Tag Archives: natural hair inspiration

Hair Crush: Brielle’s HairStory


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?
I transitioned.

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 coilycurls@gmail.com) 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!


Hair Crush: Michelle’s HairStory


Remember Michelle (aka Mickie) from our first Grow Out Challenge? Well, she’s back with her HairStory … and a new blog!!


Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Well, my name is Michelle. I’m from Chicago. I’m a fashionista and Natural Hair Lover. Recent MHA graduate who is living and Loving Life.

How long have you been natural and why did you choose to go natural?
I transitioned for a whopping 24 months before I cut off my relaxed ends!!! (Long, I know. But, hey, it’s my hair right?) As long as it took, I got there. LOL!

June 2009 was the last time I got a relaxer in my hair!! One day I was visiting my boyfriend and his aunt was over. I noticed her hair was flawless. I asked her what she did to her hair to get it so pretty. She told me that she was natural! I had contemplated going natural several times, but thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it. She gave me the number to her stylist who specialized in natural hair and I made an appointment with her in September of that same year. I was tired of my hair looking brittle and feeling dry. I wanted to get my hair done for my birthday and her stylist (who is now my stylist) did my hair and I loved IT! After that, I noticed I had gone so long without a perm!! I started noticing my curly texture and I loved it!! I said, “The heck with a relaxer” and decided from that day on that I didn’t need that in my hair! I LOVE MY CURLS!!!

How did others (family, friends, and colleagues) react to your decision to go natural?
My family and friends were very supportive! My boyfriend was very supportive; he has locks, so he understands how I feel about my natural hair. My family thought my hair was beautiful and I actually inspired several of my family members and co- workers to become natural!! It feels so good to know that they wanted to go natural because of my journey!!!

What is/was your biggest hair challenge? How did you overcome it?
My biggest hair challenge at first was dealing with my two hair textures while transitioning. When I decided to transition, I barely knew anything about my hair, so I went to my stylist every two weeks and she styled my hair. I mostly wore it straight, because I did not know how to deal with my two textures. Once I learned different styles, then I began to try them on my hair. It took several attempts to get them right. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!!! I learned this quick!! Patience is KEY!!! I still go to my stylist to straighten my hair when I want to wear it blown out though :).

Left to Right: May 2011, June 2011, Aug 2011, May 2012

What do you love most about your natural hair and/ or being natural?
I love the versatility!!! You can be curly one day, straight another, twists on another day and an updo the next! I love that my hair is just that, my HAIR! Free of chemicals, and healthy! I love being natural and I love when people ask me what I do to my hair to, “get it like that” LOL! I love giving advice to new naturals or those considering going natural, because maybe it can help them in their journey.

What is your current regimen?
My current summer regimen is as follows:

  • Shampoo once a week (either Friday or Sunday) with Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus curl and shine shampoo.
  • Condition with TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner.
  • Deep condition twice a month with JessiCurl Weekly Deep Conditioning Treatment.

Styles I’m rocking:

  • Twist and curl (with Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie) or;
  • Braid and curl.
  • High bun for the rest of the week.

Click on images to enlarge

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?

  • Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie!! MY FAVE!!
  • Jane Carter Nourish and Shine
  • Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner
  • TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
  • Jane Carter Revitalizing Leave-in Conditioner
  • Eco Styler Gel with Olive Oil
  • Cantu Shea Butter
  • Argan Oil

What is your “go to” style? Do you wear protective and/ or low manipulation styles? If so how often and why?
My go to style is the HIGH BUN!!! ALL DAY!!! This is the best style EVER!!! LOL. I wear braid and curls and twist and curls mostly. I occasionally will do mini-twists depending on how I’m feeling, lol. I have A LOT of hair! (And it takes FORever!!) I wear high buns, mostly because they are easy and you don’t have to do much and … they’re just SO CUTE!!


How often do you 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 try to trim every 6 months. I go to my stylist to do it; she does it while it is straight. YES I would recommend her!! SHE IS THE BEST STYLIST IN CHICAGO! Her hands are magical I tell you!! Her name is Nading and she just opened a new salon, Salon Pressure in Chicago.

Do you have a hair crush? If so who? CurlyNikki, MeechyMonroe, Pari Sade, Shelli Gillis (Hairscapades), Tracee Ellis Ross … ummm I think that’s it, LOL.

Where can we find you online?
Well … I recently started a blog happilyevernatural.com. I plan to cover everything from natural hair, fashion, transitioning, recipes, DIY jewelry, recipes, to different hair topics!!

Instagram: naturalista86
Facebook: Happily Ever Natural

Anything else that you would like to add?
I want to be an advocate for long-term transitioners!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!! I know that transitioning is not easy, but patience is the key!!! Please check out my blog and Facebook page. Also, I will be starting a YouTube channel soon!! Be on the lookout for that!! Thanks for letting me share my story!!!

