Category Archives: All HairStories

Natural Hair Journeys: Keisha’s HairStory

Standard

POOF
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!

thenandnow

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!

STRIPES

What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
Wash day:

  • 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
L’OReal EverCreme
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.

pomp

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!

Where can we find you online?
Twitter: keishIScurli
Love, Hair and Health: http://lovehairhealth.blogspot.com/

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 :)!

MOHAWK

**********************************************************************************************************

Want to share your HairStory? Then find the HairStory that applies to you here, answer the interview questions, and e-mail them (with 5-10 pictures) to hairscapades@gmail.com!!!  

About these ads

Tales of a Transitioner: My Henna Transitioning Story

Standard

hennatransitionstory

Usually, when we refer to transitioning, we are talking about gradually growing out a relaxer. Sometimes we are talking about heat damage. Well, for me, it was growing out henna-loosened* curls.

If you have followed Hairscapades for a while or have read my Henna and Me HairStory, you know that I experienced SIGNIFICANT curl loosening from henna. I was doing frequent, full strength, whole head applications from June-December 2010. In January 2011, I started to do roots only, full strength applications and a henna gloss (i.e. more conditioner than henna) on my length to keep the color and conditioning benefits of henna without the excessive loosening of my curls. When I say roots only, I mean that I apply henna to the first 3 inches of my hair to gradually get about 3 full strength applications on new growth (so, I overlap previously treated hair for 2 applications as I tend to henna once every 4-8 weeks and my hair grows about 1/2 an inch a month. See my full henna/indigo process here.).

Collage

Top Left: Several years prior to using henna (2005, I believe). My hair is frizzy, but you can get an idea of the curl pattern, which is a mix of 3b/3c.

Top Right: August 2010, after several months of frequent, whole head, full strength henna treatments. This pic was taken the day after I did a treatment and following a haircut/styling session with Tameeka aka Jaded Tresses. This is when I realized that I needed to stop doing so many treatments as my curls had completely changed.

Bottom Left: February 2012, after a little over a year of roots only henna applications. You can see that the top half of my hair is curlier than bottom half.

Bottom Right: Yesterday, January 27, 2013, after 2 years of roots only, full strength henna applications. Though my curls are still a little looser than they were pre-henna, the full length of my hair has now been restored to a more normal curl pattern. I do think that my looser curl pattern is a combo of henna AND hormonal/age-related texture changes, because my nape is straight now and I don’t apply henna to it. It was not straight and actually was curly 5 years ago, though it was always looser than my crown.

So, I essentially transitioned over the last two years. However, rather than transitioning out a relaxer or heat damage, I transitioned out henna loosening.

*Henna does not loosen all natural hair textures. It is more common among those with fine strands and S-wave curls.

***********************************************************************************************************************

Have you transitioned out of something other than a relaxer during your natural hair journey?

Hair Crush: PrincessLinzz’s HairStory

Standard

curlz

Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Hi! My name is Lindsey/PrincessLinzz from the Bronx, New York. I work in higher education, going to Columbia University for second Masters Degree, and I am a hair enthusiast and serious product junkie.

How long have you been natural and why did you choose to go natural?
I have been natural for about 10 years now. My hair just could not take relaxers, whether mild or children specific. My hair in the nape area would constantly break. I then decided that I would let the relaxer grow out and wear my hair in a bun until it was removed entirely.

Holy Buns

Did you transition or big chop?
I transitioned for a year and looked really awkward; I won’t lie. But like I said, I typically wore my hair slicked back in a bun. I didn’t cut out my relaxer.

How long did you transition before you cut out the relaxer?
I didn’t cut out my relaxer. I transitioned for a year. It grew out and I looked crazy along the way.

But, you gradually cut the ends over the course of a year until there was no relaxer left at the ends, right?
Honestly, I never cut anything at all. My hair gradually changed to really curly to the looser curl I have today. I swear I never cut anything.

Wait, so you had a relaxer, but you never cut it and the curls reverted?!?! How often did you relax when you relaxed, what kind of relaxer? And did you leave it on briefly or the full time?! We want details!!!
I used the Just for Me relaxer and relaxed every 2 months for a year. My beautician at the time left it in probably for 15 minutes. She did it in sections: apply the relaxer in the back, left it on for a few minutes, then rinsed it out. Then she did the front and rinsed it out.  I loved the way my hair looked.

