Category Archives: Hair Crush

Ashley’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m the “Good Girl Gone Natural,” a 20-something, fairly recent MBA grad with a passion for God, natural hair, music and young women’s empowerment.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I transitioned a grand total of 3 times in college/grad school and finally chose to commit to it in April of 2010 which was the last time I got a texturizer. I went natural the last and final time after watching the amazing transformation that two of my college friends underwent. It wasn’t just about how beautiful, thick and full their hair became … it was about their self-confidence, their newly inspired way of just viewing life and health and themselves. It gripped me and I made a decision to really commit to going Natural in 2010.

Did you transition or big chop?
I transitioned for a full year and, after two weaves, a lot of flat ironing and a fit of frustration, in April of 2011, I commanded a friend of mine to take a REGULAR PAIR OF SCISSORS (*GASP* Oh the horror!) and cut off any pieces of my hair that looked straight. I pulled a random bunch of hair down in the front and told her not to cut that, just in case I hated the way the hair looked after she cut it, I could use that front piece to give the illusion of length. WHOLE. ENTIRE. HOT. MESS.

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 were my biggest supporters. They were the ones encouraging me to just go for it, to embrace my ‘fro and the rather large forehead it would reveal. They encouraged me to step out and just love what I was naturally working with. That was an awesome feeling.

My family, on the other hand, didn’t completely understand, made fun and used words like “wild,” “wooly,” “naps.” They just couldn’t understand why I didn’t want my hair to be straight. That was frustrating at first, but once I got the hang of my hair and really found what worked best – methodically and product-wise – I didn’t mind whether they liked it or not, because I did.

What is/was your biggest hair challenge? How did you overcome it or what are you doing now to try to address the problem?
After my friend cut my hair April 2011, I’m not gonna lie – I cried a little bit and thought, “What in the WORLD have I done? I can’t walk around with my hair this short!!!” I immediately went out and bought two half-wigs the next day. I kept my hair braided up underneath for a good three months. I was filled with regret, because I didn’t know how to make myself “look right” with this shorter hair and I was so nervous about what others would think. I hated my huge forehead and was just filled with such insecurity until, one day, my good friend Chyna told me to just “dive in headfirst” (oh, the pun) and forget the half-wigs. I took her advice, started frequenting sites like HAIRSCAPADES (Holla!) and Curly Nikki and watching YouTube videos and really just educating myself and experimenting with my hair. I had been too afraid before.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
What I love most now is what I originally hated most. I love that my hair is MY hair. In the beginning, you couldn’t tell me that once I made my full transition my curls weren’t going to look JUST LIKE Tracee Ellis Ross’s. I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me that. I figured that if I moisturized and drank lots of water, one day I’d have her hair. So silly of me, I know, but you have to understand just how UNCOMFORTABLE I was with my own image. I thought that my hair was ugly in its natural state. It had to be manipulated in some way for it to be “pretty hair.” But NOW? I LOVE it. I started to latch onto the wonderful qualities of my hair and even though some days it just doesn’t feel like cooperating, I look back and see how far I’ve come and I cherish this relationship between me and my natural hair so much more.

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
To be very honest, I don’t have a set regimen. I’ve tried. No schedule sticks for very long. I can say that two things have been consistent since last summer and those are: 1) coconut oil/shea butter moisturizing just about everyday, 2) a henna treatment at least once per month. Other than that, I deep condition, co-wash, oil rinse, steam and protein treat my hair kind of “willy nilly.” I don’t know if that’s bad or good seeing as my hair has grown SO much since last year alone. But I am going to really try to nail down a regimen sometime soon and let you all know what kind of progress I’ve made! 🙂

Henna Head

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
1. Mixing 100% pure organic shea butter with coconut oil and using for daily moisturizing has been a God-send. It has softened my hair and makes it so much easier to maintain.

2. Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie ROCKS for bantu knot-outs.

3. ApHogee 2-Step Protein Treatment has tremendously stopped my breakage after only TWO treatments! I’m sold.

4. Alba Botanica Hawaiian Mango Conditioner smells absolutely DIVINE and is a PERFECT condish for co-washing during the summer.

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
During the winter months, my go-to was a Bantu knot-out, pinned up into a semi fro-hawk of sorts. I could wear that for a whole week and sometimes a few days longer! I would just lightly spritz it with water, rub some shea butter/coconut oil on my hands and individually revive the curls to reduce the frizz as the days went on.

See Ashley’s fro-hawk video tutorial here.

Now, I’m trying out different styles trying to find something else that will work, because I don’t want to do one style too much as it might put too much stress on certain spots.

As far as protective styling, I considered the Bantu knot-out frohawk to be protective/low manipulation, because I really wouldn’t touch my hair except to repin and moisturize while it was in that style. Other than that, my sleek, chic top bun or “crown braid” seem to work nicely and they are so easy/quick to do.

