SG7’s Natural Hair Experience

I was a part of a group, SG7, during my senior year in high school. The group was formed for Loveless Academic Magnet Program’s showcase, Showing Our Other Side (SOOS). We stepped, sang, and danced. As of today, we all rock our natural hair. This excites me because we are all able to be a part of the natural hair community, along with sharing ideas with each other and helping each other out. I have interviewed my fellow group members so that they could share how they feel about their natural hair.

Questions:

  1. When and why did you go natural?
  2. What do you like about being natural?

Deborah Bethea: “I went natural the winter of 2010. I honestly did it impulsively. I had heard of it, but didn’t really know what it was about. I am grateful I took the step because I love it. It suits my multi-faceted personality because of the versatility (my favorite part).”

Ryan Scott: “I believe I went natural the summer of 2012 because my hair was VERY damaged from excessive hot tools and relaxers. I like the versatility. One day I can have a curly wash and go and the next a nice blow out, and I know my hair is still healthy.”

Brittany Dallas: “I did the big chop on November 23, 2014. I never planned to go natural. I wanted braids to start off my freshman year in college in order to have a hairstyle that was easy to maintain. So, in order to do that I stopped getting a perm a few months before school started. After wearing braids from August to November, I decided to go natural. I’ve loved it ever since because it makes me feel like I’m doing what’s best for my hair. I find it easier to care for my hair and style my hair now that I have a twa.”

Carla Aviles (Puerto Rican): “Personally, I have always preferred natural hair on African Americans. I don’t know much about what being natural means to different people, but from what I have seen, I like the look of it. I think it is great for someone to embrace their natural hair and be able to do different, beautiful styles with it.”

Kristin Mays: “I went natural in the winter of 2012. I got my first perm in the fifth grade and it started off fine but around the ninth grade, I got a lot of damage. In my junior year of high school I decided to go natural. I love how much healthier my hair is and how many different styles I can do with my natural hair.”

Destiny Turner: “I went natural in September of 2014. I wanted to explore my curl pattern and see what all the hype was about. Plus my permed hair just wasn’t pretty to me anymore. I love the versatility and freedom of my natural hair.”

Although we went natural at different times, we have motivated each other through the wonderful process of going natural.

When and why did you go natural?

“Trying On” the Belief That You Are Worthwhile

I recently just started my second semester of my freshman year of college, and I am loving every moment of it to be honest. I am not quite sure if it is because I have finally adjusted to life here at college or because of my class selection, but nonetheless I am still loving it. Here at Temple I am required to take general education courses in addition to the required courses for my major, and I am currently taking a class that studies the concept of interpersonal communication.

In my interpersonal communication class we focus on strengthening our critical thinking, interdisciplinary thinking, and communication skills. At first the concept of the class seemed extremely cliché and cheesy, but I have started to realize that the class is extremely helpful. This week we began covering different strategies that will help to boost and maintain one’s self-esteem, so here are just a few I would like to share with you all that I found most effective:

1) Practice talking to yourself like you are your best friend and give yourself positive affirmations — As corny as this sounds I can not even begin to explain how effective this strategy has proven to be. Just as many other people, especially people of a younger age group, I often find myself picking myself apart and finding things that I necessarily do not like about myself. In order to stop picking myself my apart I have started to look in the mirror for at least 60 seconds every morning and recite positive affirmations. They range from anything to “you’re smart” to “you’re able”, basically anything to aid me in feeling good about myself. Whenever I feel myself doubting myself throughout the day I just remember the affirmations from the morning, and it helps me get through the day.

2)Eliminate all negative self judgements and social comparisons — You can be your biggest critic, and constant criticism of yourself can inhibit your ability to perform at your best. We live in an era where it is so easy to log on to Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media and began to compare yourself to others. While social media can be extremely helpful, I think it causes more harm than hurt in this instance. All you can do in your lifetime is be your best you. If you go about comparing yourself to the next person you will never really unlock your full potential and be the best you you can be.

3)Take great care of yourself and give yourself the gift of self-compassion — There is only one you, so take great care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Allow time and energy for yourself because you deserve it. Not only should you allot more time for yourself but really get into the habit of investing in yourself.