But then, as time progressed, my hair started breaking off, because I clearly didn’t know how to take care of my hair. Not everyone has had this experience, I did. I would relax my hair for a year and then take a break and wear my hair in a bun with a hairpiece. Eventually, I decided I had enough of relaxers. But,  I refused to cut my hair, so I let it grow out. During this process, my hair changed and the curls were very coily and frizzy at first. The thickness and shrinkage of the curls was crazy and I wore my hair in flat twists in the front and buns in the back. Then, within a year or so, my curls loosened and I had the texture I have today. So yes, my hair just reverted and the curls popped up. It sounds weird but its true. Also I transitioned about 10 yrs ago and my hair texture changed 3 times from then to now.

How did others (family, friends, colleagues) react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? How do they feel now?
No one in my family really cared, neither did my friends. BUT the guys that I dated definitely wanted me to wear my hair long and straight. I noticed that the younger guys I go out with always want me to wear my hair straight and the older guys that I date really don’t care.

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 hair challenge is over proteining and battling sporadic breakage. It’s funny, because my friends, family and colleagues call me the hair guru and call me for advice; yet I still find that I occasionally have hair issues that force me to retrace my steps and figure out what my hair needs. No one’s hair is perfect. My biggest challenge is figuring out whether my hair needs moisture or protein, so what I have done is create a hairlendar (hair calendar) to tell me whether I should be using a deep conditioner for moisture or a deep conditioner for protein, steaming, clarifying, etc.

hair swag

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
This is going to sound silly but when it rains I am never in a rush to put up my umbrella. I can just chill and allow my hair to get wet, while my other friends run for cover. Also, the humidity doesn’t affect my hair when it’s curly, however it does when my hair is straight.

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
My regimen has changed since I went natural. I actually have one now! I have always had length, but my hair has gotten considerably longer since I developed a regimen and began really researching hair. I typically co-wash every 2 days with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (moisture) or Herbal Essences Honey I’m Strong (protein). I deep condition weekly with either a moisturizing deep conditioner or a protein deep conditioner. I have just started sealing my hair … my hair HATES oil, so I started a new technique for my wash-n-go. I spray water from root to tip, run my leave-in down the same section of hair, then apply safflower or grapeseed oil over it. After I have sealed that section, I add my styling product. It’s not a typical quick wash-n-go. It takes considerably longer (like 45 minutes), I call it my wash-n-go-hard.

Side Pony

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
My staple products are: Carol’s Daughter Rosemary Mint Clarifying Shampoo, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Aussie 3 Minute Miracle (I have 7 bottles in my cabinet right now), Curl Junkie Curl Rehab, Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha, Kinky Curly Custard, As I Am Coconut Jelly, Dr. Miracle’s Curl Care Strong Hold Gel, safflower oil and grapeseed oil.

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?
This is pretty bad, but this year I only trimmed once. I will trim in mid January and then probably six months from that date. I usually go to the Dominican salon I have been going to since I was 13 yrs old. She trims my hair straight.

Loosened Bantu

Do you have a “hair crush?”
If so, who? Um…duh, YOU, Hairscapades! Your hair is absolutely beautiful and meeting you at the CurlyNikki event was so exciting. I was tongue tied and totally interrupted you in mid-sentence talking to someone else. You are my hair idol!

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
EmpresRi is the first person I followed on Youtube. She was and still is my hairspiration. I met her at a few events and she is always super-informative and super-helpful. Also, CourtneyNaturalHair. she is very helpful, informative and introduced everyone to me on Instagram! She rocks!

Where can we find you online?
On Instagram, my name is PrincessLinzz.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
You have to put in work for anything you want to achieve, including strong healthy natural hair. Don’t compare your hair to anyone else’s all hair is different and all products won’t react the same as they did on someone else’s hair. Hair typing really doesn’t matter and don’t limit yourself to thinking that certain regimens or products won’t work on your hair because of your texture. TRY IT! You never know how it will react on YOUR hair. J

Best,

Lindsey

Bantu Knot Out on Blown Hair

**************************************************************************************************

Okay ladies, the coffers are empty! So, if you’d like to share your hairstory, go to the HairStories page to find links to Big Chop, Transition, Henna & Me, Hair Crush, Naturals Around the World, My Albatross and Mini-Hairscapaders interview questions! Then, tell us your story by e-mailing your answers to me (with pics of course ;)) at hairscapades@gmail.com with the subject, “HairStory.” Hope to hear from you soon!!

