Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Je m’apelle Keisha. I’m in my early twenties, a newlywed, and lover of communication! Literally, I am in the process of earning my BA of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. But, I also love to talk! I am a natural hair LOVER and obsessed with attaining a healthier lifestyle!
How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
My two year naturalversary was on February 16th!!!!! Yaaayyyyy!! I’ve always wanted full, healthy, bouncy hair. I know, who doesn’t, right?! Wellll, after almost two decades of lackluster hair, a combination of factors led me to my decision to go natural. I met a few sisters with gorgeous kinky, curly tresses and began to wonder what products I could use to make my hair curly; then I saw “Good Hair” *shrugs*. Call me a bandwagon hopper, I don’t care. This is one bandwagon I’m proud to hop on and it’s influenced an overall lifestyle change for me! (Okay, I’m off my soap box). The final factor is that I realized that I could not afford my bi-weekly appointments at the shop, so I officially became team natural. Well, at least, I started my journey in May of 2010.
Did you transition or big chop?
I did a big chop and a mini big chop! In my second year of college (winter 2009), I found a beautician (shout out to my fellow naturalista Mary C for my inspiration) and I did my first big chop, but had a relaxed style a la Harry Berry. I had a decent work study gig and was able to maintain my appointments for a while (September- April). But, eventually that relationship fizzled (along with my income; ahh the life of a college student) and I decided to take my hair into my own hands.
I can’t really remember the exact day, but I believe my last relaxer was in March or April of 2010. But, I still kept flat ironing my hair. That May, I went on a study abroad trip to China and this was really the turning point for me. I was extremely jet lagged for the first few days (or maybe just lazy!) and barely got up in time to dress and make it to class, let alone style my hair So, I began letting my hair air dry with Let’s Jam gel and scrunched it to make it “curly.” My transition was rough because my hair was so short to begin with, I couldn’t wear my hair in buns or updos. So, I had to do Bantu knot outs and slick backs. I really didn’t know of much else to do with hair that didn’t involve heat. So, I would just set Bantu knots every night and, when I forgot to do that, I would slick it all back with Jam gel. Sadly, I didn’t read many blogs back when I was transitioning, because that would have truly helped. But, when I finally chopped the last of my relaxer off in February, I found the natural hair blog community and slowly but surely got on the right track!
How did others (family, friends, colleagues) react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? How do they feel now?
Ha! Let’s just say my family was not the biggest fans and did not hesitate to ask had I lost my mind on a regular basis and inquire when I was going to “do something” with my hair. I am a bit of a rebel at heart. So, while this hurt a little, it was a huge part of my motivation. I wanted to show everyone that I wasn’t crazy and that they would soon understand the method to my madness! Many of my friends made the decision to go natural around the same time or had already been natural. So, I had nothing but support and encouragement from them! Now I’m not saying my mom and grandma were rude about it, they just knew what they were used to.
My hubby has always been my biggest supporter. Since we started dating in April of ’09, he has seen me go through countless style changes and always reminded me that I was beautiful even in my lowest (and roughest) moments. So, when I decided to not only cut my hair completely off with my Halle Berry look, but then stop relaxing it all in one year, he never spoke against it. And, aside from good-hearted teasing, he was always my biggest fan and supporter!
Now that I’m two years in, I think everyone sees that I’m in it for the long haul and my mom and grandmother are not so vocally against it. I can tell they are warming up to it and I think my mom and baby sis are coming over to team natural!
What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle? How did you overcome it or what are you doing now to try to address the problem?
My biggest challenge is dealing with dramatically different textures in my head and extremely fine and fragile strands. This has led to A LOT of breakage and much frustration for me. But, I’ve stuck with a pretty consistent routine, incorporated protein, and started maintaining a good pH balance by using aloe vera gel/juice in my moisturizer/styler. I also try to avoid wash-n-go’s and, recently, I have had great success with protective styling!
