What lead you to do the big chop?
Chopping my hair off each summer was sort of the ‘norm’ for me, but never had I done so and not texturized my hair. Last October, my daughter Imani decided that she wanted to go natural. Since I am a firm believer in the phrase ‘lead by example’ I felt it was necessary to fully support her and take the journey along with her. However, it took me until about February to begin the process of avoiding relaxers. At this time my hair began that awful tangling at the point of separation between my relaxed hair and new growth. Also, I began to notices my edges at the temples were thinning drastically! Later I had a great opportunity to further discuss natural hair with you and a friend. This conversation further motivated me to move toward the bc. I finally decided all the tangling and maintenance I was experience just wasn’t worth the hassle and bc’d it!
What natural hair myth has been debunked since you started your journey?
That people would look at me negatively. Most people I ran into immediately after I bc my hair approached me with lots of questions and curiosity in their eyes. As I stated before, I always cut my hair short and generally wore short styles of which I received lots of compliments; however, since the bc and use of several products the compliments just kept coming.
Most little brown girls have had relaxers since a very early age. How old were you when you had your first relaxer?
I believe my relaxer came when I was in the 4th or 5th grade. My dad was a cosmetologist; therefore, a chemical relaxer for them was the easiest way to go. If you hair got a little ‘nappy’ it was relaxer time! I remember when my dad came home from Cosmetology school with a mushroom like weave and a nappy beard – OMG! That is still hilarious to me to this day. But it was the beginning of a new phenomena! The straighter, the longer the better!
What are some of the challenges you are having in your natural hair journey? What have you done to combat those challenges?
Ironically, the natural hair journey has been one of excitement and new experiences for me! It has always been very important that I had a ‘kept’ look - neat and polished. So it has been of upmost importance that I am utilizing the product that works best for my hair and that the styles are becoming to my overall personality. Ultimately the largest challenge is the maintenance involved – since my hair is pretty short at this time. Finding a product that prevents so much shrinkage and last in finding looks that I can appreciate.
Often I hear a lot of frustration with natural hair, especially newbies. What are some of the positives about your journey?
I am not frustrated at all! I think I came in with the thought that I would have to struggle to keep it all together. I have very kinky and coily hair, so my impression was that my experience would be a very difficult one. But I will tell you something - I dove right in, made purchases of products that focused on moisture and curl definition. Once I combined those moisturizers and natural oils with the Kinky Curly ‘Knot Today’ and Curling Custard – that was all she wrote! So I am an excited newbie!
How has your new lifestyle change influenced your relationships? (significant other, co – workers, family, etc.)
Initially, I thought my boyfriend would not embrace the whole idea. He loves my short cuts and the ‘kept’ look as well. He hates wigs and weaves – but considering the alternative on a ‘bad hair’ day – he was cool. Now that I’ve gone natural, he actually states he likes it and that it fits ‘me.’ Now does he prefer it over my relaxed hair? I wouldn’t go that far, but time will tell it.
I wrote an article asking what comes first, hair or heels? In other words, does your fashion style influence your hair or does your hair influence your sense of fashion?
My hair definitely influences my fashion. Whether I have worn my hair relaxed, weaved/wig or natural – I think my hair dictates my attitude for the day and my choices in clothing as well. So for me definitely hair before heels!
|Yeah that's me on the right doing major celebrating for my birthday last year!|
Do you think there is a direct connection with self esteem and hair?
Definitely! This is something that I’ve been working on with my daughter. For her to decide to make a change and go natural at a time where weave and relaxers are the ‘thing’ to do – takes a certain amount of courage and self-love. It took her a moment to embrace wearing her natural – even after the bc. But now, she sports an afro, a Mohawk and whatever she feels on that particular day! I am so excited about this and happy that she is coming into herself. I have never been a follower of hairstyles or trends – I just do whatever I want depending on how I feel and there it is. That is what makes me happy. Of course, when you first step out there you are a little concerned about others responses, but then you recognize that it’s gonna be alright. You also come to the realization that people desire to do just what you have but were afraid to take a chance.
What advice can you lend to someone who is in the same step in their journey? (styling tips, state of mind, etc..)
Do whatever makes you happy! Flex your style! Step out on the edge! Motivate Others! Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
Freestyle: Anything else you would like to share….about hair or any topic.No matter what hair type you have, you have to find what works best for you. I grew up in a time where relaxers were the thing to do. Weaves were brand new and then came that Jerry Curl!!! Our people allow the media and social norms to dictate who they are and how they should look. It’s an unfortunate truth. Your style can directly affect your next job! This is why it is necessary to keep in mind where you are headed and find a way to make it all work – being natural does not mean your hair is unacceptable – what is does mean is that you may have to find styles that fit your day to day agenda. Continue to press the button. Natural hair intrigues many – don’t be so quick to assume that the change will mean a bunch of negative energy will flow your way. My experience has been the opposite.