I’ve gotten the question a countless amount of times and I’ll be honest with you, she’s my best kept secret so I was being stingy–but y’all asked so I’m delivering. Meet Skittlesz. She is my older sister and the only person who’s touched my hair since I was in the tenth grade. She’s truly my hair’s caretaker. Anyway, I’m finally sharing her story with you. Check out what she had to say to me during her interview with me:
How long have you been natural? I have been natural since February 2010. So I just approached 4 years! Yayyy!
What does being natural mean for you? To me being natural is more of a state of mind than anything else. It is feeling comfortable, confident, and esteemed in the body the Creator blessed me with. It is accepting the way my hair looks and feels without any “extra”. It is about feeling just as beautiful with no makeup on as I do with a little foundation. It is about loving my 5 feet frame exactly the way it is built. Being natural is about embracing and accepting exactly who I am as the Creator saw fit to mold me.
Do you have any specific daily hair care regimens? Less is more. I prefer to keep my hands out of my hair on a daily basis. However, I spritz my hair daily with a homemade concoction of water, activator moisturizer, and whatever oils I have handy at the time.
Are there any hair care products you can’t live without? Oh Yes. I absolutely love Castor Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Raw Shea Butter, Suave Coconut Conditioner and H2O. These products keep my hair moisturized and shiny. I have never been one to buy heaps of various products hoping for a particular outcome. I am also turned off by some of the prices of products geared toward natural hair. So being a product junkie is not my cup of tea.
You were brave enough to do ‘the big chop’, what advice do you have for women who may be worried about doing ‘the big chop’? The Big Chop is not for everyone. It is a personal decision for each woman and while I do feel that hair is just hair, it is also our crown and glory. My advice to women considering the Big Chop is to meditate on the decision, weigh the pros and cons, and ultimately make a decision for yourself. Not for your parents, siblings, significant others, or friends. Make a decision for yourself that you will be happy with. Just as with any new hair style, it may take a few days, or few weeks to warm up to, but people will feel your total energy before noticing your single hair style. So be confident, smile, and hold your head high and flaunt your Big Chop!
Do you feel that your natural hair affects the way you are accepted in society? Personally, my natural hair does not greatly affect the way I am viewed in society. There are times when I may jet out the house with only a quick spritz to my fro and I have felt a disapproving look from my mother as if to say, “Why isn’t your hair done…?” Over the last ten years or so, there has been a natural hair movement where men and women alike are feeling confident when wearing afros, locs, twists, block braids, cornrows, and various other natural hair styles. I believe this movement is sending a message to society that our hair is OK. It is not necessary to “relax it,” “tame it,” “compact it” or any other of those phrases that are used to suggest that natural hair is unruly, unprofessional, and out of place. My natural hair is in it’s correct place, and is and will continue to be accepted in society!
Do you ever feel judged by others because you choose to wear your hair in it’s natural state? No, not judged. Stereotyped? Yes. Some said I jumped on the natural hair bandwagon. Some said it would be just a phase. Some said that I don’t know what I wanted. My coworkers are amazed that my hair can look so very different on a daily or weekly basis. At the end of the day, I get a good chuckle off of people’s opinions of my hair. Some opinions are great while others, not so much.
What matters most to me is MY OPINION. My hair is just one small piece of what makes me, so if I feel great about it, I am going to feel good about me. Usually other people feel about me, however I do. So, I keep smiling and rocking my hair, despite the naysayers (although they are few and far between).
What is your favorite feature of your hair? Probably the color. I never notice just how rustic brown my hair is until I wear jet black weave or extensions.
Why did you choose to go natural? In 2009, I became a swim instructor. The chlorine of the pool, plus the relaxer I had, plus my black permanent hair color was a negative! My hair was damaged and dry beyond repair. It did not matter how much I deep conditioned or trimmed my ends, my hair was getting shorter and shorter. So after almost having nothing else to cut off, I decided to cut off the remaining relaxer and let it grow as it may. The chlorine was a major deciding factor for me, but I also was not feeling very attractive with my hair feeling and looking dry and gross all the time. So those two factors combined lead me to Big Chop.
What is your favorite protective style? Faux Locs. Genie Locs. Yarn Braids. Different names, but the same style. I enjoy faux locs so much because they look and feel real, protect my natural hair underneath, are easy to moisturize, easy to wash, and easy to condition. They also keep me from having my hand in my hair on a daily basis. Styling options are also fun with this type of extension as well.
Do you have any specific hair growth regimens? Hair grows, unless you have some medical reason that prevents hair growth. Every now and then I experience periods where retaining growth is a challenge because I have trichotillomania, a disorder that causes me to pull at different sections of my hair. However, I have found that Castor Oil does something amazing. It stimulates quick growth of hair. I use the Castor Oil that comes out of the pharmacy section at Wal-Mart and it does wonders for my fine edges and short spots. I apply it daily to my scalp.
Did you have to ‘learn any lessons’ with your hair during your natural hair journey?
• Scissors are not the enemy. I am not an advocate of scheduled trims and I know that hair grows regardless of trims, but they do keep the hair neat, and decrease split ends.
• Over manipulating is your worst enemy. Leave your hair alone so that it can retain length. Less is more.
• Water is your best friend. Give your hair plenty!
What advice would you give to women just beginning their natural hair journey? Walk in it! Have fun with it! Try new things! Don’t put your hair in a box! Do not focus on the end result. There is no such a thing. Walk in the beauty of growing as a stronger, more beautiful person as your hair grows. Focus on taking care of your body, your soul, your spirit, and yourself, and your hair will flourish. It is an extension of you! Surround yourself with encouraging friends and family members. Take the time to learn about the hair you probably haven’t seen in its raw natural state since you were a child. You will have frustrating days, but count them as a blessing to. It will just build your patience and confidence. Remember, no matter how you choose to wear your hair, “natural” is a state of mind. Love yourself! The Creator does!
Peace & Blessings,