4)“Try on” the belief that you are completely worthwhile — Last but certainly not least, realize that you ARE worthwhile. You ARE worthy. Too often I find myself convincing myself that I am not good enough for something, whether it be an internship or award I tend to think that I am simply not good enough. Lately, I have been getting myself out of this way of thinking because I am worthy of all things good as are you 🙂

 

Starting From the Bottom: Transitioning to Natural Hair

Let’s rewind back to 2009. If you would have asked me if I would ever get a relaxer and big chop again after my first time going natural, I would have scoffed, rolled my eyes and replied with a simple, “never!” Here I am, 5 years later, natural for the second time: short hair, a good amount of products and confused by the follicles growing out of my scalp. Surely by now I should be used to this but I’m not. Last September I made the decision to relax my hair with the desire for something new and the need to start all over again. I loved it. My hair was straight and flowy as I twirled my signature flip in constantly with a hair straightener. I felt sassier than ever.  As the months went by, my relaxed strands became dull and my natural hair more prevalent. “Oh yeah,” I remember thinking, “my real hair!” After 10 short months of transitioning, my scissor happy hands found themselves snipping away at my color-damaged orange and brown strands 10 minutes before I had to leave for work. What on earth was I doing? If you were to ask me this question every time I did something with my hair I would probably tell you the same thing each time: I have absolutely no idea.”

Starting over is difficult. When I first started to cut my hair for the second time, I was terrified and immediately stopped after snipping off a small section. However, my desire to start over was overwhelming. My relaxed hair was nothing but a memory of all the hurt and difficulty I encountered in my sophomore year and since my junior year was only weeks ago, I told myself that it is only right that I start new with no attachments. So for the second time, I started over.

My second cut may not have been as drastic as my first cut back in 2009 but I am going through the same struggles that I once faced. Seeing myself as beautiful, working out which styles I can do with my hair (I may be African but my braiding skills are not the best) and playing with products and figuring out how to maintain moisturized strands. Coupled with my hectic life schedule and school load, returning to natural again is a lot more difficult than I initially imagined. But day by day, I am getting through it. I am becoming more accustomed to what my hair likes and what is a recipe for a disaster.  Remembering what I once did and finding out new tips and tricks have led me to a place where I am more comfortable with my hair.  I definitely won’t  be returning to my pastime favorite of playing with hair colors. My accumulated damage is what led me to start all over. Instead, I want nothing less than healthy, happy virgin hair that I can grow out to my goal length and more importantly, enjoy! However, hair is an accessory after all and I will still be experimenting with some natural dyes and treatments. I hope that you all can join me on this roller-coaster ride of ups and downs as I ride towards my hair goal of waist length. Stay tuned to my posts on CurlyinCollege  and follow me on my personal networks if you want to see more of me! I am a golden unicorn of magic so expect to see a lot of me!

XOXO-Ivie

Evolution of my hair regimen

Over the past year or so, the questions I have been getting are “what products do you use on your hair?” and “what is your natural hair routine?” It is always difficult for me to answer these questions because I have tried so many products and switched up my routine several times. At the beginning of my natural hair journey, I only used products that my friends suggested. Well, eventually I realized that everyone’s hair is not the same, and what works for one person does not work for the next. However, I was willing to try all of the products as a source of trial and error, so that I could learn what did and did not work. Although I usually answer the question with the products that I currently use on my hair along with my current hair regimen, I tell them about the products I have tried that did not work for me and why they did not work.

When I first started wearing my hair natural, my hair regimen was very complicated simply because I was doing the most with my routine, especially when I did not know why I was using the products I was using and had read about the somewhere.

My routine consisted of:

  1. Washing my hair with Bronner’s Castile Soap
  2. Deep conditioning with 1 egg and mayonnaise for 30 minutes
  3. Rinsing my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Taking three hours to do a twist out with a leave in conditioner, shea butter, and coconut oil
  5. Adding the shea butter and coconut oil mixture to my hair as my hair started to dry out throughout the week

I stuck with this routine for about a year. I learned a lot from the products I was using. I figured out that the protein from the egg and mayo really helped to grow and strengthen my hair. On the other hand, I learned that the coconut oil was drying out my hair; therefore I started mixing olive oil with the shea butter, which really helped to keep my hair moist.

