Where do you live?
I live in Nashville, TN. It is where I was born and raised. Currently I am a secretary by day, Cuban Salsa dancer by night! You may see me in your city at the salsa club. I try to go to a new city to dance at least once a month. This year me and my group (Nashville Rueda) have performances lined up for Knoxville, TN, Huntsville, AL, and Atlanta so far.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
I was in undergrad and I was sooooo broke. I literally could not afford a perm so that is when I made the decision to go natural. I made the transition in 2004-2005 school year. I wore sew ins for about 6 months. When I took the sew ins out I cut off all of my permed hair and had a TWA. The transition for me was not hard at all.

Being natural has made me richer (no more paying for perms!), made me more spontaneous (sure I would love to go salsa dancing in the rain!), made me more accepting of myself, and changed my dating prospects. I realized that some men
are simply not attracted to perms, some are only attracted to naturals. I usually get a lot of international men that try to holla.

How would you describe your hair?
My hair is very very nappy. Less nappy in the front and the nape of my neck more so in the middle. It is medium thickness. It likes warm hot baths with grapeseed oil where I can lay back and dip my whole head in, it likes humid/rainy days where is can suck up all the moisture and water from the air. My hair likes long walks on the beach so it can soak up all the sun’s rays, though it does not like ocean water. It functions best in these conditions. It loves to be two strand twisted with a shea butter coconut oil mixture.

What’s your regimen?
My regimen is largely based on how my hair feels. If it is dry I will simply run wet hands through my hair and then put some grapeseed or coconut oil on it. Sometimes I use Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Elixer as an oil moisturizer. I co-wash every week with Palmer’s Olive Oil Formula Conditioner and Jane Carter Solution Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner. I rotate these two out every other week.

If I do a full wash with shampoo it means my hair is gunky with styling products. I have to use a clarifying shampoo such as Herbal Essences Degunkify. Then I do a vinegar rinse with 1/3 part vinegar to 2/3 parts water. If I don’t do the rinse then my ends feel really rough. I then condition with the above mentioned conditioners. I buy avocados with the purpose of using them on my hair, but I usually end up eating them. I have used them before though and I got the best results when I actually left bits of the avocado in my hair accidentally because I was too lazy to rinse my hair some more. I did a blowout and my hair felt super moisturized and smooth.

To do a twist out I use this shea butter cream I made. It is ¾ part unrefined shea butter to ¼ part coconut oil. I put a bit of avocado oil in it. It seals moisture in wonderfully and I have not found a commercial product that works better. I put it on after my hair is towel dried and twist. In the morning my hair is soft and the shea butter act as a setting lotion to help the twist keep their shape.

To smooth my edges I use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It did not enhance my curls, but it does smooth my edges. I also sometimes use good old fashioned Murray’s Pomade. I only use that if I am going to wash with shampoo soon cause it builds up a lot. When I do a blowout I use the shea butter/coconut oil cream I make.

When I want to get the perfect afro the best thing for me is to add the shea/coconut oil mixture to my hair, do a blow out or braid out, then let the hot water in my shower run to be it all nice and steamy, then let my hair absorb the water. It shrinks into the perfect halo fro around my head.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
Okay ladies…..#learnfrommyfails
My hair does not like color. You see the beautiful fiery red fro hawk? I had to do a big chop 2 months later.
My hair does not like to be straightened with a flat iron. I was in Philly for the purpose of getting a trim and she flat ironed my hair. The end result was a big chop. I did not learn my lesson and used a flat iron again on my hair, another big chop. So I have had 2 big chops since I went natural. When I flat iron my hair, It does not go back nappy and smells burnt all the time. Needless to say, I will never flat iron my hair again. Ever.
When using a vinegar rinse in the shower DO NOT shave first! If you vinegar on a freshly shaved body it burns like (insert STD joke here).

What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
The best thing I have done is a sew-in. It just gave my hair time to relax. None of my real hair was out. I bought a satin hair bonnet to put over my headrest in my car. Now my hair in the middle back of my head has stopped breaking off! Going vegetarian and organic has helped my hair grow back quickly from all those big chops. Some naturals are so concerned about using organic all natural hair care products but will then go to the drive thru of McDonalds or Taco Bell and eat chemical laced foods. Good hair really starts from the inside, not from whatever products we put on the outside.
Ladies, get on YouTube! Every single style pictured I have gotten online.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find u?

Anything else you want to add
Yep! Ladies, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and experiment with your hair. In the grand scheme of things, it is only hair, it will grow back.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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26 Comments on "Neytiri // Natural Hair Style Icon"

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i just wanna clarify something, is perming hair more expensive than wearing weaves?
she said “I was in undergrad and I was sooooo broke. I literally could not afford a perm so that is when I made the decision to go natural. I made the transition in 2004-2005 school year. I wore sew ins for about 6 months.”