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 don’t go to a salon anymore. I watched a few YouTube videos a few weeks ago, actually, got brave and learned how to trim my own hair. I don’t trim often. I went to a salon last October and had a trim (which turned into a layering that I did not want!). So, one trim lasted from October 2011 to June 2012. I think I like that length of time … AND the length my hair grew in that time. 🙂

Oct. 2011: Layered cut at salon

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?
Absolutely! It’s made me more aware of what I eat, how often I exercise (not that much, I must admit) and it has really made me pay much more attention to detail. The details of really caring for my hair are many. But the biggest area in my life that going natural has affected is how I relate to and affirm other young women, whether they are natural or not. Sometimes, as women, we do not affirm each other enough. We see more cat fights broadcast than congratulations. Affirming one another in our beauty both inside and out is so essential to growing into healthy women and role models. We need to love ourselves the way God made us. Amazing how the natural journey has taught me that.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Tracee Ellis Ross. Janelle Monae. Leela James. Jurnee Smollett. Corinne Bailey Rae. Amel Larrieux. Sanaa Lathan. Gabrielle Union. Curly Nikki. Shelli Gillis. Yaya DaCosta. Lisa Arrindel Anderson. T’Keyah Crystal Keymah. …Ok, I think I’m finished. 🙂

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
YouTube: Ariella89, Naptural85, MyInvisibleChyrsalis, mrskw7, NikkiMae2003.

Where can we find you online?
I have a … “progressing” YouTube channel: AshleyTruly. I’m going to start uploading more videos soon! Promise!

My Twitter handle is: @AshleyLaTruly

Tumblr: GoodGirlGoneNatural

And, if you’re interested, I have a new blog for young women of color: www.hersoulinc.com. We’re covering everything from body image to health to relationships to faith … and there is a special place on the site for the naturals! It’s called: GoodGirlGoneNatural. I post product reviews, natural hair lessons learned, how-tos, etc..

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Educate yourself, make sure you’re going natural for reasons that are healthy and all your own. Be patient. It’s a process, so there will be bumps in the road, setbacks and periods of seemingly no forward movement, but just be patient. Take photos of your hair. A LOT. In just a few months’ time, you’ll be ecstatic to see the dramatic difference that you couldn’t see while you were waiting. Surround yourself with positive reinforcements, whether it’s people or messages to yourself or YouTube videos from other naturals. And have fun! Experiment. Some of my favorite styles and products were found out of pure experimentation.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
I know how frustrating it can be. I’m an ear to anyone who needs it. Check out my Twitter, Tumblr blog and YouTube. Let’s connect!

April 2011 (left); June 2012 (right)

 

Alissa: Natural in the Bahamas

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by Brittany of Island Curls

Hi Shelli! My name is Brittany, aka KinkyIslandGirl, and I frequently view your blog, as well as your updates on Facebook. I was happy to see that you were looking for guest bloggers, because I have recently started a natural hair blog that has an island twist, because I am from the Bahamas (though I reside in Minnesota). The blog is called http://www.islandcurls.blogspot.com. Below is an article featuring a Bahamian lady that I would like to share with your readers, if you would allow me. Thank you!

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Say Hi!
Hello, my name is Alissa. I’m 22 years old, born and raised in the Bahamas. Both of my parents are Black.

When and how did you transition into natural hair? Did you transition or big chop? How did you take care of your hair while going natural?
I have always been natural.

Do you love your hair? Have you always loved it?
There was a time when I disliked being natural. I wanted straight hair, because all of the celebrities I liked had straight hair and I thought I would have more versatility. I was tired of tangling and ponytails. As I grew older, I learned how to take care of my hair, which made it more manageable. I also learned more hairstyles and techniques, which I think make my natural hair more versatile than any other texture. Learning to love my hair was a process.

How would you describe your hair?
My hair is a 3c/4a texture. I have more of a S-curl/wavy texture around my edges and a tighter curl texture in the middle of my head.

What is your hair regimen and nightly routine?
I wash and deep condition once a week. I oil my scalp at least twice a week with olive oil or another natural oil and I moisturize and seal my hair everyday. Every night, I plait or bun my hair and wear a satin cap to prevent breaking.

How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
To retain length, I make sure to always sleep with my hair in a bun or plait under my satin cap. I moisturize and seal my ends everyday. I wear protective styles most of the time. Those are styles that protect my ends from breaking by keeping them up and off of my shoulders and clothes. I only use a wide-toothed comb on well moisturized hair after finger combing. Sometimes I detangle while conditioning my hair. I avoid products with petroleum, alcohol or mineral oil and only use natural oils on my scalp.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
I burned off and damaged the ends of my hair with hot combs and flat irons for a few years until I learned healthy hair habits. I had to cut it a few times to fix that. I also used to wear my hair in a puff a lot when I was in high school and I used an afro pic on it while it was dry. That broke my hair a lot. I used to shampoo and not condition not knowing how harsh shampoo is. I used to use vaseline on my scalp, pink lotion on my ends and slick my hair down with gel and beeswax. I was terrible and the list goes on and on.

What’s the best thing you do for your hair?
The best thing I do is add oils to my routine. Whether it be on my scalp, mixing it with my deep conditioner or sealing my ends.