When I saw that my hair was progressing in growth, I switched products and changed my routine.

This routine consisted of:

  1. Co-washing with Tresseme Naturals Conditioner
  2. Using the Paul Mitchell Leave in Conditioner
  3. Styling with up do’s using the shea butter and olive oil mixture

I reduced my regimen when I realized that I only really needed to keep my hair moisturized, and it would grow. However, I switched from this routine when I discovered my hair type. I started using products that suited my hair texture.

My current hair regimen consists of:

  1. Co-washing every two weeks with Tresseme Naturals Conditioner
  2. Shampooing with Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
  3. Styling using Shea Moisture’s Curl Soufle and olive oil

The evolution of my hair regimen has taught me that my hair texture will constantly change depending on how I care for it. I have also learned the level of moisture my hair holds depending on the products that I use.

How has your hair routine changed? What have you learned about your hair over time?

4 Must Haves for Healthy Hair in 2015!

I am quickly approaching my third year of being natural, and with that being said I think it is safe to say I have found a hair care regimen that works well for my hair and fits into my busy lifestyle. With the beginning of the new year and new year resolutions, I thought maybe a few people have hopes for healthier hair in 2015 so I have decided to share a few must haves for healthier hair in the new year!

1. Co-Wash When I first heard of the concept of co-washing I was not completely sold on the idea of washing my hair with conditioner. It was not until I began to co-wash my hair on a weekly basis that I began to see the results for myself. My hair was able to retain moisture much easier and it did not dry out as much.

2. Sulfate free shampoo I am extremely obsessed with keeping my hair adequately moisturized, especially during the winter season. I learned of sulfate free shampoos around the same time I was introduced to the concept of co-washing. I thought well since I am washing my hair with conditioner regular shampoo obviously isn’t good for my natural coils and kinks, and after a little research I found my initial thoughts to be accurate. Shampoo with sulfates strip the natural oils from your hair causing it to be more susceptible to breakage and other types of damage. My favorite shampoo has to be Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo because my scalp feels really clean after every use.

3. Leave in Conditioner What good is a good wash and condition without some leave in conditioner as a follow up? My favorite leave in conditioner is Cantu’s Shea Butter Leave in Repair Cream. This leave in is amazing because it detangles, hydrates, and protects my hair. How great is that?! It’s a product every natural should consider trying because it makes my hair care regimen less time consuming as it helps to keep my hair healthy and extremely manageable just in case I decide to style my hair.

4. Essential Oils Oils are a huge component in my hair care regimen. I actually only use three oils for my hair and they are Dax’s Coconut Oil with Vitamin E ,Organix’s Extra Penetrating Argan Oil, and any brand of  Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I use Dax’s Coconut Oil for everyday use in order to keep my hair moisturized and I use Organix’s Extra Penetrating Argan Oil when I am in need of a deep conditioning. I tend to use JBCO if I am experiencing any breakage or thinning because it helps to stimulate blood flow in the scalp, thus encouraging new growth.

I hope that my hair care regimen for 2015 reaches you all in good spirits, and I wish you all a prosperous new year! 🙂

 

Are You Natural If You Wear Weave?

“But what about those girls that drench their hair in products to make their hair have a different curl pattern?”. This was one of the many interesting viewpoints that was brought up during CurlyinCollege’s very first tweet chat Monday night. The big question of the night was “Are you considered natural even if you wear a weave?”. A question I once believed to have a simple yes or no answer quickly turned to be full of a bunch of gray areas, and it forced me to reconsider what being “natural” really meant.

While the twitter debate was beginning to unfold, I noticed that most natural women who wear their natural hair  on a daily basis considered women who wear weave not to be natural. As a young woman who wears her natural hair on a daily basis I can somewhat understand this viewpoint. Someone who wears a weave, especially if it is straight, is not the most accurate/authentic representation of what it means to be natural. While someone’s hair might be natural underneath their weave, the general consensus was that there is in fact something a little “unnatural” about someone wearing a weave.

