What inspired you to start growing natural hair? How long have you been natural? What styles did you wear before this decision?
My mother encouraged me and my sister to go natural. I’d been getting relaxers since I was 12 and they really damaged my hair. I started going natural a little less than a year ago. I am now 21.
What were the responses you received in response to your natural hair decision?
Most of my african american and biracial friends liked it. Some of them even said they felt a little more motivated and wanted to go natural too. A lot of my Caucasian friends are curious about my hair and ask questions and want to touch it, but they don’t say anything mean. A few of my relatives aren’t as supportive though. A couple have asked me If I’m going to start getting relaxers again and I told them “No way!” Some people don’t think my natural hair is all my hair and with one person I actually let them run their fingers through to prove there were no “tracks”
How often do you wash and style your hair? What are your favorite styles to wear?
I wash my hair once a week. I usually just wear it out in a curly fro or put my hair in a little ponytail/poof (whatever you wanna call it). Sometimes i wear twists.
What products do you use in your hair?
Right now I use Eco Styler Gel (usually the olive oil or argan oil), Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Lotion, and Kinky-Curly Products (conditioner & shampoo). I’ve tried Shea Moisture products and Giovanni Shampoo and Conditioner a couple of times.
What are somethings you’ve learned about your hair during your journey?
I started transitioning in May of 2010. After transitioning for a few months I did the Big Chop.
I have kinkycurly hair. I only comb it when its wet from washing or after I’ve moisturized it. Before washing my hair, I separate my hair into 4 parts. I wet my hair in sections and apply shampoo and conditioner to each section. Once the conditioner is applied, I use a wide-tooth comb to detangle my hair. I’ve learned not to rub my hair with a towel. It would make my hair frizzy and cause split ends. (Pat it and scrunch up hair then let air dry). Sometimes I braid/twist my hair and let it dry that way, then wear a twistout/braidout later on. At night before I go to sleep, I twist/braid my hair or put it in a loose bun, then I put on a satin cap or silk scarf. I switch the products i use often. Still figuring out what works best.
What advice would you give to women contemplating growing natural hair?
Be very patient and do lots of research on hair care. I have a document with all the helpful info that I find saved on my computer.
How do you feel when you see other Naturalistas?
It’s nice to see other women with natural hair. When I just started and used to think about giving up & just straightening my hair again it helped to read hair blogs and see other Naturalistas in public.
What are 5 hair items/products you can’t live without?
Wide-toothed comb, Eco-Styler gel, satin cap or silk scarf, Moisturizer, a headband/scrunchy.
How can you be contacted?
My blog http://paintthetowndarling.blogspot.com/
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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.