If you were going away to a deserted place and could only take 3 products, what would they be and why?
Woowwwww! My garnier fructis shampoo, Elasta QP deep conditioner and definitely my extra virgin olive oil.

What is your go-to style?
The high bun… All day.

Who is your hair idol?
A vlogger named Megz who taught me so much of what I now know about black hair.

Any last words of wisdom?
Good hair is healthy hair. Spend time learning how to take better care of yours.

Hair Crush: Shana’s HairStory

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After much prodding, hounding and finally a request from one of you, my sis is finally sharing her HairStory ;)!

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Daughter. Sis. Granddaughter. Niece. Aunt. Friend. Writer. Mktg pro. Jersey girl. Honorary Ethiopian. Smarter than the avg bear. Lady of Troy. Living & loving life.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?

11 years.

Once upon a time . . . I was an au natural little girl with braids, beads, cornrows, barrettes, ponytails, rubberbands, press-n-curls and the such.

I think that I started relaxing my hair in middle school. I guess you can tell it really wasn’t that big of deal for me, since I can’t even remember it. My mother did it in the kitchen and the bathroom. My hair didn’t break off and my scalp wasn’t burned. For a while, it was relaxed every six months and eventually I was down to every 3 months, 15 minutes for thin/fine hair. At my most frequent, it was two months, but that was maybe once a year.

My relaxed days were pretty uneventful. There was the one time that I went to a beauty salon to get it relaxed and chopped from shoulder length to above my ears. The ends were kinda damaged, so the chop was a welcome change, but the stylist (and I use that term loosely) burned my head.

I ain’t never in my life . . . that leads me to the other highlight of my relaxed days, learning how to relax my own hair. It was just in time to save my newly chopped hair from more damage from my momma’s heavy-hand and going away to college. My hair really began to grow after my big chop. I learned a lot about my hair and we get along like best of friends.

My last relaxer. My sister’s wedding was my last “special hair day,” April 29, 2001. It really wasn’t a planned thing. But I just started wearing my hair curly more often. Then, Shelli was also wearing her hair au natural and her transition seemed so shock-free, no drastic changes. The possibilities also intrigued me. My natural sister and myself had virtually identical styles for the wedding.

It just didn’t make sense to relax my hair when I could achieve the same look with my own hair. We do have slightly different texture hair, but close enough to judge possibilities with my own hair. I had been considering going natural for a while, but in college, the way people made the transition really turned me off, from motives to attitudes to the trendiness of it all. But, in April 2001, it just seemed natural (no pun intended) for me to start my journey.

Did you transition or big chop?
I guess I big chopped. I transitioned for about six months. I only relaxed my hair every three months.  Then, I wore my hair in kinky twist extensions for two months. Taking the twists out was a pain in the @$$ and dealing with the two textures was impossible, especially when rushing to get to hospital an hour away to welcome my niece to the world. I went to a “general population” salon in a suburban Jersey mall and asked the first available stylist to chop the relaxed hair off. I had about 3 to 4.5 inches of natural hair.

Transitioning

Big Chop

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?
Hmmm … I guess my hair tangles very quickly. I just accept it.  Sometimes, I will twist after detangling to deter tangling and/or, more often, style quickly after washing my hair. My hair is also fine (hair shafts) and thin (density).  I just accept that too.  I don’t really do twists and twist outs, because it’s all scalp. My mainstay style is the wash and go, which gives my hair the appearance of being thicker and fuller.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love waking up, fluffing my curls and going.  When I was relaxed, I would have to make time each morning to curl and style my hair.  When I get my hair pressed now, I don’t even know what to do with myself, between wrapping it at night, keeping it dry in the shower and styling in morning (trying to remember how to work all the hair appliances)!?!.

“Go to” Style: The WnG

Pressed Natural Hair

What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
I co-wash my hair once a week (or every two weeks when I’m busy or being lazy).  I use Herbal Essences® Hello Hydration!, Aussie Moist Conditioner and/or Suave Natural Tropical Coconut Conditioner. I co-wash in shower. I detangle with hair saturated with conditioner, starting at ends with wide tooth comb, working up to roots. I only move in direction hair grows (i.e. I don’t wash my hair like they show in commercials where they pile hair on top of their head and moosh, aka tangle, it all up). I’ve always done it that way, even when I was relaxed. I only wash with a low-poo cleanser every 3 or 4 months.

After I co-wash, I deep condition using the Ouidad technique (Cool & Seal) without her products, which are ridiculously expensive to me. Basically, I distribute deep conditioner through my hair, separate in four sections, do a two strand twist in each section (to avoid having to detangle, again), clip up, apply heat, let hair cool down, apply rinse out conditioner on top of deep conditioner section by section, and then, rinse it all out with twists intact.

