The Big Chop: Toya’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My online name is Natural Beauty. I am a mother, health enthusiast, writer and an activist for natural hair. Those who know me would say that I’m very strong-willed, opinionated and analytical.

What prompted you to go natural?
I had gotten bored with my bone straight hair and had even bought a crimper to make it look curly. I was still too scared to do the big chop. I believe what influenced me was seeing other people go natural and how beautiful their hair looked. I made the ultimate decision on a mission trip to Tampa, Florida. I lived in a poor neighborhood, was a counselor to the homeless and at-risk homeless and taught art to kids from low-income families for six weeks. It was then that I realized how vain I was being.

How long did I transition before I went natural?
I transitioned for about six or seven months. I just got tired of the two different textures and went for it.

When and how did you big chop?
I big chopped in January of 2006. I just went to a salon, had my permed ends cut off and the hair stylist styled my hair in coils.

How did you feel immediately before and after your big chop?
I have to admit that I was scared and thought that it would look ugly, since I have a round face. I had pretty long hair and cut off more than 9 inches. I just kept telling myself that it’s just hair and it will grow back, I could always return to a perm if I didn’t like it. Afterwards, I felt elated, free and confident. I had my hair styled in coils and it actually looked really cute on me.

How do you feel now?
I still feel very confident, true to myself and I love my curls. Since the big chop, I’ve had the blessed opportunity to influence others to go natural and to love themselves. I just hope that I can continue to do that.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
I like to do hot oil treatments with either Moroccan oil or Khoret Amen oil from Carol’s Daughter every two weeks before a wash. Carol’s Daughter’s products are a staple for me. I also use the Tui Shampoo and Tui Smoothie for deep conditioning. I use Motions Wrapping Lotion and either Carol’s Daughter Hair Balm or Nubian Heritage’s Shea Butter with Goat’s Milk and Chai for my twist-outs. I also recently started doing henna treatments at least once a month.

What are your hair plans/goals?
My number one goal for 2012 is to just keep my hair moisturized, because it has a tendency to get dry, and gaining more length and volume would be a plus.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
Yes, I love Esperanza Spalding’s hair because it’s so big and full. I want my hair to be like that. I feel like we have similar textures and, with some growth, I can realistically get there.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber, and/or Fotkier and why?
My favorite blogger is Curly Nikki, because she just has so much useful information on her site.

Anything else that you would like to add?
I’m just glad to be a part of the natural hair community and you can find me on my blog at www.celebrateyournaturalbeauty.blogspot.com. Thanks and I love your blog!

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