Natural in London: Sharron’s HairStory

Standard

misc 086

Who are you and from where do you hail?
Hey all! I’m Sharron from London, England.

What do you like most about your homeland?
I think London is a great place to be in the summer … such a nice atmosphere being in the heart of London when the sun’s shining. I also like that it’s very multicultural.

London

What is the hair norm for black/brown women where you live? If natural hair is not the norm, is it becoming more prevalent?
There’s definitely more weave and relaxer wearers than there are naturals. But, I see a lot more natural ladies nowadays. It’s no longer perceived as an oddity to wear your hair natural. I love seeing someone wearing their natural hair; I always give a little smile. I just find all the different styles you can achieve by wearing your hair natural refreshing.

What was your hair like during your childhood and teen years? How did you feel about it? How was it perceived by others?
I remember my mum doing ‘chiney bumps’ (similar to bantu knots?), when I was younger and I remember her greasing my scalp with Dax, lol. My hair flourished under her care. When I started doing my hair myself, I use to do some crazy stuff to it. I actually cringe when I think about the abuse I bestowed upon my poor head!! I used a hell of a lot of gel … nasty, alcohol-ridden gel. I would use hotplates to dry my hair from damp as I didn’t have a blow dryer at one stage … *shudder*. Let’s just say, I’m surprised I still have hair. In my era, everyone had natural hair anyway, so it wasn’t an issue wearing my hair natural.

If you relaxed your hair at some point, why did you (or your guardian) make that decision? When and how long were you relaxed before you decided to go natural?
I relaxed my hair at the grand ole age of 18!! The only reason I relaxed my hair was because it wouldn’t ‘hold’ a style. I would straighten it all nicely and then as soon as I left the house ‘poof.’ What I didn’t realise then is that my hair was doing what it was suppose to do … curl up. I was trying to force my hair to go against type. If I knew then what I know now … how many times have we all said that?? I was really excited when I got it relaxed and was actually amazed when I stepped outside and my hair didn’t ‘grow.’ I remember bopping down the street with my new Janet Jackson windswept hairstyle.

Windswept

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I always say my decision to go natural wasn’t a conscious decision, it was forced upon me!! I love colour and curls, so even when my hair was relaxed, I would constantly colour and curl it as I didn’t like limp flat hair, I like big hair. I would put ringlets in my hair and rarely wore it straight. No one told me that you shouldn’t really use heat on relaxed hair, so I was not aware I was damaging it. To be fair, my hair is very strong, because it was years before it finally started to break and say, ‘enough is enough woman!!’

I decided to put it in a weave as I couldn’t think of anything else to do with it as nothing would stop the breakage … ApHogee treatments, nothing! I gradually snipped away to maybe 6 inches? At the time, I think it was bra strap length. As I was wearing a weave, cutting it didn’t bother me. I honestly thought I would be wearing weaves for the rest of my days as I didn’t ever consider wearing my hair natural as I couldn’t imagine it would look ‘smart’ enough.

This is where the decision was made for me. One weekend, I decided to remove my weave myself and do a treatment before getting it put back in on the Monday. When I removed my weave, I saw that I had a patch, no, a landslide where I’d been constantly wearing the same parting!! From that day, I stopped wearing weaves and was forced to deal with my hair in its natural state.

What has your natural hair journey been like? How has your decision been received by family, friends and people in general?
As I was forced to go natural, my decision wasn’t discussed with anyone. I will say that the last 3 years is when I’ve really learnt what works for my hair and how to get it to do what I want it to do … now I’m not working against type.

What do you see as the challenges of being natural? Are there any things that you think are unique to where you live? If so, what and why? How do you think they can be overcome?
I honestly think looking after natural hair requires more effort than relaxed hair. It takes longer to wash, detangle, then you have to twist/braid it if you wear twist/braid outs. Luckily, there are more products targeted for natural hair now, although not as much as in the States.

