Firstly introduce yourself? Where are you from and what do you do?
My name is Nell, and I'm from Washington, DC. I'm currently in administration with a journalism background.
How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for 20 months, 2 years in February.
If you have transitioned to natural what prompted your move from processed to naturalhair?
First, my sister did the Big Chop a year earlier than me, and I was intrigued watching her progress. I'd been on the fence about whether or not I would follow suit, but it took my watching Chris Rock's "Good Hair" and the experiment with the sodium hydroxide (along with the discussion of chemical burns, which I've experienced) for me to decide I didn't want to relax my hair anymore.
How did you transition, did you big chop?
I transitioned for 2 months with marley twists before I decided to big chop. The plan was to keep the style for six months, but after I took the first set out I decided I didn't want to spend more money getting them done again (I'd already spent alot as it is - about $160), so I picked up some shears and did the big chop myself.
What were the main reasons for your choice to wear your natural hair?
Mostly for time and expenses. I wanted to save money because I was weary of all I was spending on relaxers, only to be followed by all of the restrictions (avoiding water, being super selective of when I swam and partied, etc). I wanted to be able to go to sleep without so much hassle.
What are your earliest hair memories? How did these memories influence your hair journey today?
I remember being engrossed in all the blogs and YouTube videos when I'd finally decided to grow my natural hair out. Curly Nikki, Naptural85, Bambiix2, CharyJay...I was so excited - all these store products that I was familiar with but never thought were "for me" were suddenly all the rage among black, natural women. It has influenced me to start my own blog; on the other hand, I've become a product junkie - hair was never my fascination, but now I love talking about it. Some people love nail polish, others love perfumes. My thing is hair products now. LOL!
What does having natural hair mean to you?
It means I'm a part of a large movement of women who are re-establishing the standard of beauty instead of going with what we think society wants to see in order for us to be accepted. On a personal level, I feel and (in my opinion) look younger with my kinky-curly fro. Also, I've been motivated to get right about my insides as well as my outside. While I'm so into reading labels on hair products, I've begun reading labels on food products also.
How do you keep your hair looking so good?
I wash my hair 1-2 times a week, and I deep condition once a week. On wash day, I shampoo and detangle my hair in four sections, followed by a 15-30 minute deep conditioning, still in sections. After I rinse out the conditioner I begin styling by adding my leave-in and styler, then styling and sealing my ends. Then I put on my satin scarf or cap and then it's bedtime. Sometimes, I add my leave-in and let my hair air-dry in fat twists for about 3-4 hours before doing my styling so that I have more length later.
What products do you use in your hair?
I don't have a favourite shampoo or rinse-out conditioner. I'll try anything as long as it moisturizes, detangles, and is sulfate/paraben free. My favorite deep conditioners are Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and the Original Moxie Intense Quench. My favorite leave-ins are Oyin Handmade Hair Dew and the Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk. Stylers are where I get into trouble (lol) because I love my butters. My favorites so far are the Beija Flor Naturals Creme Brulee For Kinks Curls and Coils; LaBella Body Care Curl Royale Hair Cream; Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and the Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer. As for sealants, I prefer either Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade or my beloved Original Moxie Hair Bling.
My signature look is the twist-out because it gives me more options as far as styling. I place them into twists on wash day, take them out in the morning and shake them out and tease them a little, and at night I put them back into twists (larger, fatter ones) and seal my ends. That takes about 20 minutes.
How do you protect your hair in the winter months?
Because I wear my twist-out often, I just make it a point to really be diligent about moisturizing daily and sealing with a thicker sealant, like shea butter or shea-butter-based products.
Do you have any advice for women starting out on their natural journey?
Natural hair is work. Sometimes it can be more work than relaxed hair. But it's so much better!
Tell us about your style?
I’d probably call it “classic nerd.” I love funny graphic tees and nondescript sneakers.
What are your favorite places to shop?
H&M, Goodwill, TJ Maxx, and Target. Love Target.