June GOC Update: Miss Leah (#7)


by Miss Leah of A Diamond Through the Fire

I can’t explain how thrilled I am with my hair growth process! Almost a year ago, I told my fiancé I wanted to get a sew-in (weave) for our wedding day. His reply was, “Why don’t you grow your own hair?” Wooooow, I’d never thought to grow my own … CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

I began searching online for assistance in growing out my own hair. While stalking Curly Nikki for hair tips, I saw a post with Shelli of Hairscapades. It was love at first curl! Looking at her hair and reading her story encouraged me. If she could do it, I knew that I could attempt to do it. At the time, she didn’t have a blog, so I went to Curly Nikki’s site to see if there were any updates from Shelli. After some time, Shelli started up her own blog, Hairscapades! I was thrilled to say the least! She began the GOC sometime after that and I decided to join. I didn’t have anything to lose (besides straightening my hair weekly!).

It has been a long road, but it was totally worth it. It took months of experimenting to find the right balance for my hair. TRIAL and doggone ERROR before I finally perfected my routine. Loads and loads of patience was needed to perfect my unruly day 2 twist-outs and tons and tons of products to get my curls to lay just right. I didn’t know what I was in for in the beginning, but I STUCK IT OUT.

I am sooooo glad that the GOC was my starting point. If I hadnt joined, my hair would probably be shorter than the 08/10/11 picture. I went from heat damaged to healthy hair. Though it’s been a rough road, it’s been well worth it! I want to thank all of the hair gurus for their constant encouragement though this journey: Shelli of Hairscapades, Nikki of Curly Nikki, Wes of Spiced Honey, Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty, Rece of A Hair Story (she is also the reason I started this blog) and countless gurus on YouTube: Naptural85, Haircrush, LeobodyC5 and Longhairdontcare2011. I literally went on all of these pages DAILY searching for assistance with my tresses :). I look forward to waist length by next year!!!


Want a sneak peak of Miss. Leah’s wedding day hair?!? Check it out here!

And check out her other GOC- The Sequel posts here:
Initial Submission
April Update

Want to see where it all began with the first GOC? Find Leah’s entrée into the first GOC here:
GOC Contenders – The Fourth Wave

The Big Chop: Nicole’s HairStory


Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Nicole. I’m a married mother of 3, who is quiet by nature, friendly, observant, loyal and an easy-going person.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
About 10 months after I had my first child, I experienced a lot of shedding. Then came the breakage along the left side of my nape area where it broke off completely. It felt like my hair was thinning and it was confirmed when I had to loop my the band around my hair 3 times when I put it in a pony tail. It was bothering me, because I had long hair for as long as I could remember. My hair is my crown and glory and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I incurred so much damage that my stylist had to cut my hair into a bob (first cut was chin length and the second cut was at the cheek) within an 8 month period. I didn’t know what caused the problem with my hair. I asked myself was it my diet or stress? So, in the meantime, my friend Tiffany was transitioning and I was contemplating with myself saying, maybe I need a fresh start, but I was still unsure. I told myself I would give it 1 year and then I’ll decide to either go natural or return back to relaxing my hair.

How long did you transition before you big chopped?
1 year.

When and how did you big chop?
June 1, 2012 is when I did my big chop and I did it myself.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
A mix of fear and excitement. My heart was pounding!

How do you feel now?
In AWE. I never saw myself with a TWA. I’m glad that I never have to duck the rain or worry about limp, lifeless hair. This is the most spontaneous things I’ve done thus far.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
I’m still developing a hair care regimen and still testing different hair products, so I don’t have any staple products yet. So far, I DC once a week with my current DC, which is Sof’nfree Nothing But Intense Hair Mask. I co-wash twice a week with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Conditioner, then use a leave-in conditioner, either Cream of Nature Organic Lemongrass & Rosemary leave-in or Cantu Shea Butter Leave -In.

What are your hair plans/goals?
To retain length, learn how to style my own hair and find what products my hair likes.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
Rachel True from the TV Show Half & Half. Her auburn coils are shaped so perfectly. Also, Tia and Tamera Mowry in their Sister, Sister TV show days. I always admired their hair. And Elle Varner; she has envious ringlets and volume.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, youtuber and/or fotkier and why?
I watch Jazzybee445, she makes a great natural moisturizing spray. Naptural 85, excellent DIY hairstyles and tips. And Fgrogan. Although she’s not natural, she does long relaxer stretches. She’s quiet informative and has an inspiring hair journey. Also Curlynikki, and now Hairscapades, are my go-tos for information.