Afterwards, I apply leave-in conditioner and gel by section and spritz with ORS Nature’s Shine. Now, I’m using Jaded Tresses’ technique (raking and shaking) and love the curl popping results. Then, I let it air dry. I use a discontinued leave-in conditioner called Aura Elixir Leave-On Conditioner. I have about a case and a half. No shelf life issues. Thank goodness. It foams when I apply it to my freshly washed, sopping wet hair, which helps clump up the curls. The gel I use is La Bella Lots of Curls. It comes in a big jar and is cheap, which I love! I actually was told about it by a natural brother with luscious curls a long time ago, but didn’t find it in stores (Walmart, Walgreen, Duane Reade) until recently. I love the curl definition I get with this combo. (Disclaimer: I’m cool with shrinkage, because it makes my hair seem denser. If you do not like shrinkage, I wouldn’t recommend the leave-in or gel.).

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
Holy Grail:
Aura Elixir Leave-On Conditioner

Staples:
Herbal Essences® Hello Hydration!
Aussie® Moist Conditioner
Suave Natural Tropical Coconut Conditioner
La Bella Lots of Curls
ORS Nature’s Shine

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?
Wash and go afro to wash and go afro puff.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

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’m bad. I get my hair trimmed, like, once or twice a year. I get my hair pressed at a salon and they trim it. I go to Charles at ULTA (540 Nassau Park Blvd., Princeton, NJ 08540) or Eboni at A-Nu-U Salon (1272 Hamilton Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08629). They get the job done, reasonably priced, and you are not sitting there all day.

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?
No.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Naptural85. I love her thick, lush hair.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
Nobody really. I’ll check in once in a blue moon. When I first natural, I had my own blog and I was on the message boards all the time. I found what I like for my hair and I don’t need the product junkie temptations.

Where can we find you online?
@shay_lafemme
on Twitter.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Be patient. Be confident. Accept your hair for its own beauty and uniqueness.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
Nope.

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Tia’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Tia. I would describe myself as a very open-minded, free-spirited individual. I love to laugh, to learn and I love hard. I’m also a Pisces.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I have been natural most of my life. I say most because, when I was 13, my mom gave me a relaxer because she didn’t know what to do with my puffy hair and I was tired of wearing a ponytail. However, after that first time, she never did it again and my hair has never been the same since. My once mid-back length hair is now growing in two different patterns, a “natural layer,” if you will. I am now 27.

Did you transition or big chop?
Ummm, lol. I guess, technically, I transitioned since I’ve let it grow out since 13.

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 breakage and retaining the length. I have 3 different textures with the coarsest being in the middle that seems to stop growing at my neck, a very fine 3b in the back that grows on and on, and a 3c in the front that stops at shoulder length. I stumbled upon Naturallycurly.com in October of 2011 and learned a lot about my curls and how they need moisture and protective styling to retain length. My hair has grown 3 inches. Yaay!!

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love that I was natural before it was considered normal. I love the versatility of it, I can be curly or straight whenever I desire.

What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural? What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
I love WEN. I use it to cleanse, condition and as a leave-in. SheaMoisture Deep Treatment masque is my moisturizer and I use a JBCO and EVCO mix as my sealer. I love Elasta QP “Feels like Silk” gel for hold; I have been using that for years before I discovered the beauty in the naturalista lifestyle.

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
I currently wear my hair in a bun during the week as a protective style and then I rock a braidout or WnG on the weekends. Since birth until right before I discovered Naturallycurly.com, I wore my hair in a boring combed, brushed and pulled waaaay too tight pony (that probably had a hand in inhibiting growth).

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it (salon, DIY, straight, curly, in twists)? Before I embraced my natural hair and knew how to take care of it, I got a press once a year. Usually, due to not knowing how to take care of it, I always had to get a serious cut (which always left my hair at my shoulders). I don’t recommend going to a salon, they always want to cut it all off and start from scratch as opposed to nurturing it slowly back to health with minor trims and deep treatments.

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?
Yes, embracing my natural has me working out more (circulation and growth), eating better and now I’m starting to drop this baby weight that I have been carrying for the year that my son has been here.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Yes, YOU actually. lol. I love that shot of your TnC with those beautiful red highlights. I also am in love with the luscious curls of Jess Of Mahoganycurls on YT.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
Hairscapades.com, CurlyNikki.com, Hairlista.com, MahoganyCurls and HairCrush of YouTube.

Where can we find you online?
I’m new to the Naturalista game and I’m  pretty low key. So, I can only be found in two places: Tia Ellisia on Facebook and last month I joined Twitter @Curlymami43. I’m following you Shelli. lol.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
I’d say go for it!!!. It was the best decision I’ve made to take care of my hair, because in turn I had to take better care of my body. My hair is growing and thriving and my waistline is shrinking. How amazing being in tune and loving oneself 😀 !

Anything else that you’d like to add?
Love the blog! Love the hair! Keep up the great work, you’re such an inspiration.

Hair Crush: Candice’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I’m Candice. Wife. Mother (to a dog-child). Daughter. Sister. Friend. God-fearing. Natural! Aspiring personal stylist.

How long have you been natural and why did you choose to go natural?
My last perm was in January 2010. There was no epiphany or life-changing event that influenced my decision to go natural. I have always been of the mindset of, “it’s just hair” and have never hesitated to experiment with my hair. I do remember that prior to going natural, my mom had begun going organic with all of her food and beauty products. I guess you can say that somewhat influenced my decision.