What is your regimen? Do you use/prefer commercial or natural products? Are the products that you like and want to try readily accessible and affordable? Where do you purchase them?
My regimen is quite a lazy one. I’ve taken to doing clay washes recently as it requires less effort then shampooing and conditioning my hair. When I do clay washes, I can get away with not conditioning my hair you see!! Lazy! I also try and henna once per month, but as we’ve previously discussed Shelli, henna loosens my curls to the extent my hair looks like heat damage in parts. I make my own Hair, Bath & Body products. So, I use my leave-in conditioner, a bit of flaxseed gel and JBCO & Nilotica Balm to seal, and then twist my hair.

Kinky G

Are there salons that cater to natural hair where you live? Are stylists trained in handling natural hair? Do you go to a salon?
I have never been to a natural hair salon, but my friend took her daughter to one to have her hair straightened (they used a hot comb). When she washed her hair a couple of weeks later, her gorgeous curls had heat damage and was straight and stringy in places.

What do you enjoy and/or love about being/going natural? Has the journey taught you anything about yourself?
I love not having to run from the rain, I love not having to worry about my hair sweating out at a club, I love the versatility and I love that I’m not smothering my scalp in chemicals. So, my landslide was a blessing in disguise.

Flat twist

Do you have a Hair Crush?
I love your hair Miss Shelli, Curly Nikki and Teyana Taylor (with and without bits added).

Who do you follow online?
You, Curly Nikki, Fusionofcultures (I think she is the cutest thing ever with great hair). I’m sure there are others …

Anything else that you’d like to share?
I can be found at my blog: www.fortheloveofkinks.wordpress.com
My products can be found at: www.sheadecadence.co.uk
Twitter: @shea_decadence and @theloveofkinks

Thanks for having me and keep up the good work!

Collage

**************************************************************************************************************

Awwww sookie sookie now!! You had the Pleasure Principle cut Sharron!! Get it girl!! LOL!!

Are you a natural outside of the US? Want to share your “international kinky, coily, curly” HairStory? Then answer the “Naturals Around the World” interview questions here and e-mail them to me (with 5-10 pictures) at hairscapades@gmail.com 

Hair Journey: Relaxed to Natural … to Relaxed Again!

Standard

Screen shot 2012-12-01 at 12.41.53 PM

Okay, so obviously this is a natural hair blog. That is my focus. But, I know that I have texlaxed readers and also suspect that I may have some followers who are relaxed. And, I think that is GREAT! I am not a person who believes that every person’s walk has to be the same. I believe that everyone has the right to choose what journey is best for them. So, I don’t judge those who choose to wear their hair relaxed, texlaxed, natural but straight, weaved up or with extensions. If it’s healthy and flattering and you aren’t judging others for THEIR choices, DO YOU BOO!!

So, I say all of that as a preface to sharing this healthy hair journey video by a young woman who transitioned from relaxed to natural and BACK TO RELAXED. I came across this video a couple of weeks ago and was soooo impressed by the growth and health of her hair. It also proved something that I’ve suspected. Some women can experience great length retention and hair health with relaxers IF they use them and heat judiciously and practice the moisturizing, strengthening and protective techniques that so many of us only learn upon going natural.

Hope that you enjoy and appreciate the sharing.

via The Happy Hair Show

“All that matters is HEALTHY hair.
Happy Hair Journey to EVERYONE. ♥”

I wholeheartedly concur.

Hair Crush: Fay’s HairStory

Standard

Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Fay, and I am a single working mother of five (three girls and two boys). I have a lot on my plate, but I am grateful for it all. I live in Orlando, FL and am trying to embrace my culture and the redefine the ideal of beauty that has been forced on us for so long.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I have been natural for the past 3 years. My decision to go natural came after really thinking about what we are doing to our scalps and hair with the chemicals that we put on them for the purpose of supposedly “making our hair more manageable.” I figured God gave us our hair the way it was and since He knows what He is doing, He must have figured we could manage it.

