How long have you been natural?
I have been fully natural for 18 months. I did the big chop myself at the end of November 2006 after 11 months of transitioning.
What made you decide to go natural?
In the past my hair always grew easily and retaining problem was never a problem, even if I wore my hair down everyday. But, then I got to college and I fried, dyed and blow dried my hair—once I even dyed it blond twice in one day. Eventually my hair just started falling out. I finally got it cut even at SL, but my hair never really grew again. A friend talked about going natural, but I was scared of my natural hair because I equated natural hair to an afro and my personal preference was not to have big, big hair. As I saw her begin to transition I decided to think seriously about it and that’s when I signed up for longhaircareforum.com and realized the different ranges of natural hair—I even realized that I could embrace big hair. After that I was hooked and not looking back.
What's your regimen?
I live by a very simple regime. I cowash my hair and then I use a wide tooth comb to detangle. Then I load a lot more conditioner on my hair and I do not wash it out. About very two weeks (no set schedule) I will use a Shikakai shampoo bar to get any product build up off of my scalp. Immediately after my shower I pull my hair into a ponytail and slick the front down with Hemp Seed Butter or Sunsilk Anti-Frizz/Poof, and if it’s a day when I wear my hair out then let it dry naturally with no product besides the conditioner.
I cowash daily and sometimes I cowash every other day, but I never go over three days without cowashing because then detangling is a nightmare. Every month or two I use Queen Helene’s Cholesterol. I generously put it on throughout my hair and then pull my hair into a ponytail and then I go about my day or night until my next cowash.
How do you wear your hair most of the time?
I wear a ponytail 90% of the time. It’s just an easy thing to do, and I don’t have to worry about my hair. I do make sure to wear my pony tail in different positions on my head as not to strain one area too much. I wear my hair out about 4 or 5 times a month.
What are your favorite products?
I love Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner, Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner, Godrej Shikakai Shampoo Bar, and Queen Helene’s Cholesterol.
What's your top 3 tips/secrets for maintaining healthy hair?
- Don’t rely solely on growth aides. Most likely you are already growing hair, you may just not be retaining your length due to frequent trimming, damage, etc. So keep your scalp clean and protect your ends and see how that works before trying the next miracle drug.
- Staying away from heat. I have not used heat since July 2006 and I really think my hair has rewarded me for that. When I eventually do use heat it will be sparingly.
- Find a place that is supportive and encouraging, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I learned everything I know at longhaircareforum.com, and have found members and topics that have been a major help on my hair journey. I’d probably still have shoulder length, fried and dyed hair if it weren’t for the information I received from that forum.
I haven’t been to a salon since I graduated from college in May 2006.