*Singing*‘Talking ‘bout good and bad hair, whether you’re dark or you’re fair, go on and swear see if I care, good and bad haaaiiir!
If you don’t know where that song is from PLEASE stop what you’re doing and add School Daze to your viewing playlist right now.
We all have good days and bad hair days especially in this natural hair journey (Is it a journey really or a return to our roots? Our essence? Hmm..something to think about) I did a post a few months ago on my natural-versary (LINK to post_ and my natural journey thus far. I get tons of questions from friends, family and strangers about my journey all the time and I figure that the easiest way would be to answer your posts here. So here we go:
- How long have you been natural?
My last relaxer was Good Friday 2012, and I transitioned until August 2013, when I big chopped. I am a second wave natural (I totally just made that term up), which means I went thru transitioning/big chop/TWA phase once before.
- What inspired you to go natural?
As I said before I’m a second wave natural. I went natural when I started junior college and had NO IDEA what I was doing. I made a private and personal decision to grow my hair out after I graduated high school. My last relaxer was the day before my graduation and on New Year’s Eve of that year, right before the clock struck 12. I cut all my hair off. I was rocking a TWA after that and felt bare, vulnerable. This was back in the early 00’s and there was slim pickings on the natural hair care product scene. I’m talking…all there was was some Stay Sof Fro, Blue Magic Grease and African Pride grease with the herbs in it. THAT.WAS.IT. I didn’t know about techniques like LOC, Greenhouse, Inversion. It was me and this TWA that I had no idea what to do with it because all my life I’d been a member of the Long Hair Don’t Care Committee, nobody told me how to do this, and the committee doesn’t offer a guide for the this journey. I wore that TWA out. I had never had a protective style in my life and was apprehensive about braids, weaves and wigs, so I just looked dusty while my hair grew out and I learned what to do with it.
Fast forward 4 years and I got my regimen on routine on lock. I was comfortable in my journey and my hair thrived. I always received tons compliments about my hair being super thick and healthy. Then one day while watching Glen Lewis ‘Don’t You Forget It’ video on BET I saw her…and I wanted her HAIR, it was sleek, straight, and I wanted it NOW! I am referring to the object of Lewis’ affection in the video which was Kent Masters King, her hair was so straight and it literally made me want to straighten my hair ASAP. I thought it over and then one day I walked into the salon down the street from my apartment and relaxed my hair, just like that. Didn’t tell a soul. Just showed up at home with my hair blowing in the breeze, Pocahontas style. I remained relaxed until 2013. I toyed with the idea on and off of transitioning again but never went for it. Then in January 2011 I got a bad perm, my hair was weak and limp and my edges have never looked the same. With a lot of TLC my hair slowly made a comeback but I decided that I was going to seriously think about crossing the burning sands back to the land of juicy fros and braidouts. I moved overseas for grad school and decided my journey would start there. My last relaxer was Good Friday 2012 and I big chopped August 2013. The rest is history. I mainly made the decision to go back natural because I felt I’d put my hair thru enough with the relaxers and I wanted a change.
- What’s your regimen?
My regimen is pretty standard, but the products I use are all over the place. It really just depends on where I am, the weather, and the time of year.
And it goes like this:
Wash weekly alternating between a sulfate free shampoo or a co-wash (if I co-wash I don’t DC) and DC with honey, air dry, moisturize using LCO method and I usually wear the following styles: braid out or a twist out, or a slicked back bun where the ends are twisted and pinned in. I wear that for a week to a week and a half, re-moisturizing with water every other day.
I try to deep condition after every wash, it doesn’t always happen but I do it about 2-3/x a month. I clarify once every 6-8 weeks.
If I’m stateside I usually try to protective style from late Fall to late Spring, alternating between wigs and Marley twists. And I follow the same regimen.
- What products do you use?
Shampoo– Camille Rose Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse
Clarifying Shampoo– Suave Clarifying Shampoo
CoWash Conditioner– Suave Deep Moisture Humectant Conditioner, Suave Almond + Shea Butter Moisturizing Conditioner
Deep Conditioner– Camille Rose Algae Deep Renew Conditioner, Neutrogena Triple Moisture
Conditioner: ORS Replenishing Conditioner, Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle, Camille Rose Coconut Water Pentrating Hair Treatment
Detanglers– KinkyCurly Knot Today, Camille Rose Coconut Water Leave In Treatment
Butters– Camille Rose Almond Jai Twisting Butter, Camille Rose Curlaide Moisture Butter, Cultured Naturals Moringa Butter
Oils/Balms– Jojoba Oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Camille Rose Ajani Growth and Shine Balm
*I don’t use ALL of these products every time I wash/style my hair. And I don’t consider myself a product junkie (yeah, yeah I know), I’ve actually streamlined and lessened the products I use, but a mixed 4A/4B/4C girl can NEVER have enough conditioners, balms, butters and deep conditioning treatments. LOL. For the most part I use the Camille Rose line and when I run out I supplement with the other products listed.
- Are you a straight natural?
Until recently (about two months ago) I’ve done most of my journey with little to no heat even to deep condition. No blow-drying, no flat-ironing, only using my Q-redew when my hair felt crazy parched.. The way the humidity in the Caribbean is set up and the fact that I sweat profusely in my hair, I didn’t even bother to try. I stretched my hair by doing braids outs and banding with ribbons. Earlier this year I attempted to blowdry and flat iron once and it looked good and sleek for about 8 hours then it was a massive afro, which was fine.
I have realized that using heat has actually lessened some of my tangle issues so I am not opposed to it. Since I’m back stateside for the Fall, I’ve been using heat, air drying on LOW and using a flat iron on 385 degrees. I love it! I doesn’t make my hair dead straight. It gives me the length I’m always chasing, a bit of that shine I’ve been missing and just big, wild hair. It’s easier to comb thru and work with and I l can’t tell you how much I love it.
- How do you feel about coloring? Using heat?
Personally I have and will most likely always be conservative when it comes to my hair color. My hair is mostly 1b and that’s the lane I like to stay in, but think its cool that other naturals color and highlight their hair. It’s not my thing, no disrespect to them. When it comes to my hair color I’m as basic as they come. LOL. I’m getting a few grays so I’m currently looking into henna-ing my hair. Maybe I’ll try that in the New Year to cover these silver lightning bolts trying to Rogue me. I already answered the heat question. I will say as for using heat and or coloring hair, do what makes you happy but PROTECT yourself! Make sure to pre-treat, do your due diligence with making sure your hair retains moisture when doing chemical processes and always use heat protectant.
- How long does it take you to do your hair?
It all depends on the end game.
Regular styling- from wash to finished protective style 2-4 hours split
Heat styling- from wash to finish- 5-6
*I usually split this over two days because I air-dry and then style the following day
- How long did it take you to grow your hair?
At my current length it’s been about 3 years, 3 months. However I’ve cut about 6-8 inches in the past year.
I’ll be back in a few days with Part II. Until then let me know your hair story in the comments!