Did you transition or big chop?
I transitioned for about 6 months and then big chopped when I had about two inches of natural hair. I was planning to transition longer, but got anxious about what my hair would look like. *LOL*

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?
One thing that I learned the hard way is that one person’s regimen may not work for somebody else. It’s nice to watch/read what other people do for ideas, but I have wasted LOTS of money thinking that the shine on someone else’s strands could be mine with the purchase of some miracle product.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
The thing that I love most about my hair is its versatility. I love to hear people say, “I wish my hair could do that. Mine just lays here.” That line cracks me up every time. *LOL* I also love how distinctive my hair is. Although the number is increasing, I can still easily be the only natural in a room.


What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
I typically co-wash every 2-3 days with a light conditioner. This week, I’ve been using Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp. I like it because I don’t have to worry about rinsing it out completely as it can also be used as a leave-in. I use apple cider vinegar to clarify about once a month in the winter and more frequently in the summer because I do a lot of playing in the pool. I use Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner when I deep condition. No matter how many other DC’s I try, I haven’t found one that makes my hair any softer. After conditioning, I usually blast my roots just a little with a hand dryer and flat twist my hair using a shea butter mixture (shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil melted and then whipped together using a hand mixer). It dries completely overnight if I do my twists small enough. In the morning, I untwist and fluff and I’m out the door! I usually don’t like my twist out on the first day, but after a night of pineapple-ing its more to my liking on day 2.

The main difference between my regimen now and when I first went natural is the detangling sessions. I miss not having to detangle! *LOL*

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
Well, I am a product junkie in the truest sense of the word, but there are a few products that I always find myself coming back to: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner (for deep conditioning), shea butter + coconut oil whip (homemade) and my castor oil (the perfect oil for my hair—not too heavy but leaves a nice sheen).

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 dry twist out, which is how I wear my hair most of the time. I don’t intentionally wear low manipulation styles, but I do find myself doing a high bun quite often for the sheer convenience of it. I used to do two strand twists, but don’t find that I have that kind of time to devote to my hair these days.

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 don’t think I have let anyone else’s hands in my hair since I cut myself a bob the day of my high school graduation. *LOL*  I trim about every quarter or when my ends start to look unhealthy. I’m thinking about giving myself an actual haircut for the summer!

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?
Definitely don’t care about walking out in the rain or swimming anymore. *LOL*

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Tracee Ellis Ross! And my male hair crush is Andre 3000. Love him.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
I frequent Curly Nikki, BGLH and … Hairscapades! On YouTube I like to watch Naptural85, SimplYounique, & MyNaturalSistas.

Where can we find you online?
Yes! I have a fairly new style blog: chicsavant.com. I’m also on Facebook: Chic Savant and Twitter @chicsavant.

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
I always tell people that being natural, especially when you first go natural, is about trial and error. As much as you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new, you also should not be so naïve that you don’t realize when something isn’t working for your hair.

Inspiration: Sera25 aka Sera2544

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I was revisiting BGLH.com’s post on Bloggers with Great Length Retention and decided to visit the Fotki of Sera25. The pictures of her journey from TWA to hip bone length are A-MUUUUHH-zing*!!! The thickness of her hair, the lushness of her twists and her length remind me of Mwedzi. Alas, my hair will never be as dense or curly as theirs, but I can enjoy the hair porn!! Sit back and prepare to drool at and be inspired by this YouTube video of Sera’s hair journey.

via Sera2544

*If you get the reference, you get bonus points in my book;).

Meisha’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am 25 years old. I am a very loving person and I have a very big heart. I’m very family oriented. I’m very silly, but quiet with people I don’t know. I love to watch movies and to just have fun overall.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
My mom passed away in Aug of 2007 of cancer at age 37. It was really rough for me because we were very, very close, literally best friends. So, not only did I lose a mother, but my BFF as well and, of course, I took it really hard. I didn’t realize the impact it was having on my hair. At the time, I was still getting relaxers, but not every 6 weeks like I normally would. I decided to bleach my hair blonde in March of 2008, kind of like in honor and memory of my mom.  She used to like to dye her hair blonde when it got warmer outside and March 1st is her birthday.  I’ve bleached my hair before with no problem, but never my whole head. Then I decided I “NEEDED” a relaxer 2 weeks later (or so I thought). Well, big mistake. I think with the stress of her passing, combined with the chemicals, it wasn’t a good idea. Sections of my hair fell out and it was shedding really badly.

In May, my husband and I were going to Florida on vacation, so I decided to go and just get it cut into a short style. By this time, the parts that fell out were at a decent length where I could. Of course, she had to relax it for the style. Long story short, I had been doing my research and going on You Tube and, in December of ’08, I decided to stop getting relaxers. It really made no sense, once I thought about it, for me to even get a relaxer. Because, when I got them, my hair would still be curly, but more of a relaxed curl. I was just so used to it and my mom used to do my hair, so I never thought much about it. I never realized how much the relaxer breaks down your hair. My curls now are much more fuller and my hair is a whole lot more healthier than it was then.