Bitty Boss

The variety of styles that you rock are mindblowing! Who says natural hair isn’t versatile? 🙂



He hair and texture are gorgeous.

Her styles were Cute *

http://beautyofself.wordpress.com/ (Celebrating Black beauty * Btw’ We’re having a Giveaway)


Awesome post!

I love your hair, glasses, make up and overall style. I love you comment about natural haircare products and diet. Going natural mae me more health conconcious and led me to become a vegitarian.

I’ll be following your blog!


Love the hair and the styles!

LOL at your comment about avocados. I have yet to bring myself to use one for hair…they’re just too good to wash down the drain. Same with bananas.

Annie L.

Love that bouffant! My hair dislikes heat and color too. I had to BC after going natural due to..yup, a dye job. And again after flat-ironing damage from a stylist (who also gave me the infamous perm/condish cocktail w/o my consent). Sadly no more bright color for me 🙁 but I don’t miss trying to mask the burnt toast smell my flat iron and curling iron would leave IN my hair. Wholeheartedly agree on the nutrition. I’m a lapsed raw foodie but my body is just in BALANCE and everything’s healthier when I’m eating right.

Miss p

“I buy avocados with the purpose of using them on my hair, but I usually end up eating them” So funny!
Same here, I love avocados! The idea of putting such a yummy (a sometimes pricey) stuff in my hair, instead of my belly, makes me sad 🙂
Besides: I love the red lips!

Dawn Michelle @ Minimalist Beauty

I loved reading this post! I never thought about using a satin cap for the headrest in my car and that is brilliant. For as much driving as I do this is a must. Thank you so much! Also being vegan myself I also agree with you about diet. Organic vegetarian food is the absolute best!


I love all your different updos




PLEASE CLARIFY THIS : so she doesn’t DEEP CONDITIONING ???? just cowash weekly and shampoo when her hair needs it..?


Nope, I hve nvr deep conditioned. I’m not convinced tht it does anything. I mean, u rinse it off. Maybe someone else can explain how deep conditioning works.


Nashville stand up! I love hearing about other Nashville naturals. 🙂 And girl if we ain’t hair twins we are atleast hair play cousins. It would be nice to catch one of your performances in town.


Yay nashville! We r performing april 8 at lentz public health center at 7….u shud stop by.


Nice to find there are other black salseras!!!!!!!! Loved this article, and her hair–gorgeous!!!!!!


Another black and natural salsera in the house! I went dancing in Kansas City last night and I saw so many natural sisters there!


thanks for the support ladies!

Christy Hyman

What a cool sista! I enjoyed this piece a lot. Don’t feel bad because my hair does not like color either. My length has become a little stagnant since my last hair lightening experiment (which was June) no more color for me either!

Robin Nicole

I love a fly chica with a slick sense of humor lol. Neytiri, your hair is all types of amazin’! =)

I love your hairstyles (and I will be experimenting this weekend – especially those up-dos). I have issues with the flat iron as well! And thing is I’ve been natural for over a decade and there were times when I would use it weekly. Now if I flat iron, some of my hair will come out in strands – what’s up with that?! And I don’t even put it on a high heat setting! Luckily, I’m not a fan of straight hair though on rare occasions I want to try something different. Whenever I do straighten it (I believe I’ve… Read more »

I really enjoyed this. You are hilarious. Thanks for the warning on hair color. I am dying to go burgundy like Rih Rih but am terrified. When I had a relaxer I lost hair twice due to coloring so Im fearful that even as a natural it will be risky. Anyway, gorgeous hair! Thanks for inspiring.


Wow, her hair is awesome! I just followed her blog. Very nice styles. Lol, I thought I was the only one with a can of Murray’s in the hair product drawer!

I thoroughly enjoyed this post! You’re beautiful indeed, and the body of the post is informative and I enjoyed reading every last word. I DO love your fiery red, but sad to see that you had to BC soon after. I tried dying with Clairol Textures n Tones, but it didn’t take, I guess cause I didn’t leave it on long enough, and I’m kinda glad. I HAVE been tempted to purchase a flat iron, and had wondered if it left a burnt smell like the ironing comb. Thanks for the tip. That smell is repulsive, and I’d rather not!… Read more »

“Some naturals are so concerned about using organic all natural hair care products but will then go to the drive thru of McDonalds or Taco Bell and eat chemical laced foods.”

That comment is so true!!! Now I love my Filet O’ Fish and the new shrimp tacos from Taco Bell *blushes*, but I try to balance it. I feel the same way when I hear of people (not just on hair journeys but in general) taking allllll of these supplements, you have to lay the right foundation to get the full benefits.


Yes! I preach diet and exercise on my blog and let me tell you it is something alot of chicas do not want to hear about. Won’t drink water, the couch is your bed with a Happy Meal in hand. Your hair reaps what you sow….



i totally agree. it starts from the inside first.

i go to taco bell to sometimes….so i can relate. i was talking to myself too lol.