After making the transition, I realized that not only is our hair manageable, but it is versatile, diverse and, most of all, beautiful. We have been taught for sooo long that our kinks and curls and knots and twists are ugly, or to be tamed that we just took it for granted that straight was the path to beauty. But, like this world, beauty and hair comes in many forms. I am complimented wayyy more now with my natural hair by all ethnicities than I ever have been before. More importantly, I love what I see when I look in the mirror and I hope to be an example to my daughters so that they can say the same

Did you transition or big chop?
I did the big chop.

How did others (family, friends, colleagues) react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? How do they feel now?
My friends and family did not understand why I cut off all my hair (it was fairly long and permed) and insisted that I would regret it. They all felt like it was a waste of time, since they assumed I would just wind up perming it again. My response was simple … I was tired of sitting through the unneccesary pain of chemical straighteners (I have a very sensitive scalp). I also felt like, in this day and age, black women should embrace what makes them different and understand that that difference is not a curse, but something rare and beautiful.

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 hair challenge initially was my own mental block as to what to do with my natural hair as far as styling was concerned, because I love trying different hair styles and versatility. I overcame that with experimentation and realized that there are endless options when it comes to styling natural hair. There are cornrows, twists, curly fros, box braids, blowouts … I could go on and on.


What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love the feel of it … the ease of it. My hair is healthier than it’s ever been.

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
I wash and condition my hair twice a month. I use carrot oil to blow dry it and, after blow drying, I use coconut oil to twist it. I generally leave the twists in overnight and take them out the next day for an easy curly do that generally lasts all week. That’s pretty much what I’ve done since going natural.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
Definitely carrot and coconut oil. I recently added Shea Moisture Organic Coconut Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk. It moisturizes really well.

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it?
I have not had to cut/trim my hair at all.

Has going natural impacted other areas of your life (i.e. health & fitness, style, environmental consciousness, etc.?) If so, how and in what ways has it affected your lifestyle?
After going natural, I found that it made me rethink a lot of other aspects of my day to day and was the impetus for me rethinking the way I eat. I wanted to be more natural/organic in that area as well.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
My “hair crush” was definitely Teyana Taylor when I thought her hair was naturally that thick and georgoeus. I’m still not sure whether it is or not.


What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
I would definitely advise any African-American woman who is thinking about going natural to go for it. It may seem daunting at first, but the pay off is sooo worth it. The money it saves, the confidence it provides and the self-love it promotes. As your natural hair grows, so will your horizons as to what is beautiful about you and in turn your culture and black women in general. It’s cliche but true, “Black is Beautiful,” hair and all. Our daughters deserve to know that.

Natural in London, England: Rella’s HairStory

Standard

Who are you and from where do you hail?
Hi! I’m Rella J. I was born and raised in London, England, but both my parents are Nigerian. I am a singer/songwriter/musician/university student/natural hair lover

What do you like most about your homeland?
I am a very proud Londoner. Mostly, I love the diversity. I have truly been spoilt growing up here and sometimes I forget that the London demographic isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of England. I love that there’s anything and everything to do and I love how many different cultures you experience by growing up here.

I wouldn’t really know how to describe London in a couple of pictures or sentences. It’s a really busy/bustling city, but then you have quiet residential areas and big parks all within 15 minutes of each other.


What is the hair norm for Black/Brown women where you live? If natural hair is not the norm, is it becoming more prevalent?
I would say that relaxers and weaves are the norm, but natural hair isn’t shunned. It definitely is becoming more prevalent and I love that. I love walking down the road and seeing more fellow naturals. But, I also look forward to the time when I don’t use the term fellow natural, if you get what I mean?

What was your hair like during your childhood and teen years? How did you feel about it? How was it perceived by others?
What was my hair like? I wouldn’t know. My childhood. I have very vivid memories of my mum calling me to sit between her thighs and get my hair done. The afro comb, the wooden parting comb and the tub of Dax or Blue Magic; weapons in the war that was doing my hair (lol). My hair was always hidden away in thread, single plaits and then canerows/cornrows. At 15, I graduated to weave and the only time I saw my hair was to take one weave down, wash and put the next one in. It was always something to be hidden away.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
At 17, I had been wearing weaves for two years and, one day, I was like, “So, am I gonna do this for the rest of my life?” I was sick of constantly being aware that the hair I was wearing wasn’t my own and feeling embarrassed if somebody touched it and felt tracks … when it was really windy outside, worrying if my parting was still covered. I was like, “I don’t want to live like this.”