Did you transition or big chop? If you transitioned how long?
I transitioned, I would say.  I don’t remember the exact amount of time, but I would say 1 year. I had to cut my hair short while I was still relaxing and decided to go natural about 7 months after that. My hair was already short, so I would just cut off some of the relaxed ends as it grew out.

How do you feel now?
I feel great. I really love my natural hair. I feel like we’ve grown together. It was definitely a learning experience and I don’t plan on ever going back to a relaxer. I’m excited to see where I’ll be in the next couple of years.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
My current regimen is pre poo overnight with coconut oil and Africa’s Best mixture of oils. The next morning, I wash my hair with Shea Moisture shampoo and Kera Care Hydrating and Detangling shampoo. I then part my hair in 4 sections, apply my conditioner, which right now is Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner, and leave that on for most of the day or no less than 1 hour. After that’s washed out, I part my hair in 2 sections and do about 5 twists on each side with Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel and some oil. I put rods on the end of each twist. I usually co-wash once a week and wash with shampoo every 2 weeks depending on how my scalp is. I have a really dry scalp and it’s worse now since it’s winter. I do like to change up my color every so often, so I make sure to keep my hair moisturized.

What are your favorite styles?
My favorite styles right now are twist and curls, braid outs and messy buns. I pretty much like to keep my hair stretched, because it’s easier to maintain and easier to keep moisturized. I do straighten every couple of months just to switch it up. I like the versatility.

What are your hair plans/goals?
My number one goal for now is to reach MBL which I haven’t been since I was little. I also want to see if the front of my hair will even out with the back, which I doubt. The back and middle part of my head grows very fast and my front seems to grow slower.

I want to try Jamaican black castor oil as well as I’ve seen and heard so many great things about it and I’m also hoping it will aid me in growing my hair longer. Also to just be consistent with my regimen, because I have seen a tremendous amount of growth in this past year. I guess, whatever I’m doing, my hair likes it. LOL!

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
My hair crushes are Tracee Ellis Ross, Jurnee Smollett and Hair Crush on You Tube. They all have beautiful natural hair.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber and/or Fotkier and why?
My favorite natural bloggers would be CurlyNikki, AllThatsGold/Cristigold, Taren916 and shortysgs03 and recently added kairox146 and HairCrush. All of them are on YouTube … I love them all!!!

Anything else that you would like to add?
I hope that more people will become more open-minded to natural hair. A lot of people say, “Oh, I couldn’t do that because my hair is nappy and wouldn’t come out like your hair; You have good hair.” I don’t understand that. I think “GOOD HAIR” is healthy hair and I always encourage people to try it and, if anything, you can always go back to getting a relaxer if you don’t like it. So, if you’re thinking about going natural, go on YouTube and the internet and research. You won’t know until you try. It can get frustrating and you must have patience, but the outcome is very worth it.

Hair Crush: Wonder Curl’s HairStory!

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Okay, y’all know that I love me some Wonder Curl Butter than Love for a great TnC set. Well, I finally got the gorgeous Wonder Curl herself, Scarlett, to dish on her HairStory:)! Enjoy!

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am the creator of Wonder Curl LLC, amazing hair care products that give curlies unbelievably beautiful hair. I’m a bona fide Jersey Girl who adores big (curly) hair who was born in Haiti and is a lover of sparkly things.

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I’ve been completely natural (no chemicals or heat) since June 2006, however I’ve been on my ‘journey’ since 1998. I decided to stop relaxing my hair after reading an article in Essence magazine about a woman who went natural. This was my lightbulb moment and I haven’t looked back since.

texturized and pressed

Did you transition or big chop?
Big Chop! There is something so liberating about cutting off all of your hair. Not only is it easier in the morning, but whenever I see a woman with short hair, I equate her with confidence.

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?
I have come to the understanding that my hair is high maintenance, no matter what. It takes me 2 ½ to 3 hours to wash and style. This has always been the case, whether relaxed or curly. Finding the cut and products that work best is key. That’s why I started my own hair care line of products. I wasn’t in love with anything on the market, nor was my hair. Now, I can style my hair and it can last up to one week and I haven’t had a bad hair day ever since.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love the attention that my hair gets me. I get more compliments on my curly hair than I ever did when it was straight. And it’s great speaking with other curlies, helping them along their journey.

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
Wash-n-gos work for me. Using my products and the ‘raking’ method gives me better results than a twist out. Depending on the products I use can dictate how loose or curly my hair can be.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
I use all of the Wonder Curl products. In the summer, I use Get Set Hair Jelly and Get Slick Hair Smoothie for frizz-free, defined curls and, in the winter, I mix Butter than Love Hair Pudding, Hair Whipped (on the ends) and Get Set Hair Jelly for super moisture and definition. The Pudding and Whipped also lets me wear my hair looser.

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles?
My ‘signature’ style is parted down the middle and worn loose and my protective style is a bun.

