Category Archives: Newly Natural

Newly Natural: Tahirah’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Tahirah, my friends call me Tai. I am a 22 year old art student,I love art, design, fashion, music, crafts and anything D.I.Y. I am not a talkative person, but more of a thinker and writer. But, all who know me know my true self comes through regardless. My motto is, “Actin non verba,” meaning action not words in Latin.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I had been relaxed for about 10 years. I got my first relaxer at 11 when I was tired of wearing my hair in braids all of the time. My mother did a home perm for me until I was about 14. Then, I stopped relaxing my hair for a couple years; I just wet it and slicked it back with gel or wore a puff with a head band. I did not take care of it at all. At 16, I went back to relaxers, doing them myself, and commenced all other forms of hair damage, bleaching, dying and flat ironing … I ruined my hair. Fast forward to 2010 when I discovered hair blogs and YouTube videos. I decided to go on a long relaxed hair journey … which meant less heat, more conditioning and stretching my relaxers. I was on a six month stretch … yes, six months!

When I discovered natural hair blogs and vlogs, it made me realize that I didn’t NEED a relaxer like I would say when I saw my new growth. MopTopMaven’s blog was my first natural hair inspiration and many others followed. I reaserched and watched YouTube videos of beautiful women embracing their texture … so, I decided to try it since I had already gone so long without a relaxer. I thought my real healthy hair journey should not include damaging my hair with chemicals.

How long did you transition before you big chopped?
I transitioned for about 10 months before I big chopped. I had never had hair so short and I was insecure about parting with my BSL relaxed ends. I planned to go a year or two before cutting it, but with so much inspiration around me from online to when I went out, I would drool over natural curls so much that I needed to see my own.


When and how did you big chop?
I prepared myself with styles and products from product reviews and YouTube videos. I bought Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel. I had my scissors already and the day planned out. At about 9 or 10 at night, I cut the relaxed ends myself on June 21, 2012, a week before my 22nd birthday.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
I was so excited before I cut it and, immediately after, I was kind of in shock about how I looked … it’s a lot to process when you have long hair down your back one day and a short ‘fro the next. I was happy, but it took me a few days to get used to it.

How do you feel now?
I am LOVING my hair now. I was so apprehensive for nothing, because it has been the best experience so far. I am fully embracing the short ‘fro and learning to just let go and let my curls be wild and free. I looks good whether or not I choose to do anything to it and revel in it.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
Right now, I wash my hair once a week with Burts Bee Very Volumizing Pomegranate Shampoo and DC with ORS Replenishing Pack. I finger coil and rock a coil out or wash and go using Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Eco Styler Olive Oil gel. During the week, I spray my hair with water and seal with my mix of olive, coconut, grapeseed, jojoba and castor oils. I co-wash in between, if I feel I need to, with Tresemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner.

What are your hair plans/goals?
My hair goal is to maintain a healthy head full of curls and see how long it can grow. Growth is not as important to me, since I fell in love with this length. But I’m looking forward to it.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
I have quite a few actually … Amel Larriuex, Corrine Bailey Rae, Yaya Dacosta, Chaka Kahn …

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber and/or Fotkier and why?
My favorite YouTuber is Naptural85. I love her channel. Her tutorials are amazing! I even love the music she uses.


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I Am Not My Hair … Or Am I?

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by For His Glory Natural

I’ve always loved that song and what it stood for. I felt so empowered whenever I listened to it. It has such a great message.

But the more deeply invested I become in getting to know my hair, the more I am starting to feel that it does represent a large part of who I am. After all, it was only six months ago that I started wearing protective hairstyles. Before that, I never considered myself “that kind of person.” I was strictly sold-out to my straight hair. Anything that even slightly resembled an “Afro-centric” look was a turn-off to me because my self-image was so low that I didn’t take pride in the lovely locks that the Lord had blessed me with. Instead, I was ashamed of them, as if my curls were shouting for undeserved attention.

For years I struggled to “fit in” with my mostly white community, and as a result, I suppressed any and every aspect of myself that would make me stand out from the crowd, and the number one thing to go was my hair. Since I’d started getting relaxers from a young age, I didn’t even remember what my natural hair looked like. But I knew I had to avoid moisture at all costs, otherwise my artificially straight hair would turn into a mess. Somehow I’d convinced myself that, if I kept every hair in place, then no one would notice me and how different I was, and I wouldn’t have to deal with people pointing at my hair and asking me why it looked “like that.”

Now, what feels like eons later, I would answer that question with, “Like what?” because I know my hair is awesome! Recently I shared with my husband that when I was growing up I would always look at white girls’ straight, “perfect” hair and wish that I could have it. Now, whenever I’m out and about and I see straight-haired white women, I wish they could know what it’s like to have my hair texture, because I can do so much more with it! Is that arrogant? I don’t know. For me, it’s a huge VICTORY! My hair does deserve attention, and I am going to see to it that it gets it!