Then, one day, I was on my way back from a performance and I was joking around with one of the musicians that had played for me. We started play cussing each other and I made a joke about his dreads, comparing him to another dude we know with dreads. And then, he was like, “But that’s not your hair.” That was the final push I needed. I went home and I was like, “I am never wearing weaves again, I want to wear my hair – however it is!”

What has your natural hair journey been like? How has your decision been received by family, friends and people in general?
It has been a journey, a learning process, and is ongoing. When I first told people that I was going to start wearing MY hair exclusively, some were completely supportive, some didn’t know why it was such a big deal and some didn’t think it was possible to do, because nobody really did unless they had more “manageable” hair. But, after a while, wearing my hair became completely normal to everyone.


What do you see as the challenges of being natural? Are there any things that you think are unique to where you live?  If so, what and why? How do you think they can be overcome?
At first, it was finding products and practices that worked for me and learning how my hair behaves. The accessibility of products was an issue, but now that natural hair is becoming more popular, more prouducts are available in the UK. And more product lines based in the UK are being created, which is great. I also found that once I trashed the mentality that I can only use “black” products on my hair, I had so many more options from which to choose. As for practices and learning how my hair behaves, that takes time, perseverance and trial and error. Also, once I stopped expecting my hair to do things it couldn’t, there was less disappointment!

What is your regimen? Do you use/prefer commercial or natural products? Are the products that you like and want to try readily accessible and affordable? Where do you purchase them? 
For the most part, I finger detangle, add my prepoo mix (coconut oil, honey and conditioner) then put my hair in twists. When I’m ready to wash my hair, I shampoo my scalp, rinse, take down a twist and condition, then retwist. Once out of the shower, I blot my hair with a cotton t shirt or a microfiber towel and finally I apply a leave in, seal with castor oil then braid. The next day, I take my braids down and normally do some kind of updo/ bun. If I can’t be bothered, I’ll wear a scarf or style the braids somehow.

I prefer natural products, because they tend to work better for me and I don’t really need to worry about what I’m putting in my hair. I get most of my products online. There are a few international products that I’d love to try, but shipping costs are crazy or the international price way more than the normal one. But, as demand increases, some products are becoming more accessible.

Are there salons that cater to natural hair where you live? Are stylists trained in handling natural hair? Do you go to a salon?
Specifically to natural hair? Not that I know of, but I haven’t really looked, because I do my hair myself. But, with London being the place that it is, I’m sure there is one somewhere.

What do you enjoy and/or love about being/going natural? Has the journey taught you anything about yourself?
I enjoy being able to take care of my hair myself and the independence it gives me. I love how completely my hair represents me. I love when  black people say to me, “I didn’t know our hair could look like that” or could be worn out. Or, when a black girl sees my hair and feels better about hers. I love that when I have daughters, natural hair will be completely normal to them.

Do you have a Hair Crush?
Every natural that I see. I love natural hair that much lol!

Who do you follow online?
Who don’t I? To name a few, you (obviously).
Natural Belle: www.hairspiration.blogspot.co.uk
Curly Nikki: www.curlynikki.com
Healthy Hair and Body: www.hairandhealth.blogspot.co.u
Unitedkinkdom: www.unitedkinkdom.blogspot.co.uk
YouTube: fusionofcultures, bronzeqt, MsVaughnTV, Girlsloveyourcurls, Naptural85, BlakIzBeautyful and many, many more (lol).

Anything else that you’d like to share?
Well, I guess if you want to hear any more about me, you can find me online.

Hair:
Blog: www.naturalinlondon.blogspot.com
YouTube: anaturalinlondon
Twitter: @naturalinlondon

Music:
Blog: www.rellajay.blogspot.com

YouTube: rellajmusic
Twitter: @rella_j_

***************************************************************************************************

So, I found Rella’s hair blog several months ago and asked her to share her hairstory:). I also listened to one of her songs and was so impressed by her talent. That being said, she didn’t share any of her music, so I am ;). Check her out!