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 go to Tameeka of JadedTresses.com (NYC) for everything hair. She is one of the few stylists who shares our passion for curly hair to the degree that she is an expert and offers seminars to other stylists looking to break into the natural hair industry. She is also one of the few who cut hair wet. The time to get a trim is when my ends are full of single-strand knots and I have to use more hair products than usual to style my hair.

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?
I don’t need a shower cap anymore.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Shelli of Hairscapades! Seriously, I love following your tutorials and Aevin Dugas, the world record holder for the largest Afro. We’re FB friends and I stalk her page.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
My go-to sites are TheBeautyBrains, SavvyBrown, hairscapades (of course) and TheBudgetSocialite.

Where can we find you online?
www.wondercurl.com
facebook.com/wondercurlcom
youtube.com/wondercurlcom
twitter.com/#wondercurl

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
I believe that nothing will happen until you are ready and explain to those contemplating going natural that it’s a whole new learning process, but it’s totally worth it. Everyone I know who’s gone natural tells me they wish that they had done it sooner.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
It is inspiring that we created an entire industry based on natural hair. We gather to discuss our hair, make products to meet our needs and share our experiences with each other. We didn’t wait for someone to do it for us, and now we are getting noticed for doing something that is the most natural thing…growing the hair that nature gave us and wearing it proudly.

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Thanks Scarlett!!

Don’t forget our British Curlies/Wonder Curl Giveaway this month! If you are a resident of the UK, you can enter to win a sample kit of all four products in the Wonder Curl line! Click the link for details!

My Mom’s HairStory

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5/12/13: In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s an oldie but goodie ;)! Love my mom! She is the definition of SuperWoman. She raised 3 intelligent, successful, respectful and God-loving daughters, went back to school after the third daughter to get her degree and became a teacher while working full-time and running behind my dad to help take care of his farm and many horses (I’m talking, cleaning stalls, walking horses, building fences, etc.). My sisters and I still marvel at how she did it all. I hope one day to be 1/3 of the mom that she is and am so blessed and grateful to call her Mommy!!!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOMMY!!! LOVE YOU MUCH!!! 

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Yes! You read that right! Mommy Hairscapades is in the house! LOL! I meant to do a natural hair interview with her on December 18th, when I saw her at a family get together. But, it got hectic and I never got the chance. Then, CurlyNikki re-blogged a post, Is There a Natural Hair Generation Gap? by Jor-El of Mane Man. I commented on the post using my mom as an example. That little exercise got me off of the pot and on the phone with my mom … and now and I have her hairstory to share with all of you!

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Florence and I’m a child of God, 59 years young, a wife, the mother of three great daughters and grandmother to a sweet and silly granddaughter. I was an elementary school teacher in the public school system for 28 years and retired in 2010, but will always be a teacher. (Shelli: I answered this for my mom because she skipped this question! *lol*)

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I have had natural hair so long that I don’t remember when I went natural. I had a Jheri Curl for about 20 years before I went straight for a short time (too much maintenance). After that, I think I just had an Afro.

My mom is on the couch in light blue. That’s baby Shelli on my Mom-Mom’s lap!!

Did you transition from or big chop?
I wore a Jheri Curl until my hair would get too long and heavy to hold the curl. Then, I would cut my hair down to new growth. It would usually be cropped in the back and sides and longer on the top. My daughters would always ask me why did a get a curl when my hair was naturally curly. I have no idea.

What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle?
As I have gotten older, gray hair is difficult to keep moist.

How did you overcome it or what are you doing now to try to address the problem?
I make sure that I don’t over wash my hair. I use a deep conditioner and change my products every couple months. My hair seems to get used to one product and it will no longer moisturize. My daughters also gives me advice on what products to try.

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I am really not a hair person. I get up in the morning, look in the mirror, pick it out with my fingers, put in a little moisture (if necessary) and off I go. I am not a hair person. If you don’t like your hair, buy a wig, get a weave, add extensions, you can even glue some in.

What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
I don’t do much of anything as a regimen. I wash, deep condition and moisturize about every two weeks in the winter, a little more often in the summer.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
What ever is CHEAP or what I can get from my daughters for FREE!!! I am now using Eco Styler Gel with Moroccan Argan Oil and S-Curl Moisturizing spray. The cold air causes my hair to dry out more than normal. The gel coats it and it stays moist for a couple days and holds the curl pattern.

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?
NO!!! (Shelli: lol! She is a WnG type of lady. When it was longer, she’d wear it in a pony puff. She’d also pop on a fake curly ponytail in a minute! She had a bunch of them!)

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it (salon, DIY, straight, curly, in twists)?
My hair was recently cut very short in the back and sides, longer on the top. I hadn’t had my hair trimmed in over 3 years. I think that, due to the fact that I don’t handle my hair a lot, I don’t develop split ends. My hair is still thick and full. Of course, the gray doesn’t like color. I have tried henna, but it was not for me. The process was very timely and I could not get the color right. I didn’t like looking like a carrot top.

