Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Brielle. I am a super family-oriented person, very friendly and silly. I LOVE to laugh and I am loving.
How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I transitioned for a year and a couple months. I can’t recall how long. But I got ALL the relaxed and DAMAGED ends cut off last year in June of 2011. So, I always say that I’m fully one year natural. Well, I have one year’s growth of relaxed free, heat damage free hair.
I chose to go natural initially because I had a permanent color and perm and my hair broke off tremendously, leaving me with a mushroom cut. I just decided that it was time to let the relaxer go. Plus, I’m super tender-headed and that new growth used to HURT, lol!
Did you transition or 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?
EVERYONE except my older sister and two cousins (who were natural) was negative about me going natural, sadly, even my mother. I will never forget the day she said, “Wow, your hair is really nappy. Are you sure you wanna do this?” I was really upset, but I ignored the comment my best and kept pushing. Everyone kept telling me that my hair was trained to be straight, so it would never be curly like I wanted and I ignored them, because I knew they were wrong. NOW everyone comes to me for natural hair advice and they, “ooooohhhhhh” and “ahhhhhhh” about my hair, how it is so pretty and thick and full, and guess what? CURLY … lol. BAM!!!! In their face!
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 obstacle was breakage due to excessive straightening and accepting my own natural hair. It was hard for me, because my hair was short and the texture was one I had never felt before. It was new to me and I was not comfortable. I overcame breakage by deciding to TRULY be natural and wear my own texture. Once I became comfortable with the curls, I slowly accepted my texture and began to like it. I just pushed through the days I didn’t feel “pretty,” because I knew that they were only temporary and not permanent days and that my hair would get to where I wanted.
What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
I love my CURLS! I love being able to wear my hair in a curly state. I love people asking, “How did you get your hair like that” and I can respond, “I washed it and went” (Wash ‘n Go). And, I love being ME. I love not accepting the societal view of beauty. Being natural says, “I know I’m beautiful just the way I am, I will not change who I am for anybody but ME!”
What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
My regimen is pretty simple. I co-wash in the shower twice a week with whatever conditioner I left in the shower at the time. I section my hair in half, detangle with conditioner, wash that out, squeeze water out of section, clip it up and out of the way and rinse conditioner out of the other side and clip it up and out of the way. Proceed with shower routine. After I shower, I get excess water out of my hair with an old t-shirt and start applying conditioner (usually Tressemme or Suave) as my leave-in to both sections, one at a time, smoothing in the conditioner. Then, I use a VERY SMALL amount of Eco-Styler Gel (about a quarter size) and emulsify on my hands. I smooth that through one section at a time, grab my spray bottle of water and spray my hair and shake my head to clump my curls. This Wash ‘n Go usually last about 3-4 days (I’m wearing a 3 day old Wash ‘n Go right now, lol).
It takes roughly 4 hours to dry and I wrap my hair at night. I know that it sounds weird, but I do! I just wrap it around, securing the ‘fro with bobby pins all around and tie it down with my silk scarf. I know it is weird, but one night I stumbled across this method by just trying something new and it works! LOL, my secret is out! Wrapping my ‘fro gives me bigger and fuller hair than using the Pineapple Method does.
The biggest and most major thing about my regimen that changed is that I no longer use sulfates or silicones. I am strictly Curly Girl and my hair is LOVING it. It was the best natural decision I have made.
What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
My staples are Tresemme Naturals, Suave Naturals, extra virgin olive oil,Eco Styler Gel, and tea tree 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?
My go to style has changed from the puff to the Wash ‘n Go, mainly because I have learned to master it, lol! I wear low-manipulation styles 90% of the time and, maybe once a week, a protective style. I wear low-manipulation styles, because I just haven’t quite figured out the protective style fit for my personal style. None seem to suit “Brielle.” Ya know, I love my hair free! I wear a protective style mostly due to weather.
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 trim my hair every 6-8 months OR whenever I feel its needed. I cut it myself while wet and curly. I take a small section and curl it with my finger (finger coil) and snip the ends. Then I uncurl it, stretch it, check for evenness and trim it evenly.
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?
Health-wise, I became very conscience of what I was putting into my body because of the constant habit of “ingredient list reading” for hair products. So now, I am conscience of my calorie intake and I solely associate this with my natural hair. My style has changed due to my natural hair, because I honestly feel free. I do not feel hidden behind someone else’s perception of expectation of beauty and style. I wear what I like and I’ve never felt more FLY, lol! Going natural has influenced SO many women in my life. I am happy to be able to do that and I also proved so many people wrong about “not being able to go natural,” because my hair is beautiful and I LOVE it. So, my mentality has changed very much and I am definitely just a better person. I’ve learned beauty is not always outside, but inside. I feel going natural has definitely made me a confident being!
Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
YES!!!!! lol. CIPRIANA from Urban Bush Babes.
Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
Blogs: MahoganyCurls, UrbanBushBabes, AroundTheWayCurls, Naturalchickepi, Jamila from CollegeCurlies.
YouTube: Taren916, AliciaJames,Naptural85
Where can we find you online? I have a blog, coilycurls.blogspot.com (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) and am on Instagram as Bhaylee.
What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
To the person contemplating, GO FOR IT!! Because, say you don’t like it, you can still go back to your relaxer. But why not give it a try when there is nothing to lose? For those discouraged with their natural hair, BE PATIENT. It may not be where you want it right now, but it will be, especially if you have a length goal. We all know that healthy hair grows. Be patient with yourself. It will get better. We all go through a moment when natural hair can be discouraging.
Anything else that you’d like to add?
Be CONFIDENT and pursue your aspirations. I love to write and I always have. But, I assumed no one would ever read my blog or be interested. But it does not matter, because, at the end of the day, I am HAPPY doing something that I love and am very passionate about. If you love something, go for it. Do not settle. EVEN with natural hair, keep pushing until you make your goal!