Once the twitterverse decided that women who were weave aren’t completely “natural” bigger questions came in to play. Is there one definite description of what it is to be “natural” and who decides who is “natural” and who isn’t? Some argued that being natural ultimately means putting your natural curl pattern on display and obviously a weave doesn’t do this. So if putting your natural curl pattern on display makes you natural, what about the girls that use numerous products and style their hair in order to create or define a curl pattern? I am in fact one of “those girls”. I am a product junkie and I often style my hair in order to create a more defined curl pattern, but I never thought this made me any less “natural”. (Well until this tweet chat took place).

We here at CurlyinCollege decided to facilitate this tweet chat because we wanted to stimulate healthy conversation about natural hair on social media. Ultimately, I think we were very successful in doing so. We were able to contribute to the ongoing debate of what is actually means to be “natural”. More than anything this tweet chat really helped people to understand and accept the fact that there is not one, singular look for the natural woman. Being natural is not limited to just a huge afro sitting on one’s head, but in fact it is beginning to take on several different look as the natural hair community is rapidly evolving.

As I close out this post to actually get started on a twist out, I urge you all to keep this in mind. At the end of the day hair is in fact just that… hair. While it’s an amazing aesthetic that allows us to try out several different looks and help us to express ourselves, it does NOT define who we are. DON’T get caught up on trends and hairstyles or try to force yourself into a specific box. DO what makes you happy, and that includes styling your hair the way that you desire.

One Love

Straight Hair

Did you get a perm? The answer is No!!! I get asked this question often when I get my hair straightened. I receive more compliments when my hair is straightened than when my hair is natural. Although I do not have a problem with the compliment situation, I just believe that straight hair is accepted more by the society. However, I do not let the society deter me from doing what I think is best for the overall health of my hair. I understand that everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, and I respect that. Since natural hair is becoming a trend, kinky textured hair is becoming less of a BIG deal.

I get my hair straightened every six months. Unfortunately, I have not mastered straightening my hair on my own. I go to the salon, and my beautician uses the hot comb to straighten my hair. I wish I could get my hair straight with just a blowout and flat iron, but my hair is a little too kinky for that and needs a little extra heat.  I have 4b/4c hair, so it takes more time, and it is a little more difficult to straighten my hair, especially if I want it silky straight.

I choose to get my air straightened every six months to help prevent heat damage. Heat damage causes a setback in the natural hair journey, and I am looking to move forward in mine. I also use this time to get my ends trimmed. Since I only get my hair straightened twice a year, I am not opposed to having straight hair more often. I just like rocking the kinky hair look most of the year. I know that it is probably just a mind thing, but I feel that my hair grows faster when I wear it natural.

I usually leave my hair straight for about three to four weeks. I maintain it by wrapping my hair every night using and Denman Brush and a wide tooth comb. Then, I put on a mesh wrap and a satin scarf to hold it in place. After my hair usually start to puff up after a week, I use Alikay naturals heat protectant spray and curl my hair using my Conair flat iron. This process puts the body back into my hair. I only do this once; when my hair puffs up again, I either find other styles or wash it and begin wearing it natural again. Maintaining my straight hair is easier than maintaining my natural hair, simply because all I have to do is wrap every night and take it down every morning.

Yes, I prefer my kinky hair over my straight hair. There is a lot more I can do with the kinky texture. However, having straight hair gives me a break with the daily maintenance of the kinky hair. I love the versatility of natural hair. It allows me to explore my options and express my individuality.

Do you prefer the kinky texture or straight hair?

Meet The Interns: Kiana Ward

Hello! I am Kiana Ward, a current student at North Carolina A&T State University and I am expected to graduate in the year of 2018. I went natural January 2nd, 2014, and I big chopped.

My deciding factor on going natural was that I just wanted healthier and more even textured hair. I had grown tired of the straight ends and the breakage and I just needed something different. Still today, my perception of myself varies depending on my social group. Some like my curls and others do not. When I receive compliments on my curls, I love them. When there’s criticism, I find myself trying to change my look. I have definitely experienced a difference in treatment since going natural…especially with the guys. But I enjoy my hair either way. It’s mine!

My favorite part of my hair routine would have to be deep conditioning. I love the feeling after you’ve detangled and shampooed. It is amazing. My top three hair products would be Coconut Oil (any brand, honestly),Aquage Seaextend Ultimate Colorcare with Thermal-V Strengthening Conditioner, 16 Ounce( love it! live by it), and Shop CurlyInCollege© – Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Original Leave-In Moisturizer for Unisex, 8 Ounce.