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?
I think my hair reflects the no-nonsense attitude that I have. It is not controlled and neither am I. It is free and I am free-thinking. People are used to me having uncontrollable hair. They either like it or they don’t. It’s their problem.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
No!

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Going natural is no big deal. Many older women (50 and up) now wear their hair short and natural. If you decide you want a change, just flat iron it straight, style and go. There are many options without always using chemicals.

Anything else that you’d like to add?
Try something new and different. You won’t know what you like until you have tried it. Don’t let your hair define you, define you hair.

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Thanks Mommy (yup, that’s what I call her ;))!! You’re the best! Love you much!!

You know, this is the second parent interview we’ve had on Hairscapades. The first was Wei’s interview with his dad. I’m loving reading these and I got a kick-out of my mom’s answers. I hope that you did too :)!

That being said, is your mother natural, transitioning, contemplating transitioning? Is/has your father watched you and/or your mother, siblings go/stay/be natural and has some opinions of his own? Well, why not grab a pen and pad, laptop, iPad … whatever … and send in your mom’s HairStory and/or your dad’s In His Eyes Interview?!

(p.s. I hope that this goes without saying, but if you’re a 50+ natural and Hairscapades follower, I want your HairStory too!! Just find the HairStory interview that works for you. However, if you think that I need more specific questions that speak to the 50+ naturals/transitioners/big choppers, drop me a line! I’m open to all suggestions!)

Hair Crush: Le Shor’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am a workaholic, mother of four children in the process of teaching myself not to take life so seriously and start having fun!

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I have been relaxed since I was 8 years old. As long as I had a hairstylist that was on the same page as me regarding my hair, that is to say, give me a trim, not a cut, don’t yank through my hair when combing, etc., I never had a problem being relaxed. I went natural in 2003. I made a conscious decision to grow out my hair. After about 9 months, I cut the relaxed ends off. I had about 4-5 inches of natural hair. I rocked twists and twist-outs for about 3 months. At the 3 month mark, I decided to get my hair blown out. The stylist used permanent color. I usually used rinses. Well, come wash day, I had stick straight hair in various sections. I didn’t cut my hair. I chose to wear my hair in twists until it grew out for a year. I relaxed again. After about 6 years of being relaxed. I decided to transition my waist-length relaxed hair again.

How long did you transition?
My last relaxer was May 2008. I “accidently” transitioned for 9 months. Three months passed, then six months since I had gotten a touch-up. Itching to see my natural hair, I did the BC. I have been fully natural since April 2009. I was busy being a full-time student, full-time mom to four children, a full-time job…you get the gist. I just did not have time to go to the beauty salon for 3-4 hours to get my hair done. Every time I had the itch to get a touch up I would chop more of my hair off. I had about 3-4 chops before I got rid of all of the relaxed ends. My transition style was braid-outs.

When and how did you big chop?

I decided to big chop in April 2009. I washed and conditioned my hair, got out the scissors and started cutting. I had my daughter cut the back for me.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
It felt like a weight was lifted. I felt very happy, but about 10 minutes later I had a moment of “WTF did I just do!” Like I said .. a moment. LOL!

How do you feel now?
I am still happy with my decision. I am enjoying my hair much more this time around. I have discovered that my hair is schizophrenic. It has many personalities. The crown is straighter and wavy, the sides are curly like 3C, the nape is wavy like 3C, the portion between the crown and the nape ranges from 3C to 4A. Sometimes they play well with each other and other times, not so much.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
I wash my hair once every 6-8 weeks. I co-wash every 3 days when I wear twistouts. I co-wash once a week when I do two strand twists. My current regimen is I put my hair in about 12-16 big twists and co-wash each section making sure that I am detangling my hair with my fingers. I do a thorough detangling with a wide-tooth comb and my denman brush once a month when I color my hair with Clariol’s Beautiful Collection Advanced Gray Solution Semi-permanent Color. I detangle my hair with Aussie Moist, I use Kimmaytube’s leave-in recipe and then use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie when I do my twists.

What are your favorite styles?
My favorite styles are twist-outs and two strand twists. I was experimenting with rollersetting and Curlformers.

What are your hair plans/goals?
Now that the winter is upon us, I plan on keeping my hair in mini twists until May 2012. Every month, I will take them out, wash, deep condition and color my hair. I will probably wear my hair out for a day and then retwist in mini twists. I will style my hair using curlformers, flexi rods, bunning, etc. I want to use this New Year to retain as much length as possible.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
I don’t have a particular hair crush. I love to look at any hair, loced, relaxed, natural, etc. that is healthy.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber and/or Fotkier and why?
I have two favorite bloggers: Hairscapades and CurlyNikki. You guys are my “go to” websites that I frequent on a daily basis. I like to see the updates, tutorials, what’s new and poppin’! My favorite YouTubers would be Kimmaytube and SistaWithRealHair. Kimmaytube because of her scientific approach to why things are the way they are and SistaWithRealHair because of her “this is me and how I do things” attitude.

Anything else that you would like to add?
I have a Fotki at www.public.fotki.com/lbellin and I just started to document my life and hair journey at www.ALifeUncomplicated.com.