*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
Y: My name is Yaya (gov. Maya). I’m from the Inland Empire, CA…Born and raised in So Cal although I also lived in Las Vegas in middle/high school. I am a full time college student majoring in Business/Theatre Arts. I am an artist, dance teacher, and aspiring singer/actress. I’m also working on a play and a book right now. The play is somewhat of a secret [; but the book is going to be a book that embraces natural beauty, full of beauty secrets, scientific facts, plenty of pictures, product recommendations, and the best home-made beauty products that anybody can make.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
Y: I have never had a perm or chemicals in my hair. My mom is Native American and Spanish, and has lonnnnggggg straight, black hair. All of my friends used to call her Pocahontas. I wanted NOTHING more than to have hair like my mothers! In high school and middle school I went to predominantly white schools, where all of the prettiest girls were best friends with their flat irons, and had long, stick straight hair. People would tell me how beautiful my hair was, but I didn’t care what they said…I always wished that I had hair like my friends, and constantly pressed and straightened my hair as much as I could.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
Y: After accidently melting my hair once, randomly cutting bangs/uneven portions and my hair becoming unhealthy due to the blistering Vegas weather, I hit college and I decided that enough was enough. I began taking vitamins and biotin, and decided to keep all of the straightening to a minimum. It’s been sort of hard, but since I’ve made the decision to go natural I only straighten it when I want to trim it (every few months) and when I do, I don’t use a pressing comb (just a low heat setting on a flat iron). I am always trying new products out, new regimens, and new conditioners. As far as PRODUCT transitioning, it’s been 3 years and although I have found some good ones, I am still on the search for the most perfect, healthiest combination of products.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
Y: Going completely natural has affected me in so many positive ways. For one, it has given me more confidence surprisingly! When I made the choice to go natural, I also made the choice to eat healthier, hit the gym extensively, and start going to church more. Choosing natural hair was pretty much the cherry on top of my decision to live more purely, and to begin my adulthood (as I was 18) in the healthiest way possible. I believe in the motto “look good, feel good”, but I ALSO believe that natural beauty is the purest, longest lasting, healthiest form of beauty. It takes so much guts and patience for a woman of color (of ANY nationality) to choose natural hair! I think that if we can master this, we can master anything [:
How would you describe your hair?
Y: By textbook definition I guess I would be a 3C. My hair is medium length, medium thickness, extreeeemely curly, tends to get dry easily, and is prone to split ends. Naturally my hair is a dark brown. I recently added homemade reddish streaks to it using a drugstore dye, but it hasn’t changed its appearance too much. Growing up it was wayyyy less curly, more wavy and longer. It seems as though moving to Vegas was the worst possible move for my hair lol because after that it got way thicker, dryer, and harder to manage. I think the best thing about the behavior of my hair is how versatile it is. How it can go from tight saturated curls, to an afro…well, at least my version of one [:
What is your regimen?
Y: As previously stated, my regimen changes every so often. Right now I wash my hair every 3 days and I am using Pantene’s Shampoo and Conditioner for Colored Women. Every two weeks I use Dr. Miracle’s Deep Treatment formula (the one in a little pouch). It only costs a couple of bucks and it makes my hair so soft and manageable. After a normal wash and condition, I use Luster’s Pink Oil Sheen Spray for my scalp. The one that I use comes with a little pink straw, and it makes my life SO much easier because I don’t even have to part my hair. I just run the straw along my scalp and it’s good to go. After that, I mix a little tea tree oil with Palmer’s Olive Oil Formula Moisturizing Hair Milk throughout my locks. I always comb my hair out with a wide toothed comb especially made for curly hair.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
Y: Since I moved back to So Cal and out of the desert, maintaining my hair’s length doesn’t take much. GROWING it is the hard part lol. As long as I stick to my regimen and keep my ends trimmed, maintaining length and moisture isn’t tough, but there is ONE major problem that I have. Because I work out and I am an athlete I find myself just throwing my hair up into messy buns, and the aftermath is usually wear and tear because of the hair ties. This is the only time I experience a lot of breakage. I’m not sure if there is a way to change this, but I now use metal free elastic bands and instead of doubling up I found some hair ties that are extra big and thick, made especially for long/thick hair. I also put it up as little as possible (even though I hate my hair in my face) and let it hang free as much as I can. All of those things helped to reduce the breakage.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
Y: TWO MAIN THINGS THAT I HAVE LEARNED –
Check the damn temperature before you put a pressing comb on your locks, smh. Dumbest thing I have ever done…and secondly STRESS LESS! Often times while we are searching for the perfect product to beam down from heaven the cure is right in front of our eyes. Healthy hair as well as skin and nails can be a bite away (eating right) a nap away (getting enough sleep) and a yoga mat away (stressing less).
A while ago, I was going through a very rough patch in my life. I was experiencing school problems, family problems, boyfriend problems, and a traumatic car accident. When I would shower, literally CLUMPS of my hair would come out at a time /: I have learned that stress is personally my #1 cause of hair damage/loss, and I have learned mechanisms to cope with it, and to pretty much let go and let God.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
Y: THIS IS SIMPLE. Exercise, a healthy balanced diet, and vitamins. Most of my problems have been helped/solved with these adjustments. Another thing that I DREAD doing is trimming my ends, but keeping them trimmed has helped tremendously.