash, condition, and style with Kinky‐Curly products. I air dry as much as possible, but I usually have to use the diffuser too.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
E: I am very methodical and slow when I wash my hair. Once I apply the Curling Custard I keep my hands out of my hair until it’s dry—not even a towel. I retain length and moisture by making sure that my ends and edges are protected at night and my hair is steamed in the shower in the morning. I think I retain the most length by just leaving it alone. I rarely style my hair. The only manipulation it gets is at night to apply Kinky‐Curly Perfectly Polished before I pin my hair up. I only trust my sister‐in‐law to braid or twist my hair at this point in my life.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
E: I thought I had to deep condition the way I saw others do, but it didn’t work for me. It added an extra step of manipulation, which led to broken hairs. Also, I’ve learned to take the advice of others with a grain of salt—just “Nod & Smile”.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
E: I leave it alone between washes. I do not manipulate my hair unless it’s wet.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
E: My Blog: http://afroartnerd.blogspot.com/, Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AfroArtNerd, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/afroartnerd, Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/afroartnerd, and I’m on Instagram: afroartnerd.
Anything else you want to add?
E: Thank you BGLH! I literally did not know how to comb my hair when I started this journey. I appreciate what y’all do!