Anything else that you would like to add?
Yes. I’m looking forward to a new beginning with my hair and also doing the same with my daughters’ hair. I hope to achieve my ultimate hair goal to be BSL. Also, I met you at the Meet-up at Pooka Boutique with one of my besties, Tiffany Millican. She’s been encouraging me to take better care of my hair and ditch the chemicals.

Tiffany (left); Nicole pre-BC (right)

Flashback Time Part 3: More Then and Nows


It’s been a while since our last set of Then and Now pics, so I hope that you enjoy this jam-packed Flashback post as much as I love getting and sharing all the pics and stories!!



I always had long, thick, wavy hair. Growing up, my mom would always braid my hair using lotion. However, she had the shock of her life when I returned home from a weekend at my cousins to see my aunt had relaxed my hair, lol. So, from then on, I would get relaxers 2 to 3 times a year. I began transitioning August 2010 and did my big chop September 2011. Since my BC, it’s been exciting and challenging at times.

Learn more about Mennia’s hair journey via her GOC updates.


I was about 6 years old in the first pic … and already relaxed. My first relaxer? At age 3! I know… WOW!! My hair was, and still is, extremely thick!! In my younger days, despite the “creamy crack,” my hair was healthy. My Mom took great care of my hair to ensure its vitality and growth! She always kept my hair cleansed, moisturized and braided. SO BEAUTIFUL!! But then, as I aged and thought I was grown, I began making hair choices of my own. Deciding to relax too often, cut too much and color! The mistakes I made ruined my hair.

Fast forward to “Now.” I was tired of my hair. I wanted a change. Something different. Something healthier. Something better. I took the plunge and BIG CHOPPED!! It was the first time I had seen my hair in its natural state! AND I ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN’ LOVE IT!!! That was 6 months ago. I rocked that TWA with style and confidence! I am learning so much about my hair and its health. Learning to style with twist outs, coils and WnGs!! My hair is healthy and strong. I cannot wait to continue this journey. As many of you know, natural hair leads to other great changes, but that’s another story …


Growing up, I had a thick lush mane of hair. My mother took amazing care of my hair. She washed my hair EVERY week (every 2 weeks during colder months). Back then, it was all about Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Shampoo. I loved the tingle and smell of it (and still use it today as a body wash). Then she would slather a generous helping of cholesterol treatment on my hair. It came in a silver tube with a blue label (or sometimes a hot oil treatment). I would sit under a heating cap for about 15 minutes. Once my hair was rinsed clean, she would part and braid it wet into 4 to 6 braids.

On Sunday, I would either get a press out or she would send me to one of the neighbors for a cute cornrowed style. Regardless of whether it was pressed or not, my hair was combed every morning before school. When I stayed with my grandmother down south, she kept up the regimen, but also spent a lot of time declaring, “Lord child, you got such thick hair” while straightening it in the morning before church. Little boys used to accuse me of wearing a wig, my hair was so thick. LOL!!

By the time I was 10, I taught myself to cornrow my own hair and would use beads to decorate it. I would spend hours creating different looks and even bangs. By high school, I started the age old begging-to-relax-my-hair phase. At 16, I was allowed to do so and entered the every “8 weeks club.” I went to Black Hair Is … a well-known salon in the West Village, NYC, because my mother was willing to spend the money for me to take care of my hair. I started with a fierce page-boy, then went to a layered look to keep the length. By senior year, I went punk, cutting off one side and then wearing a close-cropped “Anita Baker” right before prom.

In college, luckily, I had my sister to do my hair as she was a stylist in Baltimore when I was at Howard U. But, within a couple of years, I grew weary of the upkeep and began to really take a closer look at my roots. I was beginning the process of embracing my natural hair. So, in 1989, the summer after finishing my third year, I made the decision to go natural. No transition, just chopped it off. I went to African Trendsetters, one of the best barbers in Brooklyn at the time. The barber, Dexx, would go on to cut my hair and be my stylist for the next 10 years. I did Caesar cuts and even rocked a high top fade in the early 90s. Through the 90s, I mostly would do two strand twists and had shoulder length hair.

Outside of it falling out due to chemo in 1995, I’ve had a great head of hair. In May 2007, just for a change of pace, I relaxed it again out of boredom. Then, on Christmas Eve 2009, I chopped it off again myself and discovered a new texture. Dunno if it is hormones or what, but I fell back in love with my kinky curls. My brother even noticed the change as he was the only other human allowed to touch my hair to twist it or put a clipper to it.

In the past 20+ years of being a naturalista before that term even existed, I’ve seen and done it all. My friends rely on me for advice when it comes to their hair. Today, I pretty much keep up the same regimen because I had such a great example. My mother rocks locs by the way. We use the Shea Moisture line. Love it. And when budget does not allow, I use the Pantene Relaxed and Natural line as a back up.