What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
Gosh, I feel like there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said and made cliché!! I guess the biggest things are the versatility, health of my hair and I must say that it has taught me tremendous patience and forced me to have self-esteem that originates within. Oh yeah, I can’t forget! My husband LOOOVEESSS my hair! He’s watched the transformation and, while he never got too excited one way or the other before I went natural, now he loves my twist outs and puffs and can’t keep his hands out of it!
What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
- Pre-poo with oil mixture on hand (usually EVOO, JBCO, coconut oil, plain castor, and jojoba — a combination of any of these), covering with baggy and leaving either overnight or, lately, just for a few hours.
- Deep condition with mixture of either Aubrey GPB or Honeysuckle Rose as the base and Aussie Moist 3-Minute Miracle, L’Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Conditioner, and yogurt. I may eventually try these all on their own and use only one or two, but for now I love them all and the combo has done wonders for moisturizing my hair.
- Co-wash with As I Am Coconut Co-Wash or Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Conditioner.
- Dry with a t-shirt with wet hair pulled to the front and twisted (thank CurlyNikki for the idea) under the shirt.
- Using LOC method, split in four sections, and apply Kinky Curly Knot Today, then Olive/Almond oil mix, and finally Hair Food (shea butter mixture — found at local store called Akente Express, Denver).
- Finally, I do chunky twists with homemade flax seed gel to stretch my hair and do my protective style of choice for the week.
I try to henna once every 3 months at least. But, now that I’ve discovered bentonite clay, I may cut back so I can experiment with color later.
I just started this routine in the past few months, but before this I was all over the place! I did twist outs every night, tried Curly Girl for a while, and probably tried every product Curly Nikki or Shelli suggested, but now I think I’m on to something.
What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
Tresemme Naturals Conditioners
Aubrey Glycogen Protein Balancing (GPB) or Honeysuckle Rose Conditioners
Flax Seed Gel
Aloe Vera Gel
Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle
EVOO, coconut, castor, and jojoba oil
What is your “go to” style (share a picture of it, if you have one!)? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
Lately it’s been the basket style (?) — hair parted down the middle with a jumbo flat twist on each side — or the poof. Before December ’12, my go-to was the twist-out. But now I just take bobby pins and twist it up or do variations of old school pompadour styles.
How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it (salon, DIY, straight, curly, in twists)? If you go to a salon, would you recommend it?
Well, I recently purchased a pair of shears. So, my goal was to dust twisted hair once every 8 weeks. But, I haven’t done it lately out of fear, lol. I really only trust the wonderful beautician who did my mini-big chop and freed me from the last of my relaxed ends; she can trim curly or straight! The shop is called Mykal Grant and I go to Tonya. It’s located in downtown Denver.
Has going natural impacted other areas of your life (i.e. health & fitness, style, environmental consciousness, etc.?) If so, how and in what ways?
As I stated earlier, when I went natural I became more conscious of what I was putting, not only in my hair, but what I was putting in my body. I can’t say that I’m doing much better about eating healthy, but I have been drinking water only and taking baby steps at a healthier lifestyle overall. I have never let my hair stop me from being active. I just fried it straight, dirty or not, ha! But now, I really don’t worry about it and working out is a breeze, because it helps me get heated DC’s and pre-poos!
Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Do I??? Gosh there’s a whole list lol. Shelli, of course. CurlyNikki, Mahogany Curls, Fusion of Cultures, Chime, Whitney aka Naptural85, and Corinne Bailey Rae, to name a few!
Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
CurlyNikki, Hairscapades, MahoganyCurls, Naptural85, Fusion of Cultures … too many to list, lol!
I’m not that active yet, but my goal is to get better, lol!
What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Don’t do it for anyone but yourself. Be reasonable with yourself in regard to hair growth and, most importantly, be patient and appreciate every moment of your journey!
Anything else that you’d like to add?
Thanks for the inspiration and platform! You are awesome !
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