N: I am originally from St. Louis MO, (STL DUUURTY). I also grew up in Memphis TN (MEMPH 10)! I currently live in Texas where I am a doctorate level psychologist and Professor. I teach doctoral students in School and Behavioral Psychology. I am also a nationally recognized Natural Hair Care vlogger.
Why did you go natural?
N: I went natural during the process of losing 100 pounds. I was truly interested in ways to ensure I made myself healthy in many areas of my life including my hair. I knew many beautiful and influential women around me who were so inspiring, natural and free. I wanted to feel proud of myself overall. Even though my hair was quite long when it was chemically treated, I knew it was not at its full potential. I no longer wanted to be a “creamy crack” addict and HAVE to use something that was inevitably destroying my hair.
How did you transition to natural hair?
N: I began my transition back in May/June of 2006. I decided that the way I would transition was with braids. I LOVE braiding hair, so I made use of (healthy) micro-braids and 2 strand twists. They worked wonderfully. I also made use of the transition time by trying different products on my hair in preparation for my “big chop.” I used products such as Jessicurl, Oyin Handmade, Aubrey Organics and Activator Gels. My transition ended on March 7, 2007 when I did the BC.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
N: It has truly made me think twice about my health overall. It has been a motivator for me to stay healthy and maintain my 100 pounds off. I have done soooo much research and I know ingredients that work well for my hair and that are safe for my body. It also made me become more aware of other unhealthy habits that I have had. I enjoy taking the best care of myself overall and the best feeling is being “REAL.” People that know me know that what you see is what you get…..LITERALLY.
How would you describe your hair? (In terms of texture, thickness, behavior)
N: My hair is QUITE thick and dense. It has many textures, mostly 4a, 4b and some 3c. My hair is wiry, kinky and curly. In some areas it is super soft in texture and in some it’s as coarse as lamb’s wool, but I love it ALL the same.
What is a brief description of your regimen?
N: -I ensure that I deep condition every 2 weeks with a super concentrated and moisturizing conditioner. I like to mix them with essential oils (Extra Virgin Olive Olive Oil/Coconut Oil etc). I wash my hair in sections and finger comb. Otherwise I use a wide tooth comb. (I ONLY comb when my hair is FULL of conditioner).
-I shampoo and do an acv rinse once a month. I use my “shampoo dilution” method, found on my YouTube webpage.
-I trim/dust my ends every 6-8 weeks, removing split ends and single strand knots.
-I moisturize every other day with a butter of choice (shea) and mix the butters with essential oils (Extra Virgin Olive Olive Oil/Coconut Oil etc.). I then seal in moisture with an oil.
-If it is humid outside, I love to use activator gels as they act as a humectant and create the least product build up. The best are those mixed with aloe vera gel.
-I occasionally blow my hair out for a nice BIG HAIR effect. This is usually limited to once a month.
-I steam my hair 2 times per month (new to my regimen).
-I make sure that the rule with my hair is it can only be in “Out Styles” a couple of days out of the month, limiting combing and manipulation.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
N: I moisturize my hair often and over 3/4 of the year my hair is in protective styles. I like to wear twists and create interesting and fun styles so that I don’t get burnt out on them. I am also a fan of wearing my hair in buns. I realize that maintaining a moisture balance is the BEST thing you can do for naturally curly hair. Keeping the elasticity with moisture in combination with protective styling makes the perfect equation for length retention for me.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
N: During my transition, I went and had my hair straightened with a HARD press. Due to this, I suffered some damage to my hair. I had to cut off more hair during my big chop in order to rid myself of the damaged hair. I am now more educated on heat and what is appropriate for my hair to keep it healthy.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
N: Truly care about it. Treat it like a treasure. Keep it protected, armour it with moisture. Trim/dust your ends every 6-8 weeks and prevent single-strand knots. Take time to deep condition your hair and make up your own “hair recipes” based on your hair’s needs. Make sure that you take the time to build your own regimen and don’t expect for the latest “hair fad” to work on your hair. Find out what works best for YOU!
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
N: There are many places you may find and follow me:
Anything else you want to add?
N: Make sure that you look at going natural as a journey. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not so fun. In the end, you are becoming a better person, you inspire others and you reach your full potential. There is glory in being you…..
I have a workout DVD that will be released this Fall, and I will soon be re-launching my hair product line, so please stay tuned for updates!