Thank you for doing what you do!!!


Thanks for letting me share my hair pictures!


I’ve been wanting to do a Flashback since Shelli posted her first one last year. I love seeing pictures of other GOCers when they were little girls, not feeling the pressure to conform to society’s views of beauty. Anyway, just wanted to share my flashback moment with you all.

A little about my upbringing … my parents divorced when I was about 2 years old, but luckily for me, my mother left me with my dad. Why do I say, “luckily?” Because, as you can see, my mother doesn’t have hair like me. My curls fall somewhere smack dab in the middle of my dad and my mom’s hair. My mom was never able to help me style my hair when I was a kid and, when she did, I always had jagged parts and looked like a plantation baby. Thank God no one took pictures of my hair in that state. I knew it wasn’t cute, but didn’t know how to do it myself, so I just avoided going outside after my mom did my hair. However, she was ahead of her time in that she always told me to leave the regular rinse-out conditioner in my hair.

My mom’s sister has hair more like mine, so she had no problem doing my hair, but she always put my hair into very neat and extremely tight bobbles and braids when I was little. My hair used to be so tight that, when my mom dropped me back off with my dad’s family after my weekend visit with her, the first thing my dad’s mother would do is loosen my bobbles and braids. I often had headaches because they were so tight and, one time, I yelled at my grandfather to “shut-up” the moment he walked into the house. My grandmother protected me by saying, “Sim don’t kill the baby. Her hair is too tight.I have to loosen all of these braids.”

My grandmother was using natural hair techniques before they became as popular as they are now. Come to think of it, when I was in high school, she used to tell me and my cousin not to put metal clips in our hair because they could snag and pull our hair out. We didn’t listen and often thought she was just being silly. I wish I’d paid more attention to her advice.

Now about my dad. He was a darn good single father. His sisters taught him how to do my hair early on and he often did my hair for school pictures. He mastered the two-strand twist in no time flat and even taught my stepmom how to do it after they got married. He didn’t have to do another head of hair after he remarried, but even now he recalls with pride how he had to teach her how to twist my hair so that it wouldn’t unravel after she put a barrette on the end. I’m convinced that I’d have a serious bald spot if I lived with my mother after my parents’ divorce, because she always had her sister do my hair. I actually have a thin spot from where she regularly parted and braided my hair. I appreciate her effort to make me look nice, but I really believe that a child’s hair can be cute without having every single piece of hair in its perfect place. To this day, I can’t stand my hair being pulled back for any length of time. I feel so bound and restrained when it’s pulled back :-).

BONUS: Weusi!

I couldn’t resist! Isn’t he a cutie ;)?


Miss the prior Flashback photos and stories? Don’t fret! You can check them out here and here! And, let’s keep the fun going! Send your Now and Then pictures and stories to  hairscapades@gmail.com to be featured in a future post!

May-June GOC Update: Rebecca (#33)


I hope everyone’s keeping cool this summer. I just wanted to give a quick update on my hair journey.

In May, when I kicked off the GOC, I finally got my mom to get a big chop to go natural and leave her long time affair with the relaxer. Now, here’s where I think I deserve a medal :P. I big chopped with her!!!

She was afraid to go through with it, so I did it with her to prove how carefree it would be to not have to be a slave to the salon every two weeks like she had been doing. Now, all the money that she saves from not going to the salon is used to help get her fix since … she is now an official product junkie, lol.

I must admit, as soon as I promised my mom what I was going to do it with her, I immediately thought about my hair goal. To bring me back to reality on the fact that it’s just hair, I had to remind myself that, for the last 5 months, I have been telling my mom, “A big chop is not a big deal and your hair will grow back to mid back length again, but healthier!” (She had breakage from heat styling and her scalp was sensitive to the relaxers.) I didn’t want to be a hypocrite, so I bit my tongue and went through with it. And, I must admit, I love the freedom of short hair!!! There’s no detangling sessions :)! However, secretly, the length shock did bug me a little at first.

I added some color to it mid May.

And then in June, I took it a step further!!

I got some honey blonde highlights. My thoughts on this was that my hair was short and this is a first for me, so I might as well experiment. Now I do DTs twice a week to keep it moisturized. I plan on still growing my hair out and keeping it healthy.

I’m not sure if you can tell, but my TWA has gotten a little higher since May. My hair is growing pretty noticeably, so I can’t wait to send another update in August!

Mom and I with our new hair cuts at the Naturally Curly Pool Party 2012!

If you missed it, check out Rebecca’s Initial GOC-The Sequel submission here.

The Big Chop: Toya’s HairStory


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!

Tia’s HairStory


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.