Hi my name is Nicole! I am a 26 year old craftpreneur living in the Washington, DC area although I’m originally from New Haven, CT. I am a jewelry and accessories designer that loves art and creating. I am also extremely passionate about youth empowerment and advocacy, specifically with underserved young teenage women. I am currently in the process of developing a mentorship program for young woman of color—African American, Latino, Asian, biracial women etc.—that promotes self empowerment and high self esteem.
When did you go natural?
I went natural about 4 years ago, just 2 weeks before my 23rd birthday. I had been rocking a short Halle Berry/ ole’ school Toni Braxton’esque haircut for about a year and knew that if I wanted to go natural then that would be the time. So as I begin to let me hair grow out, I just let it grow out in its natural state and I haven’t looked back since. Wearing my hair natural was more than just me accepting my hair as it was, it was also an opportunity for me to begin living a more wholistic lifestyle.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
As I mentioned before, going natural was a way to encourage me to live a much more organic and wholistic lifestyle. I began to slowly change the way I thought about life and living as whole. I began eating much healthier foods. Over time I began to use only natural or organic products on my body and hair. I started to rid myself of a lot of “over the counter” medicines and begin healing my body naturally and organically. It not only changed the way I looked on the outside, but it transformed me on the inside as well, spiritually, mentally and physically. I was much more excited about life, had so much more energy and grew much more confident in who I am as a young woman of color. Being natural has also helped me to see the beauty in everything and everyone. Each one of us is totally unique to another. No one has the same hair, the same body shape, the same nose, the same personality, gifts etc. But we’re all beautiful with whatever it is that we have. The beauty is in our uniqueness, not our similarities.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair is totally independent and does whatever it wants to do when it wants to do it no matter what I do to try and stop it! LOL Seriously, my hair changes depending on the weather mostly. So I can have this gorgeous defined braid out and go outside and it will look totally different than when I left the house. Once I started to realize that my hair totally has a mind of its own, I stopped fighting it and just let it do what it do. 🙂
What’s your regimen?
For about the past 6 months I’ve been mainly doing wash and go’s…this goes along with my theory of letting my hair do what it does. When washing my hair, I generally do it at night so I don’t have to use too much heat with diffusing and stretching my hair. I’ll usually wash it or clarify it with an ACV rinse or use a bentonite clay mask every other week. In between washes I’ll cowash it with Yes to Carrots Conditioner. After the wash, I moisturize my hair with an oil, either coconut oil or vatika oil. I’ll go behind that with Kinky Curly Conditioner (this is my staple of all staple products!) and then to help to define my curls I use the Goddess Curls. I let my hair dry for about 1–2 hours then I put it up in a high bun, go to sleep and take it down in the morning. I always have so much shrinkage so the bun helps to stretch my hair a bit at night while I sleep. About once a month I’ll deep condition my hair. I’ll either use the Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque or I’ll concoct a mask with some ingredients in my kitchen—usually mayonnaise, olive oil, an egg, and avocado.
Sometimes to switch it up, I’ll do braid outs on my hair using the same product routine as above. I’ve learned twist outs do not work for me! I’ve tried and tried again, but they never look good on me. So I generally just stick to the wash and gos or braid outs.
How do you retain length and moisture?
I always try to moisturize my hair at night before I go to bed. I’ll spritz a little water on it and rub coconut oil or vatika oil through my strands. I also always sleep on a satin pillowcase and wrap my hair with a scarf at night. I’ve been really scissor happy since I went natural and very rarely do I let my hair grow past APL length…so retaining length is not a huge goal of mine.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
Too many! The very first mistake that I made, and it took me awhile to realize this, is that my hair is not like everyone else’s. What works for someone else may not work for me and that’s okay. Being natural is a learning process. For so long we only knew how to take care of our hair in a relaxed state or straightened state. So we knew what products worked for us then. Now that we’re natural, it’s like a relearning process. You have to learn what works for you with your new head of natural hair. Sometimes it takes a while, some trial and error, but before long you’ll get the hang of it. It took me about 2 years into my natural hair journey to really figure out what my hair likes and doesn’t like. And even now products that once worked on my hair no longer work. The biggest lesson that I’ve probably learned in all of this is to listen to your hair. You know when something wonky is going on with your hair. Pay attention to that and heal your hair according to its needs…it’ll love you back for it!
What is the best most effective thing you do for your hair?
Honestly, just let it be. I don’t try to change my hair into what it’s not. It’s not super wavy, it doesn’t have long hanging spiral curls, it doesn’t flow in the wind, it’s a little bit kinky, and it’s not always soft. But that’s my hair and I’ve accepted it for what it is. I just give it as much love as I can.
Is there a blog/webpapge we can find you?
Yep, you can keep up with me here http://tynisenicole.com