What inspired you to start growing natural hair? How long have you been natural? What styles did you wear before this decision?
This is my second (and final) time going natural. The first time, I did the BC because after taking down a set of braids, I noticed that my hair was very matted. I couldn’t get a comb through! So I decided to go ahead and cut the matted hair off so that I could get my braids re-done, but I ended up liking my fro. Unfortunately, I wasn’t committed to my hair the first go ’round. I didn’t have a regimen, wasn’t taking care of it. I let others opinions effect what I did with it, and got frustrated because I didn’t know how to style it. So after a year being natural, I went back to the relaxer. I always knew that I wanted to give it another try in the future. So 2 years later, here I am NEWLY NATURAL again! I just got tired of the relaxers. I noticed that with each relaxer I got, the thinner, shorter, and more damaged my hair became. No more perms for me! I’m finally ready to embrace my thick, natural curls for life!
What were the responses you received in response to your natural hair decision?
The first time I went natural, I received mixed responses. Most of the guys I knew were more accepting of it (brothers, friends, etc) than my female friends and family members who normally perm their hair. The second go-round no one was surprised and I got more positive responses, maybe because they’ve seen me with short hair before. One response that surprised me was my boyfriend’s. Prior to cutting my hair, he expressed that he liked my hair long and didn’t want me to cut it. But after he saw my new short hair, he immediately fell in love with it. He thinks that it “brings out my face more,” and now prefers it to my relaxed hair!
I co-wash my TWA 2 times a week, because I noticed that when I try to extend it to once a week my hair and face feel very oily. I also have more breakouts on my forehead if I wait to wash it. I wonder if that happens to anyone else. Since my hair is very short, I’ve been rocking wash and go’s for now. I did my first twist-out, but didn’t get results that were different from my wash and go’s. I’ll have to try that again when my hair gets longer.
What products do you use in your hair?
I’m still trying to determine my staple products since i’m still fairly new at this. But this is what I’m using right now:
- Shampoo – SheaMoisture Moisture Retention Shampoo (when my hair feels like it has a lot of buildup)
- Conditioner – Wen Cleansing Conditioner (got it as a product swap during a meet-up)
- Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
- Coconut Oil
What are somethings you’ve learned about your hair during your journey?
I’m learning that the best thing is to listen to my hair. Everyone has different responses to products based on their hair type, so I’ve learned to not expect the same results. There is so much research out there about what’s good, bad, etc for your hair. I take all this information into consideration, but ultimately, how my hair responds dictates what I do to it and the products that are best for it.
What advice would you give to women contemplating growing natural hair?
Don’t let anyone discourage you from your natural hair journey. I made that mistake during the first time I was natural. If you make the decision to go natural, understand that you’ll face mixed reviews about your hair from people you care about (and people that you don’t lol). I find that joining a natural hair forum, and going to natural hair meet-ups keeps me encouraged!
How do you feel when you see other Naturalistas?
I feel so encouraged when I see other natural chicas, especially when I start to feel frustrated with my hair.
What are 5 hair items/products you can’t live without?
Since I’m newly natural, I’m still trying to figure out what works best for my hair. However, right now I am in love with Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I think that’s something that I’ll keep in my regimen for a while!
How can you be contacted?
You can follow me on twitter @imgenu9ine
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Jenell Stewart, formally known as BlakIzBeautyful is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Kinky Curly Coily Me. Jenell has a MS in special education and dedicates her time to educating and uplifting women with kinky, curly, coily hair. She big chopped on March 26, 2010 and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.View all Jenell posts.