My top three hair tool…I don’t really use any tools. However, I do use my paddle brush whenever I wear my hair in a bun. Bob Pins are very useful also.

My #MCM has been and will always be A$AP Rocky, and my #WCW is the beautiful Jade Kendle from Youtube. I love you guysss.

[bws_related_posts]

Meet The Interns: Hana Ford

My name is Hana Ford. I attend Temple University and I am apart of the class of 2018. I went natural June 29, 2012, so I have been apart of the natural hair community for approximately two and a half years. I was attempting to transition however I simply did not have the patience so I just decided to do the big chop.

The main thing that made go natural was the overall health of my hair. I was starting to experience lots of breakage and I tried everything to fix the problem, but I just was not successful in doing so. Every since I cut my hair I have become so confident in myself and I have started to value myself for the queen that I truly am. I think other people definitely perceive me as a much more confident and outgoing individual since I went natural.

Since I have cut my hair I think people have subconsciously placed me in a group with all the other women and girls who have natural hair. I have much love for the natural hair community, but I have an identity outside of my hair and each person with natural hair is different in their very own way.

My favorite part of my hair routine is styling my hair because there’s always numerous options. My top 3 hair products would have to be coconut oil, Cantu Leave In Conditioner, and Organix’s extra penetrating Argan oil. My top 3 favorite tools are my fingers of course, a Denman brush for detangling, and a wide tooth comb so I can pick out my fro from time to time.

My current #WCW is the model Wakeema Hollis. She’s absolutely stunning and she rocks her natural hair in photo shoots which I absolutely love. My #MCM would have to be Pharrell because he is both timeless and ageless and he’s an icon in the music industry.

 

Meet the Interns: Ivie Enoma

Name, College, Graduation Year

Hi! My name is Ivie Enoma and I am a proud Marketing major at Temple University set to graduate in Spring 2016!

When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition?

This is actually my second time going natural! The first time, I transitioned for 8 months before big chopping. That was in the summer of 2009. I was natural up until September 2013. I got a relaxer and transitioned once again for about 11 months. I big chopped in August 2014 and here I am again 1 year and 4 months post relaxer!

What was the one deciding factor that made you go natural?

The first time I went natural, I wanted to do something different with my hair. I am pretty tender-headed so I was experiencing a lot of burns and sores from relaxers and I was fed up with it. I hated everything about the relaxing process and did not want to continue my discomfort. The second time I went natural, I wanted to start all over again. After experiencing with a lot of color, heat and just not properly caring for my hair, my hair health had fallen greatly. My curls were limp and frizzy and I hated it. So I got a relaxer to transition and go natural once again. This time I would keep my hair healthy and I am successfully doing so!

How has your perception about yourself, and others, changed since you’ve been natural?

Now that I have short hair again, I definitely look a lot older than I actually am and that occasionally gets to me from time to time but my perception of others has not and will never be affected by a choice that I make for myself regarding how I choose to look.

Have people approached or treated you differently with natural hair?

Not really. I just have this one sorority sister who loves my hair texture. She always plays with my curls whenever I do my hair and I love it. Other than that,I have noticed that I get a lot more compliments when my hair is straight which is ironic to me because I’m not  a big fan of straight hair.

IvieWhat is your favorite part of your hair routine?

I love washing my hair to bits! It’s the most relaxing part of my routine and I look forward to it throughout the week. Call me weird but I love it!

What are your top 3 must have hair products?

Definitely a conditioner with tons of slip to make dentangling a breeze, a great leave-in-conditioner and some type of sealant. I like to use Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration, Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew and raw shea butter.

What are your top 3 favorite hair tools?

Other than my basic comb and soft bristle brush, I have the Hair Therapy Cordless Turban that  I like to warm up and use for deep conditioning.

Who is your current #MCM and #WCW?

My Man Crush Mondays are constant and cannot be limited to one man! I will forever and always fall head over heels for Idris Elba, Seung-Hyun Choi (T.O.P) and Charles Michael Davis. I have a ton of other side baes but those 3 will always be my top #MCM. My #WCW changes constantly but right now I am totally in love with NaYeon (@Naye0na on IG) because her makeup skills are incredibly enchanting!