F: Hey there! My name is Funmi and I am an 18 year old originally from Nigeria. I currently live in Austin, TX as a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
F: Funny story actually…I decided that I wanted to have natural hair at the age of 14. Prior to my decision I had relaxed hair since I was about 6, partly because the decision was up to my mother and also because I wasn’t aware of any alternatives. When I became cognizant that relaxed hair was a choice and not a necessity, I decided that I would try that alternative. I started paying attention to the very few natural people that I saw in school and the media. I loved the volume and length that I saw in their hair. I also loved the way my hair looked right after I took out cornrows and wished I could keep that big hair. The big push that caused me to go natural was that at this age, I was at a stage where I wanted to “find myself” and desired to do anything that would set me apart from those around me. In a culture where relaxed hair was incredibly prevalent, having natural hair was one way that I could achieve this goal.
Looking back, I think this was pretty shallow and now this has pretty much backfired since the “natural hair movement” began right about this time. Having natural hair has become much more common. Despite my self-centered intentions, I discovered that I love my hair natural simply because it feels right to me. I am glad I’ve learned to take care of my hair the way that God gave it to me. I am happy that I am able to embrace the beauty that he naturally intended me to have despite the opposition that I may encounter. I don’t have to worry about getting my hair wet, if it looks straight enough, if it is lying flat enough on my head, and even about combing it everyday. Despite my happiness with my own decision, I am a firm supporter of black women wearing their hair in a manner they feel suits their lifestyle/personality/personal taste. I transitioned for 15 months and I have been completely natural for 2 years and 8 months.
How would you describe your texture?
F: To be honest, the hair typing thing confuses me, but I think that I have 4b/4c hair. I have the typical “African hair” texture…hair that’s so tightly coiled it couldn’t be any more coily. My strands are medium sized and according to every single hairdresser I have ever been to and every friend I have, I have high density or thick hair. For some reason, I like to tell myself that it is medium density since it’s all I’ve ever dealt with before. My hair also grows fairly slow. Instead of growing at a pace of 6 inches per year, I discovered that I get 4 inches of growth per year.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
F: After washing my hair, I set it for a twist out. I wear that twist out for as long as I can (usually about 2 weeks) then when there is absolutely no definition left, I pull my hair into a low ponytail or bun and leave it there until I’m ready for another wash. I’m pretty bad about adding products to it during this time. I usually add a little of my leave-in as needed during the course of the month. This is my routine because I like to keep things simple, but I have to keep my hair stretched.
What does wash day look like for you?
F: Wash day comes with much dread. When the day finally comes, I have already been procrastinating for a few days prior. Anyways, I separate my hair into six sections before washing. I take down the sections one at a time, wash it, then put it in a twist. After washing each section, I do the same process again with conditioner. While I condition, I detangle each of the six sections one at a time with a wide tooth comb. Then I rinse out the conditioner. I then put my leave-in conditioner in and do a twist out. My twist out method is the same that Napural85 uses in the Twist Out 101 video. I make about 25 flat twists on my head and take them out the next day. I have been playing with shampoo and conditioner combinations lately, but my staple is Crème of Nature Sunflower and Coconut Shampoo and Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Deep Conditioner. I also use kimmaytube’s leave-in conditioner recipe (on youtube) minus the aloe vera juice.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
F: I must admit that I’m a rather simple girl. For me, this means a ponytail or bun.
How do you combat shrinkage?
F: I keep my hair stretched at all times. I repeatedly wear twist outs.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
F: I have a tender area between my crown and nape due to a scalp burn from a relaxer when I was about 10. My hair is more sensitive and slightly thinner there. And by thinner, I mean that it’s probably normal hair density instead of high density.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
F: Regular moisture is a pretty big do. My hair is naturally dry…and I mean REALLY dry. Even after I moisturize it, it’s still pretty dry. This makes me believe that I may have not perfected this aspect of my hair care regimen, but I’m on my way! Also, keeping my hair stretched is a must!
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
F: Wash and go’s are a HUGE don’t. If I want to keep my sanity during detangling sessions I have to keep my hair stretched at all times. My hair is just too long to wear it in its afro state anymore. Combing my hair too often is also a waste of time and hair. I usually comb it once every 2–3 weeks whenever I wash it (I know it sounds crazy). Lastly, I have to be careful with heat. I have straightened my hair twice during my natural hair journey. My last encounter with the straightening iron was November 2011. I used the highest heat setting on the Babyliss Straightening Iron (I believe this was 450F). I used heat protectant and had a cocky attitude that my hair would come out fine. Unfortunately, I got some permanent heat damage and humbling from this experience. Oh well, you live and you learn! And on the bright side, blow outs seem to not affect my texture at all!
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
F: Follow me on Tumblr at http://oluwafunmilayo.tumblr.com/ where I talk about my journey with Christ. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1st Peter 3:3–4