2. I went natural for two reasons, first in 2008 my college professor had us reading post slavery books that made me aware of how I was hiding behind my weave and projecting a European image of beauty, and second my hair was severely damaged from heat and lack of care in general. I transitioned for 7 months and mainly used Aphogee products. I wore my hair in bantu knots, braids and rod sets while transitioning.
3. I did the Big Chop in November 2009. My plan was to wait until a year of transitioning but when I went to the natural hair salon for a rod set, they convinced me to chop off the permed ends instead by telling me my hair would grow faster.
4. My hair regimen has become second nature because it is done on a regular basis. I wash my hair twice a week, once with shampoo and then a co-wash. I deep condition with baking soda twice a month. I have a spritz bottle that contains water, veggie glycerin, aloe vera juice and jojoba oil; I use the spritz to revive my twist and to style with. I follow the curly girl method so I dry my hair with a tee shirt, use cold to warm water when washing, and use products that have mainly natural ingredients and no silicone or drying agents. I am trying to make most of the products I use, for instance I put jojoba oil, olive oil, castor oil, Knot Today and aloe vera juice together as a leave-in conditioner; a mixture I found on YouTube and it kept me moisturized throughout the winter!! I use a mixture of shea butter and coconut oil melted together to take down my twists with. I also use Suave and V05 conditioner as well as Trader Joe’s shampoo, which is extremely inexpensive.
5. This has been an enlightening experience for me by learning myself all over again. It is a freeing experience that has forced me to get my self esteem together. Over this year and a half I have had some bad hair days that have made me work harder to get my look together.
6. The response to my natural hair ahs been interesting, I can’t go anywhere without black women questioning me about my hair. Most of them say “I could never do that!” or “you have a different hair texture than mine!” I always promote going natural in public, especially to women who wear wigs all the time or whose hair is damaged. I also direct women to my YouTube channel Ashboogiebrown, just to prove how my texture was very different when I started this journey. Men who have seen the transition of my hair are impressed with how it looks now. When my hair was shorter I felt invisible when I would go out, the men would just walk right past me. I have since realized that it was my low esteem and lack of confidence that the men were sensing that made them react that way. Now that my hair is a little bit longer and can put it in more styles my confidence has improved and I have noticed a difference with the fellas!
7. My biggest influence and support comes from the naturals on YouTube. I only have one friend who is natural that I can go to for advice; however I look to YouTube when I want a new hairdo, if I want to switch hair products and for overall inspiration by seeing how everyone’s hair is progressing.
8. I have learned that you are what you eat. During my journey I have changed my diet to include more veggies and leafy greens, and constantly work on my water intake and stress level. All of those factors are directly related to hair growth. I have learned not to care what people think, because I know the progress I have made by restoring my hair’s health.
9. Research Research Research!! Do not make the decision to going natural without doing your research or being totally dependent on a stylist (unless you got it like that!). Knowledge is power and patience is a virtue. Give your hair a chance to restore itself it is so worth it in the end!!!