Hey there! My name is Christina J. I’m a 25YO energetic and cheerful gal, with thick 4a or coily tresses is my hair! Rewind back to July 2011 when I was in my last year in college; my hair was relaxed, caramel-blonde colored, and extremely damaged. I didn't have much money to get my hair done, so my hair grew out without me knowing that I was becoming a naturalista.
Once I realized I had two textures on my head, I knew I had to do something. I did not have the courage to big chop and my family was surely against me cutting my hair. So from April ’12 to Oct ’12, I transitioned - while trimming my hair every month. My hair was ear length at the time, so it was a short transitional phase. Then in October ‘12, I cut the last few bits off. As of now I have been a naturalista for 2 years!
My natural hair experience has been an “up and down” roller coaster. I enjoy my hair and what I can do with her, but at times I do become overwhelmed and frustrated. When I was transitioning and had my TWA, my mother and father told me to do something with “it” or go to the salon. At the time I was in college far, far away, so there was nothing they could do about it. Ha-ha! But once my hair reached shoulder length, my natural began to grow on my parents. My brothers and sisters loved my hair absolutely!
On the flip side, after college I met my boyfriend (now husband) when I had my TWA. I let him know of my plans and goals for my hair, and he said, “I support you in your natural hair journey.” That made my heart leap! He can’t keep his hands out my hair! He has HIMHS (hand in MY hair syndrome). As for others’ reactions, my hair is a conversation starter. I wear my hair in “eye-brow raising” and thought-provoking styles. I don’t mind the attention and I don’t mind talking about my hair.
My regimen is pretty simple to the point where it is internalized now. It took me 1.5 years to find the products I needed for my hair and a set regimen to follow as well. This is what works for me:
Pre poo - Castor oil for 30 min with plastic cap under hooded dryer
Clarify - (1/mth) Suave Clarifying Shampoo
Shampoo - (weekly) Shea Moisture Curl and Shine Shampoo
Protein - (1/mth) ApHogee 2 min with plastic cap
Deep conditioning (every Wash Day) - Indian Hemp Masque
Leave in and Moisturizer – My moisturizing mist (1/2 water, 1/2 aloe Vera juice, 1 tsp castor oil, 1 tsp vegetable glycerin, and 5 drops of lavender essential oil) and Shea Moisture Smoothie
Oil - Castor oil
Styler - Eco Styler Krystal
I love flat twists styles, two strand twists, and buns. I have mastered each style, that I do variations with them. I would love to have either dreadlocks or sister locks. They are too beautiful not to crown my head with.Well, that’s what I would call it – “visit.” I don’t really go; I’m a DIY girl to heart. I don’t trust others with my natural. However, I do get my hair straightened 3-4 times a year to do length checks, because my flat ironing skills suck. I also get Senegalese twists 2-3 times a year by my “specific” braider.
I do have a confession: There was a moment in the beginning of my hair journey when I got a partial STRAIGHT sew-in. You guessed it…I relaxed my edges. I had the style for 7-8 weeks, but the imprint of the relaxed edges was still there. So I cut the entire nape and hair around my ears and cut my crown to three inches of hair. It took about 6 months for my hair to grow back natural again. This was the worst decision I have ever made for my hair…all for a style! I decided that I was never, ever, ever going to make that decision again. During the duration of the crown being relaxed, it was very different because my styles were limited to protective styling and not out styles. But as my hair grew, it got easy to cut those suckers off.
Wherever you are at in your hair journey, love yourself continuously. Do this for you and only you. Yes, learn to care for your own hair and stay on the path for healthy hair; but priority is to keep a positive attitude about yourself and your tresses.
1. Tell us a bit about
yourself: I like to think
of myself as a cheerful person. Born and raised in Kisumu, I love books, 90s
comedy shows and Coldplay. I’m 20 years old currently studying law at the
Middlesex University branch in Mauritius.
2. How long have you been
natural? What influenced your choice to go and remain natural?
I have been natural for 3 years although I have had natural hair
for 5 years. One day my Mum got tired of paying for retouches, took me to the
bathroom and *chop chop chop* hair all gone! My initial plan was to hide under
braids until my hair was reasonably long for perm but then I was introduced to
kimmaytube. She shot down every negative belief I had about natural hair. It
was an easy decision to remain natural; on the one end, relaxed hair and the
mentality that I could not accept what came naturally to me, and on the other,
the adventure of rediscovery and acceptance.
3. What reactions have you
received from your friends and family about your natural hair?
Family, friends and strangers on the street are at awe of my
natural hair. They always ask questions
and I am glad to help. When I first started out, I had no idea what I was doing
and walked around with a couple of failed looks, and like every other natural
story, I got the looks and the comments.
4. What products do you
I can’t say I stick to products. I like switching them up and
experimenting with new things. The only thing that is consistent in my routine
is honey, mayo, yoghurt, apple cider vinegar and tea bag (rinse). I mix and
match with whatever product I have.
5. Tell us about your modeling
career as a woman of colour and as a natural:
I was discovered here in Mauritius at the university fashion
show and was introduced to its fashion industry. There aren’t many models of
colour however my dark skin has never brought any discrimination. My natural
hair has been said to be one of my unique qualities and consequently most don’t
know what to do with it. I have done my own hair for the shows and shoots that
I have done so far.
6. What do you like most
about being natural? The versatility and the freedom that comes with being natural is
a wonderful feeling.
7.What advice would you
give to someone who recently went natural or is transitioning:
Hair is hair. I do not support the enforcing of black ladies to
go natural, however I do enforce the eradication of the belief that relaxing
hair is the ONLY thing for black hair. False! Natural is a wonderful journey
full of mistakes and revelations. Fall in love with your own hair and its
characteristics and not what you hope it will look like or act like. Take heart
if you get tired, we all did at some point. Just have fun with it!