Follow on Twitter @IMHopkins
NY by way of Philadelphia, PA
1. How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for 3yrs this month…
2. Why and how did you go natural? (Did you transition? What products and styles did you use?)
I went natural to find my individuality, a sense self expression. Natural hair is more versatile; I have the option to straighten my tresses on Saturday, rock a twist out by Thursday and wear braids the next week. I love that. During the transition I wore all types of styles that kept my hair almost out of site, out of mind as I was growing and snipping away the perm little by little. I wore braids majority of the time. Tanyieka Gale, Hair Braider from Chester, PA is a natural girl’s life savior. She’s been braiding my hair for 10 years now.
3. Did you transition long term or do the big chop? Why?
My transition lasted about 8 months. I opted to grow my hair out rather than to chop it. I was too emotional for the “big chop”. Since I had the patience it wasn’t necessary to do something that drastic.
4. Tell us about your hair regimen. What products and techniques do you use? How do you keep your hair moisturized?
I’m far from a product hoarder. I’ve been loyal to the same shampoo and conditioner for over 2yrs. It takes a lot for me to try a new product.
I wash my hair about ever two weeks or when I feel that my hair has way too much product for the fluff and bounce I like in fro.
Shampoo: Fantasia Tea Tree Shampoo
Conditioner: Relaxed and Natural by Pantene Pro-V mixed with Henna & Placenta with Olive Oil by Husk Placenta. I just started this mixture and it is amazing.Leaving my hair very soft. I deep condition for about 45mins to an hour with this.
Moisture: During my transition I used Wild Grow, after going completely natural I used African Pride Dry Mist Oil, and Biosilk during blowing drying and straightening.
Setting: Motions Setting Lotion for rod sets and braid outs. Lock and Twist Gel; one of the newest products that I loooove. It works great for my Bantu knots and twists, leaving it soft, curls flowing with definition.
This experience has allowed me to gain a new sense of confidence. Big hair, don’t care attitude. If it rains I’m not as upset as I used to get. Swimming pools and ocean water I love, (laugh). I actually took swimming lessons this pass Fall. I workout more and yes sweat my hair out and don’t mind. I just love my natural.
6. What was others response to your naturality?
The response on my natural has been flattering. Women; White, Black Spanish you name it walk up to me and admire in amazement. All my life people have always asked, “Is that a wig” “which curl is that”. I’ve caught people looking at my fro like it’s an art exhibit (laugh). I laugh and nicely tell them that it is mines. As for the Men, they love it. Sometimes I’ve gotten “you’re not all black to have all that hair.” Pure ignorance if you ask me but I’m happy I can look them in the face and say “yes I’m a Black Woman with all this hair, no chemical or purchased.”
7. Who was your biggest influence/support? How did they provide support during your natural hair transition?
My biggest influence was my sister Tracey, as she started going through her own personal transitions with working out she started to go natural to avoid the stress from sweat, ponytails and heat. My sister is looking amazing these days after losing 80lbs through Body by Denise, a fitness program out Queens, NY. Her drive, passion and dedication have helped me through my own transition from relaxed to natural and personal development. Nonetheles she has been a big help with my nightly plaits and rod sets when I’m too tired to do them on my own, (laugh)
8. What have you learned since being natural (about yourself, your hair and other people)?
I’ve learned to just be ME; the styling of my hair, my clothes and personality. People want REALNESS. Go natural was the best thing that has ever happen to me.
9. What advice would you give to those transitioning or concerning natural?
To just do it! Stop putting the perm in and come to the kinky side (laugh). When transitioning for anyone growing it out, “Patience and good transitional hairstyles are key”! Do your research, YouTube is a good place to find new hairstyles, be inspired by others going through the emotions of transitioning and/or people that have done it. And remember all products are not for everybody, if something works for you continue to use it.