Occupation: Bachelor of Music 2014, College Senior, Singer/Actress/Makeup Artist
Hometown: Prince George’s County, MD
1. How long have you been natural, what made you decide to go natural?
I’ve been natural for almost 5 years now. I decided to go natural in my senior year of high school when I discovered YouTube! I subscribed to a lot of female YouTubers for their makeup tutorials, but many of them were naturals and posted hair tutorials as well. Watching their hair tutorials inspired me to try something new with my hair. Besides, I was never good at maintaining my straight/permed hair in the first place.
After I went natural I started finding new reasons why I love being natural and would never go back to permed hair. I can be very much analytical and when I thought about the notion of having to change part of me that was designed by God and given to me uniquely just to fit in with everyone else or succumb to other people’s standard of beauty that may or may not be my own, I decided against it. Not to say that everyone with a perm doesn’t appreciate themselves for who they are, but I just don’t feel the need to change my hair texture permanently for any reason. I actually got my perm in high school because it was suggested to me by my cheer-leading coaches so that the team could preserve their “image”. This mentality is just plain wrong.
Being natural makes me feel free! And on so many levels. I feel the most like myself. I feel confident and unapologetic about who I am, and how I was created. I’m not trying to be like anyone else but me. Having natural hair is such an empowering experience. My hair is big, strong, stubborn and a whole lot of other adjectives that can also be used to describe who I am. I love it! Plus natural hair is so versatile. I can straighten it when I want, stretch my curls, or not. I also love that when it rains I don’t have to run for cover! And I can go swimming any time……
3. What is your hair regiment?
My regiment changes based on what my hair needs, and I know that from really getting to know my hair and knowing the signs of poor regiment (dry hair, lots of tangles, split ends, etc.) I can get a little lazy, so I’ll just tell you what I should be doing, and what I actually do for my hair right now. I should be cowashing my hair every other day and washing it with non-sulfate shampoo once a week. As of right now, I’ve only been cowashing twice a week (yikes!) I should also be using a leave-in conditioner every time I wet my hair. I ran out of leave-in and haven’t been to the store, so I’m currently using Eco Styler Gel and Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk.
One thing I never change is how I detangle and handle my curls, because it’s so important for my hair! I always detangle in the shower while I’m conditioning my hair. I finger-detangle, which causes less breakage (and less pain) and leaves my curls more intact when I’m going for a more polished look. I’m thorough with detangling because once I’m out of the shower I do not rake my fingers or comb through my hair ever again. If I do, I’ll end up with a lot of frizz or just really big hair. That said, when I do want big hair, then I’ll detangle again after getting out of the shower.
I’m still in school, so I LOVE to wear wash-and-go styles, but I’ve also done a lot of braid outs in the past and those are nice too. To be honest, my favorite style right now is the Top-Knot which anyone of any hair texture can do as long as the hair is long enough. I don’t do a lot of protective styling, but I will soon because my hair needs a break from all of the tangles.
4. Any tips or advice for girls going natural?
Embrace the changes!! Going natural is extremely hard if you haven’t already accepted that everything about how you treat and view your hair might change. The best thing to do is to right away find reasons to love your hair just the way it is. Don’t try to treat your natural hair like your permed hair. You may find yourself not using a comb as much, or not trying to wrap your hair, or not using heat. These are all good and acceptable changes.
Also, give yourself and your hair time to adjust to the change. A lot of people try to transition and end up quitting because their hair didn’t grow enough, or they didn’t look the same as before. Hair growth and developing health takes a lot of time, but it’s so worth it! And you’re not going to look exactly the same with a new hair texture and/or length. Own your new look!
If it helps, get with a support group! On the University of Maryland campus, we have Maintaining A Natural Essence, a new organization that focuses on natural hair, healthy lifestyle, and positive self-image. There are plenty of blogs, channels, and organizations out there to help you along your journey.
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