If you have yet to embrace your natural hair, I encourage you to ask yourself why. If your reasons for relaxing are all external, maybe you should consider going natural. Take it from me, a Black girl who turned a source of shame into a source of pride: if you can lay down the creamy chemical and commit to getting to know your hair, you’ll find that there is much more to this “natural thing” than you may think. ;)

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Pretty much sums it up, wouldn't you say?

Hair Crush: Candice’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Oh gosh! Me? I’m a quirky, pop-culture geek who loves to write and adores dancing even more! I have a successful dance company in Texas, having danced in front of thousands (live) and even had our company represent as the featured dancers in the Stellar Award nominated music video, “Lead Me Jesus” on BET! My curly hubby is a playwright and together we’re writing a magical their-story, lol! I’m nearly 40, but always get mistaken for one of the kiddos that dance with me – I’ll take that as a blessing ;).

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I’ve been natural for 8 months of awesomeness!

Did you transition or big chop?
A little of both. I transitioned for 17 months. It was a great one too; I survived mostly on braid-outs, whew! Near the end, my new growth was so coily you could finally see a bit of difference between the relaxed/natural portions, so I bid adieu!

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 was MOISTURE. My strands did fantabulous while transitioning and were never dry; in fact my hair grew to BSL – longest it’s ever been! But as soon as I chopped … the tumbleweeds came a’callin’ :(.  I had to figure out my holy grail, which turned out to be S-Curl Activating Moisturizer, to get rid of the dryness. My hair loves glycerin.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love how it just coils and coils! I love the volume, I love the ease of it. And quiet as it’s kept, I kinda dig the attention I get from it.

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
I’m a simple girl! I co-wash, shampoo as needed, apply my S-Curl, shea butter or styling product and either let the curls rock out or I twist/twist-out,which ends up looking like stretched coils anyway. Since I dance constantly, my go-to is a puff, which lately has turned into a pony due to growth retention (yea)! I pineapple with baby puffs at night, let them rest under a bonnet or my satin pillowcase and shake loose in the morning. That’s it. I want to get skilled at some of these gorgeous updos I see so many beautiful naturals rocking, though.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
S-Curl Activating Moisturizer, raw shea butter, Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk, Fantasia IC Gel, V05 Moisture Milk for smoothing my frizzy front!

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
My pony puff – it never fails me! It’s perfect for dancing AND my hair ornaments because I’m not a product junkie, however I am an ACCESSORY junkie! (Pray for me, y’all!)

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it?
Ummmm … holding my head in curly shame: I don’t. Right now, my strands stay so moisturized and happy, they don’t seem to need it. They’ll tell me when. And I am a major DIY princess, so I learn to do it all through quality advice on You Tube!

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?
My life is very fast-paced, so it’s made things easier for me since I’m always on the go and working out through dance. But you know what? We have to watch how it impacts our health and that of our sweethearts in a negative way. Some products absolutely make my hubby gag. I found myself coughing a lot recently and I realized that it may have been what I was letting my coils consume. I love the way it made my hair look … but my lungs couldn’t take it (I’m working on a blog post about that).

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
SO MANY! I should be ashamed! Naptural85, Bargain Princess, Curly Nikki, Nisus (It’s Just Hair), Nik Star and Shelli of course! There are many more, though … I love natural hair!

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
All of the above as well as Simplyounique, 101LadyT, Miss Vaughn and Meechy Monroe. Oh heck: I watch -em all, ha ha!

Where can we find you online?
My blog, The Frizzness (I also contribute to Curly Nikki); YouTube (dance video, not hair), dancegrl7 (Ordered Steps Productions) and Facebook, Candice Ordered Steps Johnson.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
I would encourage you to stick with it the same way you would a dream that seems impossible! There are some bad days, but oh so many good as long as you remain patient, figure out what works for you and nurture your tresses. This is your crown of glory, and it won’t fail you as long as you believe in it; what doesn’t work, won’t kill you … try again!

Anything else that you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my story. The natural hair community is a beautiful place to be and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Newly Natural: Hope’s HairStory

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Hope shares her journey: 20 months and counting …

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Since high school, the state of my hair could make or break my day. That sentiment carried on through college and after, unfortunately. I was fortunate (financially speaking) to be able to get my hair done on a weekly or bimonthly basis. Where I live, the weather conditions lean toward extremely humid and hot most of the time and I did not like having to fool with my hair. I paid someone else to do it.

Then there was the career change 11 years ago. I left the corporate 8 to 5 to become a full-time personal trainer. I went from being in a recycled air-conditioned office to a big box, sweaty, air-conditioned workout facility. I started working out more and on went the ponytails and occasional weave. I still was getting my hair done, just not as often, say every eight weeks or so for my usual perm.

Exactly 22 months ago I had had enough! I started thinking about all the money I had spent on my hair over the years, how all of that hair was in a trash dump somewhere. I had nothing (really) to show for all that money I had spent. It made me sick to think about it. So, I started researching online for steps on transitioning to natural hair. OMG! What a treasure trove of information! In a matter of a few months, I had decided to make the leap. I had my last re-touch applied in February of 2010 and that was because I had committed to a photo shoot.

