T: My name is Tawana Johnson. I was born in Jamaica and have lived here my entire life. I am a University student studying psychology. I am a pretty simple lady who appreciates the small things in life and is trying to live life her way!
How long have you been natural?
T: My last relaxer was in August 2011. I transitioned for 9 months, then big chopped in May 2012 and have been natural ever since.
How and why did you transition into natural hair?
T: I transitioned for more than one reason. Firstly, I didn’t start out with the intention to go natural. On the day of my last relaxer I was very frustrated with my hairdresser and my hair after she told me it was breaking. I was annoyed because it seemed like it was always breaking and I was always getting trims and cuts. So I told her I was never coming back and that I would not relax my hair again. While that relaxer grew out I started discovering YouTube videos of natural hair ladies and I loved how it looked on them. Also my friend Chantel had just went natural, so I was inspired by her as well. I started to research more and natural hair became more appealing to me. I loved the idea of a big chop and a drastic change of my look because I had been craving a change in my life at that period. So I finally decided to go natural and impulsively chopped all my relaxed hair off by myself one day in my room.
What are your must-have products for shampooing, conditioning and styling your hair?
T: I must first start out by saying I am NOT a product junkie. I like simple, and that includes my hair regimen. When I find something that works for me I stick to it. My favorite shampoo is Tresemme Naturals Vibrantly Smooth Shampoo. I use it once per month to clarify and remove buildup. My favorite conditioner is Tresemme Naturals Vibrantly Smooth Conditioner. I use this every single weekend to deep condition my hair. I mix it with coconut oil, castor oil and honey. I also use it alone to cowash my hair the few times I do cowash. For protein treatments, which I do once per month, I use an egg, honey, castor oil, coconut oil and mayonnaise mixed together and let sit under plastic caps for an hour. I always deep condition after I do this.
My favorite leave in conditioners are Cantu Shea Butter and Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner. I prefer the Cantu Shea butter for its consistency (a little goes a long way) but I love the ingredients in the Beautiful Textures. I use either one depending on how I feel. I use them after I wash my hair, before twisting, or braiding, and apply them with an oil of my choice and Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel. For moisturizing, I use a spray bottle filled with water and coconut oil to refresh my hair and Organic Root Stimulator Smooth n Hold Pudding. I use these like about week to give my hair a boost before retwisting or rebraiding, or just on my afro while it’s out.
What is your signature hairstyle?
T: Because my hair is still short, it doesn’t give me a big enough puff when I put it in one. So I just stick to my afro most times. That is my go to hairstyle, just to wear it out. Or I may do a turban wrap or a crownbraid.
What is your style philosophy?
T: I dress to suit myself. I go through different phases with my style so I never stick to one way of dressing. I guess you can say I dress for comfort in my own skin because everything I wear appeals to me and what I think flatters my body shape and ideas of womanhood. My mood also has a lot to do with my style. Lately I’ve been very into the androgynous look so a lot of my outfits have reflected that. So I don’t think I have a philosophy; I really just wear what appeals to me at a particular period in time. Today I may feel like a hippie, tomorrow I may feel hood, lol.
What are the three favorite things in your closet?
T: Right now because it is approaching summer in Jamaica and it’s getting very hot I would say denim (I love denim anytime of year, I’m obsessed), a nice pair of brown sandals and a good pair of shorts. I hardly ever shop in Jamaica because I find the things to be very overpriced and not worth it, but sometimes I see little pieces I just can’t leave the store without. I do most of my shopping when I travel in the summer to the States. I am a bargain shopper, lol. I do not stick to one place. I look for the best things, at the best price. So I looooove thrift stores. I shop at H&M, Forever 21, Banana Republic, little no name stores in New York, Macy’s, Express, Charlotte Russe, Marshall’s (I love Marshall’s) and some others. I literally just go wherever something catches my eye. Brand matters to me, but hardly. It’s mostly how it looks and how well I wear it.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
T: You can find me on Instagram at TawiJ. You can also find me on Twitter @TawanaAJ.