So my transition period lasted exactly 10 months. The day after Christmas 2010 I was looking at a YouTube video natural hair subscription. I had the same products the vlogger was using; her hair type was similar to mine and I was tired of doing braid outs to mask the permed ends. So I did it – my own BC. Although since I had been growing it out for ten months, It wasn’t that much of an extreme move. The results? I loved it!

Ten months later I’m still learning and establishing my hair care regimen. I love the natural hair recipes I see – and have tried one or two of them. I’ve incorporated Hairscapades’ Pre-poo (thanks Shelli). Nikisha’s deep conditioning recipe (Urban Bush Babes) softened my type 3c curls fabulously. I’ve been getting compliments from other naturals all week. The products that work well so far: Herbal Essence’s Hydration as a co-wash, Uncle Funky’s Daughter products (Good Hair and Curly Magic – Yea!) as leave-ins, natural oils (coconut, almond, jojoba, EVOO, avocado) for deep conditioning and moisturizing and ACV rinses about once a month. I recently purchased a Huetiful steamer and was pleased with the quality. My go to style is a WnG; when it gets a bit longer, I might try a TnC and others. I do like the freedom of the WnG though. That’s another reason I went back to my roots. In addition to the money, I was tired of spending so much time on my hair. Now my hair is wash and wear, just like my mom’s!

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Good stuff Hope! It’s so good to read that you are enjoying your journey and I’m so happy that something I’ve shared helped you along the way!

What have you learned from the online natural community or natural/transitioning friends that has helped you on YOUR journey?

Newly Natural: Adrienne’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 20 words or less.
My name is Adrienne. I’m 25 and still fairly new to the whole natural thing.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
This is actually my second go around being natural. Four years ago I did it and everything was great…until I relaxed again. This time I’ve been natural for a little over a year. I was experiencing a lot of breakage in the crown of my hair and also in the back. A lot of the hair loss was health related so when I started on my meds, I decided it was probably time to go natural too. I know that getting a relaxer every six weeks was probably making things worse.

Did you transition or big chop?
A little bit of both actually. I did a half chop in August, where basically my hairdresser shaved the back of my head and then trimmed the rest of my hair so it was in a pretty sharp and interesting bob. Man, when I first heard those clippers…I was shocked, but quickly got over it. After that just I kept getting trimmed. I think I still have some straight pieces to cut off in the front.

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 right now is that I think my hair is at an awkward length. It’s not a TWA where the maintenance is really low, but it’s not long enough for much else. I’ve been experimenting a lot with flat twists lately, because I like the stretch it gives to my hair. I’m still trimming a lot of my hair so it’ll be short for a while, but I’m not touching the bangs because I want them even with the rest of my hair.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
The big hair! I love the big, curly look. It gets extra big because of the Maryland humidity, but I like it. And curly hair seems so much more interesting and edgy. I feel like it really compliments my personality.

What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
I try to wash my hair with a sulfate free shampoo once a week and deep condition. Sometimes mid week, I’ll co-wash and every night I moisturize and seal. Usually, I’ll flat twist each night for a more defined twist out. If I don’t flat twist, then I sleep in a plastic cap and just pull it up into a bun for the next day.  My regimen changes often, but mostly I try to keep it moisturized and tangle free.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
I really love this aloe-vera spritz that I got from Butters-N-Bars, along with their Grow Butter. For deep conditioners, I really like the Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent Conditioner. Still trying to find other staples though.

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?
My “go to” style is a twist out. This style is easiest for me to achieve and it’s great for blending in the lingering straight strands of hair that I have. I also like taking a twist out and pulling it up into a sort of puff. If I’m not in a twist out, than my next favorite style would be twists. They’re easy and I don’t have to do much in the morning. Just pin them up and go. It’s probably the only protective style that I do. I don’t wear buns too often, probably because I put them in too tightly.

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?
I went to a SuperCuts for a trim in early May and it was awful (not the cut but the way they handled my hair). I won’t cut again for a while. Occasionally when I wear twists I’ll snip off any raggedy ends, but mostly the scissors stay away!

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?
Not really. I feel like I think about my hair (and natural hair in general) a lot and spend a lot more time on it. But, because it’s still a learning process right now, I’m okay with it. I am surprised at how many people love natural hair. I feel like I get a lot more compliments on my hair now, which I wasn’t expecting.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
I love Yaya DaCosta’s hair! My plan is to get my hair to look like hers eventually, maybe not exactly but hopefully volume and length wise.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
On YouTube I follow Naptural85. I simply love her hair! I’m setting her up as my twist out idol. I look at all the usual curly sites (naturallycurl.com, curlynikki, longhaircareforum, etc).

Where can we find you online?
I have a blog and I’m trying to figure out how to jazz it up and think you’re a great inspiration for something like that (my blog seems so boring compared to yours lol). http://naturalembrace.blogspot.com/

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Don’t get discouraged. Sometime it’ll seem like your hair isn’t growing or cooperating in the way that you would like. But, if you keep taking care of it, you’ll see results (even if they are slow ones). Also get a support group. It feels great when you know you’re not alone and other people are possibly going through similar hair struggles.